Sacred Heart, Edinburgh

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Sacred Heart Church
Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Edinburgh
Entrance of the church on Lauriston Street
Sacred Heart Church
Sacred Heart Church
Sacred Heart Church
Edinburgh City Centre
Coordinates: 55°56′43″N 3°12′05″W / 55.945166°N 3.201296°W / 55.945166; -3.201296
OS grid reference NT2498173105
Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Country United Kingdom
Denomination Roman Catholic
Founded July 31, 1859 (1859-07-31)
Founder(s) Bishop James Gillis
Dedication Sacred Heart of Jesus
Dedicated 1990
Consecrated 8 July 1860
Status Active
Functional status Parish church
Heritage designation Category A[1]
Designated 14 December 1970
Architect(s) Richard Vaughan SJ
Style Neo-classical
Groundbreaking 1859
Deanery City of Edinburgh[2]
Archdiocese St Andrews and Edinburgh
Province St Andrews and Edinburgh
Archbishop Leo Cushley
Priest(s) Fr. Peter Scally SJ

Sacred Heart, Edinburgh, formally known as the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is a Roman Catholic church run by the Society of Jesus, close to the city centre of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom. It is situated in Lauriston, midway between the Grassmarket and Tollcross, on the edge of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. The church building was opened in 1860 and is a category A listed building.[1]



The church had its beginnings when Bishop James Gillis, Vicar Apostolic of the Eastern District invited the Society of Jesus to come to Edinburgh and set up a parish close to the city centre. The architect of the church was a Jesuit priest, Fr. Richard Vaughan SJ, who was also uncle of Bernard Vaughan, a notable Jesuit preacher and writer.

Initially, while the church was being built, Mass was celebrated in a temporary chapel on Hunter's Close in the Grassmarket part of the city. The first Mass was on 31 July 1859 by a Fr. Albany James Christie SJ. The first Mass in the newly constructed Sacred Heart Church was celebrated on 8 July 1860: Bishop Gillis preached at the Mass and the celebrant was the then Jesuit provincial, a Fr. Thomas Seed SJ.[3]

Twentieth Century[edit]

Over the years, the church was restored and renovated on numerous occasions. In 1907, the organ was installed and was modified in 1963 and 1974. From 1963 to 1990 there alterations made to make the church more compatible with the requirements of the post-Vatican II era. There were renovations made with the structural trusses being reinforced in 1996 and north facing wall restored in 1998.[4]


The Jesuits are resident next door to the church and are involved with the chaplaincy to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.[5] The parish celebrates Mass every day of the week as well hosts saying the Rosary every weekday lunch time. In addition, the parish works with the nearby Little Sisters of the Poor care home in Gilmore Place.[6]

Lauriston Centre[edit]

Next door to the church is the The Lauriston Jesuit Centre. It is designed to be a place for the Edinburgh Jesuit Community to present issues of spirituality, social justice and adult faith formation to the city of Edinburgh and the surrounding area. It hosts talks on the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and modern day Jesuit writers and theologians.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "28 Lauriston Street, Sacred Heart Church". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh Deaneries
  3. ^ Sacred Heart Edinburgh Brief History
  4. ^ Sacred Heart Edinburgh History of the Building
  5. ^ Lauriston Centre on the Parish
  6. ^ Sacred Heart Services
  7. ^ Lauriston Centre description

External links[edit]