The history of the Church of Ireland dates back to the early 16th century when the radical theological influences of German Protestant Reformer Martin Luther and the advances of English aristocratic Planter stock reached this island.
The Church of Ireland proudly proclaims that it is Catholic – Protestant and Reformed and, 1,000 years before the church was officially established, its tenets and scriptural foundations were being propagated by Irish patron saint Patrick.
In a superb new book, published in Belfast last night, the rich, almost 500-year history of this Irish sector of global Anglicanism is comprehensively chronicled.
‘The Church of Ireland – An Illustrated History’ is a highly colourful, meticulously detailed and well researched publication which will find a ready response from worshippers in Anglican parishes, north and south.
Present at last night’s launch in St Anne’s Cathedral was Church Primate Archbishop Richard Clarke, with the guest speaker Professor Brian Walker, a consultant editor of the book. A Dublin launch is tomorrow.
The 400-page book, priced £30, is produced in hardback and full colour, with the archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, in a joint foreword, stating: “This volume comprises the work of 60 historians, editors and photographers from all over Ireland with a diverse range of interests and approaches.
“Each tells the story of the Church in his or her own way and the variety of this material reflects the diversity within the Church of Ireland itself.
“This book achieves the remarkable task of covering every parish or union/group of parishes, with illustrations of more than two-thirds of all churches.”
Booklink publisher and co-consultant editor Dr Claude Costecalde confirms: “Informed and inspired by the past, the Church of Ireland looks forward with confidence and eager expectation to the future.
“This book presents its rich heritage and history in an attractive contemporary style that will appeal to every generation.
“It also reveals the modern presence of the Church in every diocese.
“This is a record of the past with an invitation to reflect on the life of the Church in the 21st century.”
Archbishop Clarke adds: “The Church of Ireland, informed and inspired by the past, looks forward with confidence to the future.”
The book is written in contemporary style, appealing to every generation of worshipper in the 12 Irish dioceses.
Dr Costecalde previously published a similar history of the Irish Presbyterian Church.