Armagh Diocesan Synod
2nd November 2019

Archbishop Richard announces a date for his retirement


The business of our 2019 Diocesan Synod was overshadowed by
Archbishop Richard's annoucement that he will be retiring on Sunday 2nd February 2020.

Extract from the Archbishop’s Address:
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 5 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 and so, earlier this week, I notified the members of the House of Bishops that I would be retiring as Archbishop of Armagh on Sunday 2nd February 2020, exactly three months’ time.

To date, I have enjoyed very good health and a reasonable stock of energy, and for this I am truly thankful to God. It is not something I ever take for granted. However, I recognised from the outset that if I were to embark on a ministry such as this at the age of 63, I must not be foolish enough to imagine that I should continue on, literally “indefinitely”.

But I must thank you and others throughout the Church of Ireland who have made these past seven years - for me at least - both fulfilling and pleasurable. Of course, not every moment of every day has been without issues or problems to be faced, but 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.

I chose 2nd February next as an appropriate date on which to conclude my time as Archbishop. It is the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple and this festival marks a conclusion, but also a vantage point into the future. It is the proper ending of Christmas (when we include the Epiphany season, which we should, as part of the unfolding of the meaning and mystery of the Incarnation). 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.

For a full version of the Archbishop's Presidential address please click here