By Cian Molloy - 28 October, 2019
For the first time in its near 900-year history, a Eucharistic service in the Irish language was held at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin yesterday (Sunday).
When the cathedral was established and consecrated in 1030, the liturgical language in use was Latin. Following the Anglican Church’s break with Rome, the main language of worship was English, with Christ Church Cathedral being at the heart of Anglo-Irish rule.
Yesterday, for the first time, the principal Sunday service was in Irish – though leaflets provided to the congregation were bilingual.
The preacher at the ceremony was the Rev Trevor Sargent, the former Green Party TD and Minister for Food and Agriculture, and the celebrant was the Canon Gary Hastings.
Liturgical music was provided by Cór Chúil Aodha, the internationally famous choir from the West Cork Gaeltacht that first gained renown during the 1960s through its work with the composer Seán Ó Riada.
An Irish edition of the Book of Common Prayer – Leabhar na hUrnaí Coitinne – was in use.
In the years following the Reformation, the Anglican Church used Irish in its missionary activity, with the first Irish language version of the New Testament, Tiomna Nuadh, published in 1602.
However, in the years following national independence, the Irish language and Gaelic culture started to be seen as synonymous with Catholicism and there was an antipathy towards Gaeilge in some Anglican circles. In that light, many Irish speakers will greet yesterday’s development in Árdeaglais Chríost with a Céad Míle Fáilte.