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Edinburgh Churches to Visit (and attend Services)

Any suggestions on this? I've seen references to St. Giles and Rosslyn Chapel, but would be interested in visiting others for historical/artistic/architectural/musical reasons and for attending Sunday services (we're Protestant, but open to any Christian service).

Bill in SoCal

Posted by
5677 posts

Interesting question Bill. Edinburgh has so much religious history--John Knox and all that--and yet, I've not been to a church service in Edinburgh. I have been to St. Giles and it's interesting. I've been to so may abbeys in the Borders and elsewhere. I've visited my cousin's very stark church in Longhope on Hoy, but no services. Your post made me look up to see what the Internet had to say about historic churches and this link came up. I should have remembered Grey Friars.

When you think of church--the kirk--in Scotland one thinks of the Presbyterian Church, but it's called the Church of Scotland. I had to look it up to clarify this for myself, and I thought that this statement from Wikipedia helped. "The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian in polity and Reformed in theology. The most recent articulation of its legal position, the Articles Declaratory (1921), spells out the key concepts." And here's the link to the website. And then there is the Free Presbyterian church. Click on their link on Sunday and you'll be told that they are closed for the Sabbath.

So, Scotland is a different place for church than the rest of UK or Europe. Hopefully, MC or Unclegus will comment.


Posted by
1599 posts

The state church is the largest protestant church, the Church of Scotland. In size this is followed by the Catholic Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church. These three are the ones you will find more often, but availability of the Catholic and Episcopal churches waxes and wanes according to local populations. After them come the small protestant churches etc.

Scotland's largest religious group is 'none'.

St Giles in Edinburgh is Church of Scotland, Rosslyn Chapel comes under the Episcopal Church. There is a Catholic cathedral in Edinburgh, and a few other churches dotted around the city. As a legacy of the Scottish Reformation even Scotland's Catholic churches can be a bit subdued in comparison to English or Irish equivalents. If you wish to attend a service, the best idea is to check with the websites of the churches directly.

Posted by
241 posts

Bill, I’m so glad you asked this question. We began in the last several trips to not only tour the historical churches but to take part in a time of worship. We’ve participated in both Holy Communion in the Nave and Evensong @ Westminster Abbey in London, Eucharist at St. Paul’s in London and noon Mass at the main altar of Notre Dame. In addition to being a spiritual time for us, each added to our understanding and appreciation of a great house of worship. You’ve reminded me to add this to my trip-planning for our upcoming time in Ireland and Scotland!

Posted by
8 posts

We attended church at St. Andrews in Inverness. Their Sunday morning service is at 11:00am. Most of the service was sung by their twenty member choir and it was extraordinarily beautiful. We were greeted by the Bishop who chatted with us before the service. The church is Episcopalian