The Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland and Metropolitan, The Most Rev Alan Harper, OBE, has announced his intention to retire later this year.
Before he was elected Primate in January 2007, Archbishop Harper was Bishop of Connor from 2002–2007.
Now 68, he was enthroned in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh on March 16 2007.
A former Chairman of the Historic Monuments Council for Northern Ireland (Member 1980–1988, Chairman 1988–1995), Archbishop Harper was awarded an OBE for services to Conservation in Northern Ireland in 1996. He is married to Helen and has four children and 10 grandchildren.
Archbishop Harper will continue to carry out all the duties and responsibilities of the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland as normal until September 30 2012. His retirement begins on October 1.
The Church of Ireland House of Bishops will consider in due course the selection of a successor.
The Archbishop of Dublin, The Most Rev Dr Michael Jackson, said: “In responding to the Archbishop of Armagh’s announcement of his forthcoming retirement, I wish to pay tribute to his strong commitment to fairness and steadfastness in office.
“Across the Church of Ireland, Archbishop Harper has sought to enable a wide range of voices to be heard on a broad spectrum of topics. He has worked systematically with the leaders of the other main Churches in Ireland and has shown personal commitment in ecumenical relations and in the outworking of the Church of Ireland Methodist Covenant.
“He has also worked tirelessly in the development of a fresh understanding of community in Northern Ireland in the years of peace. Together with all my fellow–bishops, and the Church of Ireland at large, I wish Archbishop Harper and Mrs Harper everything that is best in retirement.”