Eastern Orthodoxy in the Republic of Ireland

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Orthodox Christianity in Ireland (Irish: Ceartchreideamh in Éirinn) is part of the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. Christianity is traditionally held to have become widespread in Ireland with the evangelisation of Saint Patrick in the latter half of the fifth century. It was notable for its monastic zeal and liturgical proximity to the Churches of the East, being especially influenced by the Egyptian Desert Fathers.[1] Following the Great Schism of 1054, Western Christianity further diverged from Eastern Christianity and the allegiance of Irish Christians remained with the Patriarch of the West. Today, the Eastern Orthodox Church in Ireland consists of parishes belonging to several self-governing ecclesiastical bodies, primarily the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the Romanian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox tradition was brought to Ireland in the 1920s by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, which has formally re-joined the Moscow Patriarchate in the 2000s. Greek and Romanian Orthodox churches were first established in Dublin in 1981 and 2000 respectively. All three jurisdictions serve mostly eastern European and Greek immigrants, along with a number of Irish-born converts. Due largely to immigration from Eastern Europe, especially Romania, the number of Orthodox Christians in the Republic of Ireland has doubled in recent years.[2]

Eastern Orthodoxy[edit]

Russian Orthodoxy came to Ireland in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. White Russian refugees arrived in small numbers and settled throughout the country. The Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy was held in various locations around the Dublin quays by visiting priests from England.[citation needed] In the mid-1960s, Nicholas Couris, an elderly Russian aristocrat and former officer in the Imperial Russian Army and the anti-communist White Army, was ordained a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. He served a growing congregation of Russian White emigres, Greek immigrants, and Irish-born converts from a Dublin house chapel until his death in May 1977.[3]

In 1981, the Greek Orthodox parish of Our Lady of the Annunciation was established in the former St Mary's Church, Dublin 1, which had been given over by the Church of Ireland. On 24 May of that year, the Greek Orthodox archbishop of Great Britain and Ireland consecrated and elevated the building to the status of a cathedral. When these premises were declared unsafe in 1986, the parish transferred to a house chapel in Artane. In November of that same year, the Church of Ireland transferred another of its defunct churches, in Ranelagh, for Greek Orthodox use. The parish is currently served by Father Thomas Carroll.

The late 1990s saw an influx of people to Ireland from eastern Europe. The Russian Orthodox Church began its activities in Ireland in 1999 with monthly liturgies at the Greek Church on Arbour Hill in Dublin. In 2001, it moved to a former Anglican church at Harold's Cross. Renamed the parish of Saint Peter and Paul, it was dedicated under the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate. Father Michael Gogoleff, a Russian-French priest, serves as its dean, and Father Nikolay Evseev, who succeeded Father George Zavershinsky, is the resident priest, occupying the same position between 2002 and 2009. The church community has around 1,500 members, including emigres from the various republics of the former USSR, faithful from Poland and Rusyns from Eastern Slovakia. There is also a significant membership of Orthodox Irish, mostly converts. The services are mainly conducted in Church Slavonic, but a considerable amount of English is also used along with smatterings of Greek, Georgian, Romanian, Serbian and the Irish language. In September 2009, the Bishop Elisey of Sourozh paid a visit to the Irish parishes of his diocese.[4] In October 2010, the Russian Orthodox Church of Ireland opened two more congregations: in Athlone in Connaught province and Drogheda in Leinster province. It also offers monthly liturgies for members in Waterford, Cork and Galway.

The Romanian Irish Orthodox Church appointed its first priest in October 2000. Starting in January 2001, Sunday worship has taken place in Belvedere College Chapel in the centre of Dublin, courtesy of the Jesuit Fathers. In June 2005, the Church of Ireland made Christ Church Leeson Park in Dublin 4 available for the use of the Romanian Orthodox community. The Church celebrates The Exaltation of Holy Cross. It serves around 1,500 people in the Dublin area, around 120 of whom worship in two new parishes.

Since 2010, the Romanian Orthodox parish of Ballsbridge has been operating from two alternate locations in Blanchardstown: three recently appointed priests hold the liturgy there every Sunday. The parish has a full calendar of weekday activities, with an evening mass on Wednesdays and Fridays, and special masses are held for each of the celebrations of the Romanian Orthodox calendar. On 9 April 2006, a fourth priest in Ireland was ordained with responsibility for two new parishes in Cork and Galway. There are also occasional Romanian Orthodox liturgies in Tipperary, Tralee, Killorglin and Navan.

In addition, the Antiochian Orthodox Church has parishes in Ireland and their number continues to grow (Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland).

Oriental Orthodoxy[edit]

The Syriac Orthodox Church, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, is another growing community. Its adherents in Ireland are largely of Indian origin (Jacobite Syrian Christian Church), a significant proportion of whom are hospital employees. The Jacobite Syrian Christian Church is a major branch of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church. An important centre of activity is St. Gregorios' Syrian Orthodox Church in Arran Quay. The Coptic Orthodox Church also has a growing presence in the country.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • [2] The Fascinating Life of Father Nicholas Couris
  • [3] The Dedication of Saint Peter and Paul's Russian Orthodox Church in Dublin
  • [4] The History of the Orthodox Church in Ireland until 1987
  • [5] The Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in Stradbally, County Laois
  • (Russian) [6] The Website of SS. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church in Harold's Cross
  • [7] St.Mary's Syrian Orthodox Church, Waterford, Ireland, Fr. Babu Alias was appointed as the Vicar of St. Mary's Church on 8 February 2009 by the present Bishop Kuriakose Mor Dioscoros Metropolitan
  • [8] The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Ireland, Scotland, North East England and its Affiliated Regions
  • [9]
  • [10]
  • [11]