Archbishops lead cross-community pilgrimage to Somme sites

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin and Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh Richard Clarke at Glasnevin Cemetery at the start of the Somme pilgrimage
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin and Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh Richard Clarke at Glasnevin Cemetery at the start of the Somme pilgrimage

The Church of Ireland and Catholic Archbishops of Armagh are leading a pilgrimage to significant sites at the Battle of the Somme.

The centenary pilgrimage, which began today and finishes on Friday, includes a delegation of young people from the Archdiocese and Diocese of Armagh, the Church of Ireland dioceses of Clogher, and Cork, and the Catholic diocese of Kildare & Leighlin.

They gathered at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin before flying out from Dublin Airport.

Church of Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke said: “I am very much looking forward to this journey, which will I believe be far more than a purely physical journey for all of us. Coming as we do from very different contexts (both spiritually and geographically) and also carrying very different understandings of our history, we have much to share with one another and much to learn, as we travel and pray our way through places that carry such huge symbolic importance for us all.”

Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin said: “I am looking forward to being part of this special pilgrimage with Archbishop Clarke and with young people from across the country.

“The Battle of the Somme has left us with a haunting image we are all familiar with – the thousands of pale, white gravestones dotting the ground which symbolise the lives of the many who were lost.

“We go there, 100 years after one of the bloodiest battles in human history, on a pilgrimage of prayer and remembrance. I hope that our shared pilgrimage will offer us time and space to reflect with our young people on the importance of peace in our country and in our world.”