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Greyfriars Church Photo Credit Church of Scotland banner.jpg
Greyfriars Kirk/ Photo Credit: Church of Scotland
Greyfriars Church Photo Credit Church of Scotland.jpg
Greyfriars Kirk/ Photo Credit: Church of Scotland
Church News

Iconic Edinburgh church celebrates 400 year anniversary

by Tola Mbakwe

A world-renowned church in Edinburgh will mark its 400 year anniversary this year with a series of special events.

Greyfriars Kirk is widely known for Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal terrier who guarded his master's grave for 14 years.

It's also famous for its association with the Covenanters, church radicals of the 17th century.

The church's 400 year anniversary celebrations will feature both its history and the community that the Kirk represents today.

Festival organiser Gillian Couper said: "It is 400 years since the Kirk first opened its doors in 1620, making it one of Scotland's oldest institutions, and it continues to thrive and grow to this day.

"Events will celebrate the life and times of Greyfriars past and present. They will explore the rich history and stories associated with it, through which it became a beacon of the Enlightenment and leading centre for the arts.

"We look forward to welcoming visitors, local and from all over the world, to enjoy these events and help celebrate this fantastic anniversary."

This summer the church will host a Festival of Science, Wisdom and Faith inspired by renowned figures from the Enlightenment, an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th to 19th century. The people are buried in the Kirkyard, or who were ministers of Greyfriars.

The Church of Scotland said: "A series of talks and panels will encourage the public to reflect on the tension that has often existed between science, wisdom and faith and whether this has changed in the modern era."

Local historian Roy Pinkerton has been launched a new book to coincide with the 400 years exploring the history of the 17 churches which have united to form the present-day Greyfriars congregation.

In September there will be a flower festival which will see the building filled with colourful displays paying tribute to the rich history of the 17 churches.

Celebratory events also include several concerts.

Rev Richard Frazer

Rev Richard Frazer, who has been the minister of Greyfriars Kirk since 2003, said: "Christmas 2020 marks not only 400 years of our building but 400 years of our congregation, an uninterrupted history that has been sustained from the dawn of the modern era and an astonishing record of faith in action."

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