Archbishop of Armagh is enthroned

The Most Revd John McDowell has been enthroned as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland at St Patrick’s Cathedral, on the Hill of Armagh. 

Archbishop McDowell was elected to the office by the House of Bishops on 11 March 2020, having previously served as Bishop of Clogher since 2011.  He took up his position on 28 April 2020. The service took place on Tuesday evening, 14 September 2021, having been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In his sermon, Archbishop McDowell reflected on the Cross of Jesus and the true meaning of sacrifice. He remarked: “Any human relationship or political or social arrangement which does not allow the sacrifice of reciprocal self–giving room to flourish will ultimately crumble, because it is founded on falsehood. On a reef of sand. And that is so because sacrifice is at the heart of the nature of God, who made us in his image.”

The Archbishop was welcomed to the Cathedral by the Very Revd Shane Forster, Dean of Armagh. The Bible readings during the service were Numbers 21:4–9 by the Ven Elizabeth Cairns, Archdeacon of Ardboe, and John 3:13–17 by the Revd Dr Heather Morris, General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Ireland.  Music was provided by the Choir of the Cathedral and the Revd Dr Peter Thompson, Assistant Organist.

The service was livestreamed and is available to view at It is hoped that a much larger event, a liturgical welcome, for the Archbishop, will be possible on a future date.

The full text of Archbishop McDowell’s sermon can be found on the Down and Dromore diocesan website at

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