News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Anne picbanner.JPG
Andrew O’Brien/Church of Scotland
Anne pic.JPG
Andrew O’Brien/Church of Scotland
World News

Princess Royal signs unity declaration between Church of Scotland and Catholic Church

by Donna Birrell

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has officially endorsed an historic friendship agreement between the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church in Scotland.

She formally backed the St Margaret's Declaration at Dunfermline Abbey in Fife which is named after  the 11th Century Scottish Queen who is buried in the abbey. The agreement is the culmination of years of ecumenical relationship building between the two Churches which recognise each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Princess Anne signed the agreement alongside Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly, and Most Rev Leo Cushley, Roman Catholic Archbishop and Metropolitan of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

The document was signed during a service to mark the Abbey's 950th anniversary on St Margaret's Day, known as the Feast Day of St Margaret by the Catholic Church.
Princess Anne was among more than 300 invited guests in attendance from the local community, the Kirk, ecumenical partners, civic society and heritage organisations.

Addressing the congregation, the Princess Royal said:

"This is St Margaret's Day and it is an important St Margaret's message of unity and friendship that we are also celebrating here. 

"I was honoured to be asked to be present today for the signing of the Declaration of Friendship between the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland and the Church of Scotland.

"This formalises their close bonds of friendship.

"We have been able to celebrate St Margaret today and I think her legacy has helped to bring us this declaration and I thank you all for that.

"Once again, my congratulations on this significant anniversary for the abbey and for the city of Dunfermline but also underlining the importance of what you have signed up to today."

Written by senior figures from both Churches, the declaration describes the Churches' shared beliefs, 'rooted in the Apostles, Christ's first disciples,' and acknowledges a common heritage as Christians in Scotland.

It also recognises the divisions of the past, apologises for the hurt and harm caused and seeks to make amends, asserting 'we repent and ask forgiveness of one other.'

It is accepted that some divisions between the Churches remain challenging and more work is needed on reconciliation and healing. 
Nevertheless, both Christian denominations say that what they hold in common is far greater than what divides them, and they commit to continue working towards greater unity.

Dr Greenshields said:

"I am deeply honoured and privileged to be one of the signatories of the St Margaret's Declaration at Dunfermline Abbey in its 950th year and on St Margaret's Day.

"This new friendship agreement has been many years in the making and is aptly named after a Scottish Queen who was venerated for her missionary Christian faith and her kindness and generosity to poor people.

"The declaration reflects the steadfast desire of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland and the Church of Scotland to continue to journey together and to see the healing of division within our nation.

"Friendship is a very deep relationship, a relationship of conscious and deliberate choice in which individuality is respected but there is room for disagreement.

"This is a relationship in which we stand alongside one another, support one another, rejoice together and weep together, pray for and with each other, and work together.

"I would want people across Scottish society to look at this new relationship between the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church and take away a powerful message - there is more that unites us than divides us as we strive to be an ever more united Christian voice in this land." 
Archbishop Cushley said :

"The declaration is a consciously new approach to ecumenism, an attempt to re-imagine the path towards Christian unity.

"Instead of listing our problems and points of friction or grievance, old or new, the Declaration chooses to focus on what we have in common and underline that we treasure together, so much that is inspiring and ancient, profound and beautiful.  

"We stand shoulder to shoulder before an unbelieving world and we wish to respect each other, to be a support to each other, and to do all we can to achieve the unity that the Lord prayed for. 

"And if St Margaret and the first men who came here nearly a thousand years ago were here with us now, I would like to think that they would welcome and approve of us setting out in this way.

"In friendship, to face the next thousand years, not as enemies or rivals, but as sisters and brothers and friends in Jesus Christ."   


A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email