The head of the Royal Black Preceptory praised the Duke of Edinburgh at a major gathering in Fermanagh.
Millar Farr was speaking on Saturday at the annual county demonstration in Lisnaskea just days after the duke made his final public appearance following decades of attendance at functions, galas and official events.
Mr Farr, the preceptory’s sovereign grand master, gave an address which ranged across the topics of the Reformation, war, and the Royal Family.
He noted that this year marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther presenting his 95 theses in Wittenberg, Germany, thus sparking what ultimately became the de facto dawn of Protestantism.
In prepared remarks, seen by the News Letter beforehand, he said: “While the Reformation was something that evolved over a number of years it brought immense benefit to our land and further afield.
“Yet the work commenced by Martin Luther has not yet been completed.
“In 1517 he made an appeal for a return to what the Gospel was about and that the Bible would be available to be read in the language each of us would understand.
“That Bible is now available in most of the homes within our land but that doesn’t guarantee it is being read or what is contained therein is being followed.”
He went on to note this year also marks the 100th anniversaries of the battles of Vimy Ridge, Messines and Ypres, and said that he hopes that troops today tasked with “preserving peace and ensuring democracy prevails” will be protected.
He further added 2017 is the Queen’s Sapphire jubilee.
“She has given a life of service since her accession to the throne in 1952 and during those years she has been supported and encouraged by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh,” he said.
“We have been fortunate to have had these dedicated individuals as role models and we would do well to follow the example they have set.”