Added on 07/06/2012
The Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland and Metropolitan, The Most Revd Alan Harper, OBE, has announced his intention to retire later this year. The decision will take effect from 1 October 2012.
Archbishop Harper, who is 68, has been a bishop for 10 years having served as Bishop of Connor from 2002 to 2007; he was elected as Archbishop of Armagh in January 2007 and enthroned in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh on 16 March 2007. A former Chairman of the Historic Monuments Council for Northern Ireland (Member 1980–1988, Chairman 1988–1995), he was awarded an O.B.E. for services to Conservation in Northern Ireland in 1996. The Archbishop is married to Helen and has four children and ten 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 30 September 2012.
The Church of Ireland House of Bishops will consider in due course the selection of a successor.
The Archbishop of Dublin, The Most Revd 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.’
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Short Biography of The Most Revd Alan Harper, O.B.E.
Archbishop Harper has been the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland – the most senior position in the Church of Ireland – since 2007. Prior to this he was Bishop of Connor, following a range of parish ministries in Northern Ireland. The Archbishop is originally from Staffordshire, and was educated at the University of Leeds, where he studied geography. In 1966 he was appointed a member of the Archaeological Survey of Northern Ireland where he went on to become Senior Inspector of Historic Monuments. However, drawn to ordained ministry, he studied Divinity at the University of Dublin and was ordained in 1978. During ministry he maintained his close links with archaeology as a member and later chairman of the Historic Monuments Council. In 1996 he was appointed an O.B.E. for services to conservation in Northern Ireland.
The Archbishop’s role in Armagh, aside from the many activities of the diocese, involves chairing the General Synod of the Church and its Standing Committee as well as giving a lead to a large number of its central committees and functions. He also represents the Church of Ireland nationally and internationally and is one of the Primates of the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop is married to Helen and they have four adult children and ten grandchildren.