Royal Black makes history as new leader elected at hall in Republic
Rev William Anderson has been elected as the new sovereign grand master of the Royal Black Institution following a meeting of the order's ruling body in Co Monaghan.
The Church of Ireland minister from Co Armagh succeeds Millar Farr, who announced he was stepping down last month.
He had served as grand master for 10 years.
Saturday's biannual meeting of the organisation's grand council took place at the Union Hall in Newbliss, Co Monaghan.
It is the first time the institution has selected its new leader at a meeting held in the Republic.
Rev Anderson, who is currently the minister of the Tullanisken and Clonoe parishes in Co Tyrone, said: "I am extremely honoured to be elected sovereign grand master... and very humbled to be following in the footsteps of those who have served in the post previously.
"Like my predecessors before me, I pledge to represent the membership to the best of my ability at all times, and in so doing, uphold the Christian ethos of the institution, to promote the Reformed faith, and to continue our long-standing track record of exceptional charitable outreach.
The new sovereign grand master paid tribute to the "outstanding leadership" of his predecessor Mr Farr, who he maintained over the past decade had led the oOrder with "great foresight", enhancing its position in the mainstream of community life.
He added: "This is a very exciting time for the institution as we proceed with plans to develop our new headquarters in Co Armagh, which we anticipate will open to the public in 2020.
"Such a major development has energised and enthused our membership, as we count down to our traditional flagship parades this summer."
Rev Anderson's first appearance as sovereign grand master will be at the annual Sham Fight in Scarva next month.