Archbishop Justin Welby

Archbishop of Canterbury to visit in 2015

The Dean of Down is thrilled to announce that the Archbishop of Canterbury is coming to Downpatrick for St Patrick’s Day.

The Archbishop will attend the Service of Holy Communion at Saul and join us for our annual Pilgrimage Walk to Down Cathedral where he will preach at the Festival Service.

The Dean of Down, the Very Revd Henry Hull, said he was delighted that the Archbishop would be attending next year’s celebrations and looked forward to welcoming him to Saul and Down Cathedral.

It is over 50 years since an Archbishop of Canterbury attended the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Downpatrick, the last being the Most Revd Michael Ramsey.

Down & Dromore’s St Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Each 17 March, The Rt Revd Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore, invites pilgrims to join him for the Annual St Patrick’s Day Festival Service, followed by lunch in the grounds of Down Cathedral. The event is a joyful, cross–community occasion which attracts hundreds of visitors from Ireland and abroad.

The celebrations centre around two historic sites – the cathedral and Saul Church, on the site of St Patrick’s first church. The day begins with an early service of Holy Communion at Saul after which a group of pilgrims of all ages and nationalities makes a 45 minute prayer pilgrimage to Down Cathedral. The Festival Service is a lively event including traditional music and a guest speaker who addresses the congregation on the chosen theme.

At 1.00 pm special guests and local clergy take part in a wreath laying ceremony at St Patrick’s grave before sharing an Irish stew lunch.

The pilgrimage dates back to the 1950s and Bishop FJ Mitchell. With the arrival of the troubles and more local celebrations, the pilgrimages stopped for a time, although Bishop Gordon McMullan revived a large inter–denominational service in Down Cathedral.

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