THE Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Revd Dr Richard
Clarke, today announced his intention to retire – with effect from February 2,
He made the announcement in the course of his Presidential Address to the Armagh
Diocesan Synod in the Crozier Hall, at St Mark’s Parish Church, Armagh.
Archbishop Clarke, who is 70, has served as a bishop in the Church of Ireland for 23
years, firstly as Bishop of Meath and Kildare from 1996 to 2012.
He was elected as Archbishop of Armagh in October 2012 and enthroned in St Patrick’s
Cathedral, Armagh, in December of that year.
The Archbishop remarked that he had chosen 2nd February – the Feast of the
Presentation of Christ in the Temple – as the appropriate date on which to conclude
his time as Archbishop as the festival ‘marks a conclusion, but also a vantage point
into the future … It is the time when Simeon can say, “Now lettest thou thy servant
depart in peace”, but of course Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis also looks into the future
with energy and faith. Salvation, revelation, and glory are the great themes also
employed in the Nunc Dimittis, as there – on the horizon ahead – stand God’s
eternal purposes for all of us, and in every generation. And so it must always be.’
He told the diocese, "When I became Archbishop of Armagh at the close of 2012, I
made a quiet agreement with my family, a few close friends, and myself that I would
try to work on as Primate for five years, assuming of course that ill-health or
mortality itself did not intervene.
"Coming towards the end of that five-year period,
I would then review the situation with my family and, if all seemed to be working
out reasonably well and I felt that I was still “up for it”, I would continue on for
a further two years, but would not go on beyond that point. This latter moment in
time has now arrived…"
He expressed his gratitude to the diocese and others throughout the Church of
Ireland for their support during his tenure as Archbishop: "This time in Armagh has
truly been a very agreeable experience for me, and for this I humbly thank God for
the great privilege I was given in being appointed as Primate seven years ago and I
also thank all of you, for your constant encouragement, your friendship, your
prayers, your support and your patience."
Archbishop Clarke will continue to carry out all the duties and responsibilities of
the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate until February 2, 2020. After that date, the
Church of Ireland House of Bishops will consider the selection of a successor.