Church leaders across the island of Ireland have paid tribute to the Queen, saying she will be remembered for her steadfastness, quiet dedication and for being a person of great faith.
Archbishop Eamon Martin described the Queen as “much-loved and deeply respected”, adding he admired her for her quiet dignity and calm nature.
“What stands out for me is her dedication to faith, to family, and to peace and reconciliation,” he said.
“I remember meeting Queen Elizabeth in Enniskillen in 2012, before I was ordained as bishop, when she took the courageous and historic step of visiting Saint Michael’s Catholic Church.
“She came across as friendly and good-humoured, and took time to put everyone at their ease.
“I have always admired Queen Elizabeth’s quiet dignity and calm nature despite living through very difficult times with much political, economic, social and family upheaval.
“That was why ordinary people of all backgrounds and faiths could relate to her and held her in such affection.”
The Archbishop of Dublin said the Queen was a figure of “international renown” and her death “deprived” the royal family not only of the head of State but the head of their family.
Reverend Dr Michael Jackson said: “She was much respected and held in significant affection at home and across the world.
“She was a person who set a shining and consistent example of duty, service and care as someone who put the public good above personal considerations.
“She will also be remembered as a person of great faith and was never ashamed to speak directly of godly motivation in her guiding principles and in her actions.”
He said the Queen had visited Ireland on a number of occasions and that “every time she did so, she found her way to the hearts of the people in any context where she met them”.
The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland said the Queen’s affection for Ireland as a whole was “clear for all to see” when she visited the Republic in 2011.
Reverend John McDowell said: ‘I was privileged to be there when, on her Diamond Jubilee visit to Enniskillen, she walked the twenty yards from the Church of Ireland Cathedral of St Macartin and into St Michael’s Roman Catholic church.
“Barely a hundred paces, but a walk which covered countless miles in the long and unfinished journey of peace on these islands.
“Her affection for Ireland as a whole was clear for all to see during the memorable state visit to the Republic of Ireland in 2011, and her speech at the State Banquet ranks in political foresight and Christian conviction with the Golden Speech which Queen Elizabeth I made to the House of Commons in 1601.”
He added: ‘We thank God for the life of Queen Elizabeth II, for her faithfulness to Him and to her calling, from which we have gained so much.”
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland offered his “deepest, heartfelt and sincere condolences” to the King and the rest of the royal family on the “loss of one so loved and respected”.
Reverend Dr John Kirkpatrick said: “For those in Northern Ireland who express their loyalty to the Crown, few can remember a time when the Queen was not part of the very fabric of national life, as her Platinum Jubilee in June demonstrated.
“At the same time, for many who do not share that same sense of loyalty, in her long life Queen Elizabeth became one of the most recognisable and respected figures across these islands.
“The Queen will be remembered for her sense of duty and quiet dedication to the service of the people of the United Kingdom, and those farther afield.”
Dr Kirkpatrick added: “As an all-Ireland denomination, many of our members, and indeed non-members alike, found much hope and encouragement in Her Majesty’s many visits to Northern Ireland, not least during the darkest of days.
“Few will also forget her state visit to the Republic of Ireland with her late husband, Prince Philip, 11 years ago.
“In a long and significant reign, they were four days in May that not only made history, but quietly closed a chapter in Ireland’s story. A short visit that left a long-lasting impression, which will be remembered for many years to come, alongside her commitment to peace and reconciliation.”
The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe described the Queen’s death as a “moment of profound sadness” for all in the diocese who have “held Her Majesty The Queen in our hearts and prayers, in many cases for the whole of our lives”.
He described her reign as “unprecedented in its longevity”.
“While no-one could question her commitment to her people, she displayed equal fidelity to an even greater responsibility – her divine calling,” he said.
The President of the Methodist Church in Ireland said it is impossible to adequately summarise the enormity of the extent to which the late Queen dedicated herself to the service of her country.
Reverend David Nixon said: “We remember her unwavering commitment to the vow she took at her 21st birthday to devote her whole life to public service and the quiet dignity with which she has, for over 70 years, been a global ambassador for her nation, her values and her faith while successfully adapting to an endlessly changing world have been an inspiration to so many.
“We have enormous appreciation for her steadfastness as she maintained her faith in God and lived by her calling to serve the people of the United Kingdom and those through the Commonwealth. We give God thanks for her long life, sacrificial leadership and dedication to duty.”
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