Church leaders pray for King Charles during Northern Ireland visit
Church leaders pray for King Charles during Northern Ireland visit[photo1]
The King and Queen have attended a service at St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh during a surprise visit to Northern Ireland.
They were greeted by the Dean of Armagh, the Very Rev Shane Forster, as the Cathedral Choir sang the words of 'St Patrick's Breastplate'.
The King and Queen met members of the Church Leaders Group, which comprises the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Primates of All Ireland, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and the President of the Irish Council of Churches.
The King received prayers and "words of encouragement" from the Church leaders and heard about the work that the Churches are doing.
Presbyterian Moderator, the Rt Rev Dr John Kirkpatrick, said of the visit, "This was a quiet moment filled with symbolism. A monarch bowed in prayer in a place alive with precious Christian history, the reverent silence of waiting before God, then entering once again the vibrant world of people."
Dr Kirkpatrick continued, "Having expressed his commitment to uphold the Christian faith at his Coronation, our gathering in the business of his day, also spoke to me of the significance and value that the King placed on that commitment.
"Having come to pray, and be prayed for, in the peace of that moment, I think that should encourage people of faith. The visit also gave the King an opportunity to meet a number of people from different aspects of Church life."
Rev Forster said, "In this coronation year it was a great honour to welcome His Majesty the King to the cathedral and have the opportunity to share something of the story of this ancient holy site and place of pilgrimage with him before all present joined in prayer with the King and for the King."
The service in Armagh was part of the King and Queen's two-day visit to Northern Ireland. Other engagements included a visit to the Robinson Library where the Queen met local children.