Tributes have been paid by leading Church of Ireland figures following the death of former Bishop of Raphoe Seamus Hegarty, who passed away on Friday.
The Donegal man served as Bishop of Raphoe from 1982. He was ordained Bishop of Derry in 1994 and retired in 2011.
He died following an illness in Letterkenny University Hospital.
Rt Rev Ken Good, who retired as Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe in May, offered his condolences on Bishop Hegarty’s death, describing him as a man of great learning.
“I got to know Bishop Seamus after I became Bishop of Derry and Raphoe in 2002. We were both very conscious of the need at that time to build on the towering work of our predecessors, Dr Edward Daly and Dr James Mehaffey, who had set an outstanding example of reconciliation and in the process forged a wonderful friendship.," he said.
“Bishop Hegarty was a man of great learning. A former teacher, like myself, he led his two dioceses, Raphoe and Derry, at a very difficult time in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. I, more than most, am aware of how challenging church leadership can be – at whatever point in history and whatever one’s denomination.
Bishop Hegarty had a great love for both dioceses and a particular grá for his home county, Donegal, and for the Irish language.
"I offer my deepest condolences and prayers to his family circle and to all those in our community who mourn his passing."
The Church of Ireland Archbishop's Commissary Ven Robert Miller also offered his condolences.
“On behalf of the Church of Ireland Diocese of Derry and Raphoe, I offer sincere and profound sympathy to our friends in the Roman Catholic community following the death of Dr Seamus Hegarty, Bishop Emeritus of Derry and former Bishop of Raphoe," he said.
“Sadly, Bishop Hegarty had been ill for a number of years – restricting our opportunities to meet – but, on those occasions when our paths did cross, I recall a man of great personal warmth and good humour.
“Bishop Hegarty will be remembered by others for his great contribution to education (both as a teacher and as a church leader), for his love of Irish culture and his championing of the Irish language.”
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