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March ‘Archive of the Month’ – The Church of Ireland Commemoration of St Patrick in 1932

RCB Library Notes

Added on 01/03/2013

A selection of the literature produced by the Church of Ireland for the 1932 commemorationReturning to a Patrician theme for March 2013, a selection of the literature produced for a programme of commemorations organised by the Church of Ireland to mark the 1500th anniversary of the coming of St Patrick to Ireland, in 1932, is this month’s Archive of the Month at the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin.

In the autumn of 1930, it became known that the Vatican had sanctioned the next Eucharistic Congress to be held in Dublin in June 1932 – timed to celebrate 1500 years since St Patrick’s arrival in Ireland. In contrast to the positive spirit of the most recent Congress held in Dublin in 2012 some 80 years later (which included a day devoted to Christian unity and had ecumenical participation with a Liturgy of Word and Water at which the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin was invited to give the address, here) back in the 1930s, relations between the main Churches were very different.

A year–long programme of 1500th–anniversary events, which culminated in a conference held at Dublin’s Mansion House in October 1932 was the response of the Church of Ireland archbishops to galvanize the members of their own minority Church to claim ownership of Patrick, and the literature now digitized and available online shows the elaborate plans they set in train.

The pitch was clearly about boosting the confidence of the Church at large, making connections north and south, and embedding in the hearts and minds of the people that they belonged to Ireland, as the handbook of the year’s events, the conference programme and other memorabilia demonstrate.

It is hoped that the online digital presentation will serve as a tool for understanding the identity issues facing the Church of Ireland as a minority in the Free State during the 1930s, but also as a reminder of how far the Churches have come in their journey of reconciliation in the decades since.

In addition to the digital images, all of the original materials may be viewed in the RCB Library, Dublin, and online here:

For further information please contact:
Dr Susan Hood
RCB Library
Braemor Park
Dublin 14
Tel: 01–4923979
Fax: 01–4924770
E–mail: susan.hood@rcbdub.org