The next Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland will be Bishop John McDowell, who currently serves as Bishop of Clogher. The Archbishop-elect was chosen by the Church of Ireland’s House of Bishops to succeed Archbishop Richard Clarke, who retired on 2 February. The translation will take effect on Tuesday 28 April; but the date of his enthronement has not yet been announced. Bishop John will become the 106th in the succession of abbots, bishops and archbishops of Armagh since Saint Patrick. The Church of Ireland is an all-island institution, serving dioceses in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Bishop John grew up in Belfast and pursued a career in business prior to training for ordination. He was ordained in 1996 and initially served as Curate of Antrim from 1996 before becoming Rector of Ballyrashane in 1999. Both parishes are in the Diocese of Connor. In 2002 he moved to the Diocese of Down and Dromore to become Rector of St Mark’s, Dundela. While here he also served as Honorary Secretary of the Province’s General Synod and became the Church of Ireland’s contact person for the Porvoo Communion – an ecumenical partnership of Anglican and Lutheran Churches in Europe which share a common life in mission and service. He is Chairman of the Church of Ireland’s Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue.
In September 2011 he became Bishop of Clogher, and was consecrated in St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen.
“I am overwhelmed by the confidence which my fellow bishops have placed in me to fill this ancient office”, Bishop John said following his election. “I look forward to working with them in the time to come and to serving the people of the Diocese of Armagh and the Church of Ireland in whatever way I can.”
The Church of Ireland has two internal provinces. The Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, is the Primate of Ireland. The Primate of All Ireland is a title held by the Archbishop of Armagh.