Kathleen Young and Irene Templeton were ordained at St. Anne's Anglican Cathedral in Belfast Sunday, the first Anglican women to become priests in the United Kingdom.

The ceremony was deliberately low-key and came less than a month after the Church of Ireland approved the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopacy.

Bishop Samuel Poyntz, head of the Diocese of Connor, presided over the ceremony, which followed the traditional service of ordination.

The new priests will work in Poyntz's diocese.

"I see {ordination} very much in terms of my parish ministry, which will now be more full and effective than it has been before," said Young, 50, who practiced physiotherapy before starting full-time church work.

Christian toleration was urged for those who hold different views on controversial matters in the ordination sermon preached by the Rev. John Bartlett, principal of the Church of Ireland Theological College.

The occasion should not be misrepresented nor used for a display of triumphalism, he said. "This is not an occasion for rehearing yet again why women should be ordained, nor an occasion for emphasizing the position of women in the priesthood."

Still, the Anglican preacher used the pulpit to gently reject the views of those who voted against the ordination of women at last month's synod meeting.

Ordination of women in Northern Ireland raises questions about their status in England, where the Church of England, the mother church of Anglicanism, does not permit women priests.