George Simms

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The Most Reverend

George Simms

Archbishop of Armagh
Primate of All Ireland
Church Church of Ireland
Diocese Armagh
Elected17 July 1969
In office1969–1980
Predecessor James McCann
Successor John Armstrong
Consecration28 October 1952
by  Arthur Barton
Personal details
Born(1910-07-04)4 July 1910
Died15 November 1991(1991-11-15) (aged 81)
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Buried St. Maelruain's Church, Tallaght
Nationality Irish
Denomination Anglican
ParentsJohn Francis A Simms & Ottilie Sophie Stange
SpouseMercy Felicia Gwynn
Previous post(s) Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross (1952–1956)
Archbishop of Dublin (1956–1969)

George Otto Simms (4 July 1910 – 15 November 1991) was an archbishop in the Church of Ireland, and a scholar.


Early life and education

George Otto Simms was born on 4 July 1910 in North Dublin in Ireland to parents John Francis A Simms & Ottilie Sophie Stange both from Lifford, County Donegal, as per his birth Certificate. He also attended the Prior School in Lifford for a time and also attended Cheltenham College, a public school in the United Kingdom. He went on to study at Trinity College Dublin, where in 1930 he was elected a Scholar and graduated with a B.A. in classics in 1932 and a B.D in 1936. He later completed a Ph.D. in 1950.

Clerical career

He became a deacon in 1935 and a priest in 1936, beginning his ministry as a curate at St Bartholomew's, Clyde Road, Dublin under Canon W.C.Simpson. [1] In 1937 he took a position in Lincoln Theological College but returned to Dublin in 1939 to become Dean of Residence in Trinity College Dublin and Chaplain Secretary of the Church of Ireland College of Education.

He was appointed Dean of Cork in 1952. Consecrated a bishop, he served as Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, between 1952 and 1956. At forty-two, he was the youngest Church of Ireland clergyman appointed to a bishopric since John Gregg in 1915. [2] He served as Archbishop of Dublin, from 1956 to 1969. During this time, he maintained a courteous relationship with John Charles McQuaid, his Roman Catholic counterpart as Archbishop of Dublin. [3] From 1969 to 1980, he served as Archbishop of Armagh.

Alongside Cardinal William Conway, Simms chaired the first official ecumenical meeting between the leaders of Ireland's Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church in Ballymascanlon Hotel, Dundalk, Co. Louth on 26 September 1973, an important meeting amidst the increasing violence in Northern Ireland. The meeting was protested by Ian Paisley. [4]

Scholarly work

Simms was a scholar, and published research on the history of the Church of Ireland and on the Book of Kells . He was also a fluent speaker of the Irish language. [5]


In 1978 he was made an honorary fellow of Trinity College Dublin. [6]

Personal life

Simms was the uncle of mathematician David J. Simms. [7] He is interred with his wife, Mercy Felicia née Gwynn (1915–1998), in the cemetery attached to St. Maelruain's Church, Tallaght, County Dublin. [8]


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  1. Lesley Whiteside: George Otto Simms: A Biography, (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1990), p. 21.
  2. Daithí Ó Corráin, Rendering to God and Caesar: The Irish churches and the two states in Ireland, 1949–73 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006), p. 71.
  3. Ibid, p. 184.
  4. Ibid, p. 226.
  5. Ibid, p. 81.
  6. Webb, D.A. (1992). J.R., Barlett (ed.). Trinity College Dublin Record Volume 1991. Dublin: Trinity College Dublin Press. ISBN   1-871408-07-5.
  7. Guidera, Anita (1 September 2006). "Academic caught up in factory planning dispute". Irish Independent . Retrieved 9 November 2012.
Church of Ireland titles
Preceded by Archbishop of Dublin
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of Armagh
1969– 1980
Succeeded by