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World News

Scottish Parliament recognises ‘iconic’ St Giles’ Cathedral as congregation celebrates 900 years

by Lydia Davies

A motion has been laid in the Scottish Parliament to formally recognise St Giles' Cathedral, describing it as "a prominent part of the life of Edinburgh and Scotland for 900 years." 

The motion, introduced by Lothian MSP Miles Briggs, commends the cathedral for its enduring significance and its efforts to engage with people of all backgrounds and faiths in the city. St Giles' Cathedral, believed to have been founded by King David I in 1124, is hailed as an "iconic" landmark, linking various facets of Edinburgh's rich heritage. 

In a statement, Rev Dr George Whyte, the interim moderator and local minister of St Giles', expressed gratitude for the recognition bestowed by the Scottish Parliament, affirming the congregation's commitment to continued service in the years ahead. 

He told Premier Christian News: “It’s always nice when people see what you’re doing and value it. So for everybody involved in the team at St Giles, this public recognition is very welcome as it’s a sign that what they do matters and makes a difference”> 

Rev Whyte emphasised the importance of finding a balance between focussing on the tourism side of the cathedral and also keeping it primarily, a place of worship. 

“There’s always a balance to be struck…it’s primarily a church and the church stuff takes place on Sundays and the holy days of the Christian year and every day with a short mind-day service” he said. 

The motion also highlights St Giles' role as a dynamic centre celebrating Scotland's heritage and culture, with 1.5 million visitors from around the world flocking to the cathedral in 2023. This influx of visitors underscores the cathedral's dual function as both a historical landmark and an active place of worship. 

Moreover, the motion acknowledges St Giles' integral role as a national church, citing significant events such as the lying in state of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Honours of Scotland service for His Majesty King Charles III. 

It has been praised for its various outreach projects, aimed at engaging individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and faiths across Edinburgh. These initiatives reflect the cathedral's commitment to fostering inclusivity and community cohesion within the city. 

The motion will now be circulated among other Members of the Scottish Parliament for additional signatures, underscoring the widespread recognition and support for St Giles' Cathedral within Scotland's legislative body. 

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