‘Fearless and pluralist’ CoI leader passes away

Dean Victor Griffin, pictured  at St Patricks Cathedral in Dublin in 2014

Dean Victor Griffin, pictured at St Patricks Cathedral in Dublin in 2014

A former dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, known for his vocal support over the years of a ‘pluralist’ society both north and south, has passed away in Co Londonderry.

Dean Victor Griffin has died in Limavady, where he had been living since his retirement.

Dean Griffin was described as a “man who spoke out fearlessly on many issues in the Church, in politics, education, and ethics — and did so with the strongest conviction to the Christian Gospel and with the promotion of a more inclusive and pluralist society, both north and south, always in mind”.

Those were the words of the current dean of Dublin, the Very Rev William Morton, who also described Dean Griffin as “the most faithful and dedicated priest of the cathedral”.

Born in Carnew, Co Wicklow, in 1924, Dean Griffin was educated at Kilkenny College and Trinity College, Dublin.

He was ordained in 1948 for curacy at St Augustine’s in Londonderry. He served a second curacy at Christ Church in Londonderry where he became rector in 1957 until 1968 when he was appointed dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral. He retired in 1991.

Victor Griffin married Daphne Mitchell at All Saints’, Londonderry in May 1958. A teacher, she died of multiple sclerosis in 1998. The couple had twin sons, Kevin and Timothy, born in 1959.

Dean Morton said: “Dean Victor Griffin will long be remembered as the most faithful and dedicated priest of the cathedral, and in that regard, especially for his courageous and enterprising leadership as dean of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.”

The Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, said: “While dean of St Patrick’s his courage, friendliness and preaching were an inspiration to many.

“He remained fearless in voicing an open-hearted Anglicanism through the worship and witness of the Church of Ireland for all the people of Ireland.

“Equally at home in both parts of Ireland, his passing will evoke memories of his conviction and commitment to the causes of people ordinary and extraordinary in church and state. Our prayers are with his family in these times.”

A funeral service for Dean Griffin will take place at Christ Church, Limavady at 11am on Monday, January 16.