Monday, 5 February 2018

Decanal Installation

Quite recently I wrote about the original design for the cathedral church to succeed St Anne's parish church, Donegall Street, Belfast.

The Cathedral Church of Saint Anne in Belfast, more commonly known as Belfast Cathedral, has a peculiar status.

The Lord Bishop of Connor is the Ordinary, because the Cathedral is in the diocese of Connor, County Antrim.

The Lord Bishop of Down and Dromore, however, also has an episcopal throne, or cathedra, in the Cathedral.

So it is shared between two dioceses (three if Dromore is included).

The original design for the new cathedral, at the turn of the 19th century, was rather grand.

The intention was to have an elaborate bell tower and a lady chapel at the extreme east end.

In fact there was a greatly modified design at a later period which, too, did not come to fruition.

Clearly these schemes were thwarted in the fullness of time by financial constraints.

Yesterday I attended the installation service for the fourteenth Dean of Belfast, the Very Reverend Stephen Forde.

The ceremony was led by the Bishop of Connor, the Right Reverend Alan Abernethy.

Dozens of diocesan clergy were in attendance; and the former Archbishop of Armagh, the Right Reverend Alan Harper OBE.

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Sonia Copeland, represented the citizens of Belfast.

The Rt Hon Sammy Wilson MP and the Mayor of Larne, Councillor Paul Reid, were also at the service.

Very Rev Stephen Forde with Mrs Jay-O'Boyle

The Lord-Lieutenant of Belfast (the tenth holder of that office), Mrs Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE, represented Her Majesty The Queen.

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