Irish Council of Churches. Irish Inter-Church Meeting

Book Launch at Belfast Cathedral

Church of Ireland





St. Anne’s Cathedral


Member Church Events

St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, is to host the launch of a book containing sermons from the 18th century which were discovered inside the Cathedral. Preaching in Belfast, 1747–54

Four Courts Press, in association with St Anne’s and the Representative Church Body Library, will launch Preaching in Belfast, 1747–54: A selection of the sermons of James Saurin, after Evensong on Tuesday October 20.

The book is edited by Raymond Gillespie and Roibeard Ó Gallachóir. The speaker at the launch will be the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Rev John McDowell, and the launch will follow 5.30pm Evensong by the Cathedral Choir.

In 1747 James Saurin, a descendant of a prominent Huguenot family, was appointed as vicar of Belfast. One of his first acts was to write a series of sermons that he preached to his congregation over his long tenure as vicar.

Some 55 of these sermons were recently discovered in St Anne’s Cathedral, having been preserved and used by Saurin’s son and grandson for their preaching.

The edition being launched on October 20 includes 20 of the sermons reflecting on a wide range questions. They include:

  • How did one maintain social order in a rapidly changing town?
  • What did it mean to be part of the religious establishment in a town where the Church of Ireland was a minority?
  • What political positions might the inhabitants of radical Belfast assume?
  • How did a preacher deal with the needs of his flock through Christmas, Easter, Confirmations and other key moments in their lives?

This unique collection of sermons provides a vivid insight into the mind of a Church of Ireland clergyman in a rapidly changing provincial town at the middle of the 18th century and illuminates many of the key issues of the world of provincial Ireland.

Raymond Gillespie teaches in the Department of History, Maynooth University, and Roibeard Ó Gallachóir is a recent graduate of the MA in Historical Archives, Maynooth University.

To learn more about this book, visit the Four Courts Press website at–in–belfast

For further information contact Karen Bushby, Press Officer, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, on 07766 103880 or email

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