C of I primate Archbishop Alan Harper to retire in October


The Church of Ireland primate Archbishop Alan Harper (68) is to retire with effect from October 1st.

Dr Harper has been Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland since March 2007 and was Bishop of Connor from 2002, following service in parishes in Northern Ireland.

Originally from Staffordshire in England and a geography graduate of the University of Leeds, he was appointed a member of the Archaeological Survey of Northern Ireland in 1966 and became senior inspector of historic monuments.

Drawn to the ministry he studied divinity at Trinity College Dublin and was ordained in 1978.

A former chairman of the Historic Monuments Council for Northern Ireland, in 1996 he was awarded an OBE for services to conservation.

He is married to Helen and they they have four children and 10 grandchildren.

Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson paid tribute to Dr Harper’s “strong commitment to fairness and steadfastness in office”. He had also “worked tirelessly in the development of a fresh understanding of community in Northern Ireland in the years of peace.”

The Catholic Primate Cardinal Seán Brady said he had “enjoyed the warmest of friendships with Alan and his wife Helen, who have been the most hospitable of neighbours”.

He added: “In addition to his international role in the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Harper has made a significant contribution to society in Ireland – North and South. His personal compassion, and commitment to social justice, has exemplified his resolute response to the crisis facing our people in recent years.”