The Church of Ireland and The United Dioceses of Down & Dromore
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The Church of Ireland was founded by St Patrick, who began his missionary work in Ireland in 432 AD. It has around 375,000 members, the vast majority of these (285,000) living in Northern Ireland. It is one of the 27 national churches which make up the Anglican Communion. The Church of Ireland is divided into two provinces - Armagh and Dublin, which are in turn sub-divided into twelve dioceses. There are approximately 483 parishes and 30 cathedrals, most of which also serve as parish churches.
The abundance of cathedrals in such a small church is largely accounted for by the fact that many of the ancient dioceses have been amalgamated. The Primate of All Ireland is always the Archbishop of Armagh - currently the Most Reverend R.H.A. Eames. The United Dioceses of Down & Dromore are located as shown on the map of Ireland, and roughly cover the east side of Belfast and County Down. The other dioceses can be identified by moving your cursor over the map.
The Bishop of the Diocese is the Right Reverend Harold C. Miller, who has thrones in three cathedrals: the Cathedral Church of Down (located on the ancient Hill of Down where St Patrick is buried; the Cathedral Church of Dromore (located in the market town of the same name); and Belfast Cathedral (dedicated to St Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary), which, although situated in the Diocese of Connor, is a non-diocesan cathedral common to both dioceses.
The Diocese of Down contains many ancient ecclesiastical sites, including Saul, where worship has been maintained since St Patrick set up his first church there in a barn, after stepping ashore to begin his mission in 432 AD. The people of the Church of Ireland are proud of their ancient Celtic origins, which are still reflected in much of their present life and worship.
Almighty and merciful God, who in days of old didst give to this land the benediction of thy holy Church ; Withdraw not, we pray thee, thy favour from us, but so correct what is amiss, and supply what is lacking, that we may more and more bring forth fruit to thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
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