Funeral of late Bishop told of ‘a kind and good and courageous man’

Roy Warke was a former Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

The funeral service took place at Zion parish church in Dublin’s Rathgar where Bishop Roy Warke had once been rector. Photograph: David Sleator

The late Bishop Roy Warke was "a sensitive and committed pastor, an efficient administrator, and someone with an excellent understanding of people. In short, he was a faithful shepherd to the flock," his funeral service was told on Friday morning.

Former Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Bishop Warke (90) died in Dublin last Tuesday. His funeral service took place at Zion parish church in Dublin's Rathgar where Bishop Warke had once been rector.

Current rector at Zion Rev Stephen Farrell said few had expected to be back there so soon after the funeral of Bishop Warke's wife Eileen, who died on Christmas Eve.

“On that day Roy himself began the prayers. He read a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer that was deeply meaningful to both of them. You could have been left in no doubt after that moment that their’s was a marriage built on the foundation of love and sustained by a shared faith,” Rev Farrell said.


Passing on the sympathises of the people of Zion parish, he said “there is an immense gratitude here for Roy’s 17 years of dedicated service.”

Rev Farrell also read a message from Bishop Warke's successor in Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Bishop Paul Colton, who expressed his " immense personal disappointment in these grim times of the coronavirus pandemic" at being prevented by Level 5 restrictions from attending the funeral.

‘Courageous episcopate’

Retired Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne and Ross Robin Bantry White spoke of "a grateful church giving thanks for a kind and good and courageous man. Someone who fulfilled all that was best in ministry and especially episcopal ministry ."

He recalled how Bishop Warke had been born in Belfast "but moved as a baby to Mountmellick Co Laois where his father was an accountant in the many faceted business firm of James Pim". Educated at Kings Hospital and Trinity College in Dublin where "he excelled in sports, especially in hockey" he was ordained for Newtownards parish in Co Down.

He returned to Dublin four years later as his father was ill, but with many Northern connections the late Bishop was “more au fait and comfortable with the Northern ethos of the Church of Ireland than many of us in the south,” the Archdeacon said.

Elected Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross in 1988 “for what was fruitful and courageous episcopate” he brought “ a quiet firmness, an absolute sincerity and utter diligence and a disarming humility to the task.”

The Archdeacon concluded “I always think that a good person’s life is the real sermon at a funeral. So it is today.”

Also among the Covid-restricted attendance were Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson and Bishop of Meath and Kildare Pat Storey.

Chief mourners were Bishop Warke’s daughters Jane and Ruth.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times