The Rev Canon Gregory Dunstan, rector of St Matthew’s, Shankill, has been appointed Dean of Armagh.
The appointment was announced by the Archbishop of Armagh, The Most Rev Alan Harper, OBE. Canon Dunstan will succeed the Rt Rev Patrick Rooke, now Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry.
Canon Dunstan has been rector of St Matthew’s since 1993 and was elected to the chapter canonry of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin in 2007. He has been chairman of the Down and Dromore & Connor Organ Scholarship Management Board since 2005.
Formerly a landscape architect, Canon Dunstan, who hails from England, trained at the Church of Ireland Theological College and Trinity College Dublin, and was ordained for the curacy of Ballymena in 1990.
During his 18 years as rector of St Matthew’s he oversaw the restoration of the church in 2002–03, known for its unique grand plan as ‘the shamrock church.’
The Archbishop of Armagh said: ‘I am delighted that Canon Dunstan has accepted my invitation to become the next Dean of Armagh and Keeper of the Armagh Public Library.
“The new dean is a person of great spiritual gifts with quiet devotion to pastoral ministry. He also combines liturgical and musical insights with an appreciation of sacred space and expertise in the care of ancient buildings in their landscape setting. Gregory Dunstan is well known for his contribution to reconciliation in partnership with leaders of other Christian traditions. I welcome him joyfully to the Hill of Armagh.’
Canon Dunstan described his years at St Matthew’s as ‘happy and fulfilling, but said his appointment was ‘a great honour.’
“As one of the historic centres of Christianity in Ireland, Armagh has enormous resonance for people throughout the island. In inviting me to be Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Archbishop has done me a great honour and entrusted me with a great responsibility.
“After 18 happy and fulfilling years in St Matthew’s, this will be a new departure. I look forward to ministry with the whole Cathedral community in Armagh, to the developing partnership with the Catholic Cathedral, and to the contribution both cathedrals make to the life of the city.’
Details of the new Dean’s installation at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh, will be announced later.