Belfast Telegraph

Orangemen’s Belfast cathedral service marks centenary of Ulster Covenant signing

By Brian Walsh

Orangemen have marched through Belfast city centre to mark a centenary milestone of unionism.

They gathered in their droves to mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant.

Orangemen and women from the County Grand Lodge of Belfast packed into St Anne’s Cathedral in the city for the service yesterday which was organised in conjunction with the City of Belfast Loyal Orange Widow’s Fund.

The covenant was the symbolic centrepiece of the unionist campaign against Government proposals to introduce Home Rule in Ireland.

It was signed by a total of 237,368 men who queued at Belfast City Hall, while 234,046 women signed a parallel declaration stating their opposition.

Yesterday’s commemoration took place where the leader of the anti-Home Rule movement — unionist leader Sir Edward Carson — is buried.

Worshipful Brother the Rev William Hoey praised his Orange forefathers who he said were acting in defence of their civil and religious freedom.

County Grand Chaplain of the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast Mervyn Gibson described the service as “a historic occasion” in his address.

“The covenant called on people to rely on God, to trust in him. It is something that we need to be continually reminded to do,” he said.

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