Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh

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Metropolitan Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh
Archidioecesis Sancti Andreae et Edimburgensis
Coat of Arms of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edinburgh.svg
Coat of Arms of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh
Country Scotland
Territory City of Edinburgh and the council areas of Clackmannanshire, part of Fife, Falkirk, West, Mid and East Lothian, and the Scottish Borders
Ecclesiastical province St Andrews & Edinburgh
Metropolitan Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh
Coordinates 56°11′20″N 3°37′52″W / 56.189°N 3.631°W / 56.189; -3.631Coordinates: 56°11′20″N 3°37′52″W / 56.189°N 3.631°W / 56.189; -3.631
Area 5,504 km2 (2,125 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
Increase117,600 (Steady 7.6%)
Parishes 112
Denomination Roman Catholic
Sui iuris church Latin Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established 4 March 1878
Cathedral St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh
Secular priests 76
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Archbishop Leo Cushley
Vicar General

Patrick Burke [1]

Allan Chambers
Emeritus Bishops Keith O'Brien, Archbishop-emeritus of St Andrews & Edinburgh
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh in Scotland.jpg

The Archdiocese of Saint Andrews & Edinburgh (Latin: Archidioecesis Sancti Andreae et Edimburgensis) is an archdiocese of the Latin Church of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland. It is the Metropolitan see of the Province of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, consisting of the additional suffragan sees of Aberdeen, Argyll and the Isles, Dunkeld, and Galloway. The archdiocese is led by Archbishop Leo Cushley.[2]


After the Scottish Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church abandoned the ancient dioceses and hierarchy. In 1653, the whole of Scotland became under the authority the Prefecture Apostolic of Scotland, which in 1694 was elevated to the Vicariate Apostolic of Scotland.[3]

On 23 July 1727, Scotland was divided into two Vicariates Apostolic, the Lowland District and Highland District. The Lowland District comprised roughly the Scottish Lowlands.[3]

On 13 February 1827, Scotland was divided again into three Vicariate Apostolics, the Eastern District (formerly the Lowland District), the Northern District (formerly the Highland District), and the Western District (created from terrority of the other two districts).[3]

The Eastern District comprised the sixteen eastern historic counties of Perthshire, Angus, Kincardineshire, Stirlingshire, Clackmannanshire, Kinross, Fife, West Lothian, Mid Lothian, East Lothian, Peebleshire, Selkirkshire, Kirkcudbrightshire, Dumfrieshire, Roxburghshire, and Berwickshire.

Following the restoration of the Scottish hierarchy by Pope Leo XIII on 15 March 1878, part of the Eastern District was elevated to the status of an Archdiocese with the title St Andrews & Edinburgh.[3]

In Lent 2015, Archbishop Cushley outlined his vision for the future of the Archdiocese in a Pastoral Letter entitled "We Have Found the Messiah". The document stated aim was to "respond to the mission entrusted to him [Archbishop Cushley] by Pope Francis: to bring the joy of the Gospel to contemporary society."

Following the publication of the letter, Archbishop Cushley embarked upon 32 public meetings across the Archdiocese to discuss his vision which includes the possibility of creating larger parish units through either mergers or closures. The process of review is likely to continue until 2017.

The archdiocese controls the Mount Vernon Cemetery. In 2017 the former superintendent of the cemetery was convicted of mis-selling burial plots for 9 years, for example by re-selling used plots, defrauded the archdiocese and families.[4]

Office holders[edit]

Prefecture Apostolic of Scotland.[3]
Vicariate Apostolic of Scotland.[3]
  • Thomas Joseph Nicolson (appointed on 7 September 1694 – died on 12 October 1718)
  • James Gordon (succeeded on 12 October 1718 – appointed Vicar Apostolic of the Lowland District on 23 July 1727)
Vicariate Apostolic of the Lowland District.[3]
  • James Gordon (appointed on 23 July 1727 – died on 18 February 1746)
  • Alexander Smith (succeeded on 18 February 1746 – died on 21 August 1767)
  • James Grant (succeeded on 21 August 1767 – died on 3 December 1778)
  • George Hay (succeeded on 3 December 1778 – retired on 24 August 1805)
  • Alexander Cameron (succeeded on 24 August 1805 – retired on 20 August 1825)
  • Alexander Paterson (appointed on 20 August 1825 – appointed Vicar Apostolic of the Eastern District 13 February 1827)
Vicariate Apostolic of the Eastern District.[3]
  • Alexander Paterson (appointed on 13 February 1827 – died on 30 October 1831)
  • Andrew Carruthers (appointed on 28 September 1832 – died on 24 May 1852)
  • James Gillis (succeeded on 24 May 1852 – died on 24 February 1864)
  • John Menzies Strain (appointed on 2 September 1864 – appointed Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh on 15 March 1878)
Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.[3]
  • John Menzies Strain (appointed on 15 March 1878 – died on 2 July 1883)
  • William Smith (appointed on 2 October and consecrated 28 October 1885 - died on 16 March 1892)
  • Angus MacDonald (translated from Argyll and The Isles on 15 July 1892 – died 29 April 1900)
  • James August Smith (translated from Dunkeld on 30 August 1900 – died on 25 November 1928)
  • Andrew Thomas McDonald, O.S.B. (appointed on 19 July and consecrated on 24 September 1929 – died on 22 May 1950)
  • (Cardinal) Gordon Gray (appointed on 20 June and consecrated on 21 September 1951 – retired on 30 May 1985)
  • (Cardinal) Keith O'Brien (appointed on 30 May and consecrated on 5 August 1985 – resigned on 25 February 2013)[5]
  • Leo Cushley (appointed on 24 July and consecrated on 21 September 2013 – present)


  1. ^ "Burke to be Edinburgh vicar general". The Tablet. UK. 9 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Archbishop urges faithful to resist pessimism ahead of parish closures
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Sawer, Patrick (31 August 2017). "Cemetery manager buried the dead on top of each other in £14k fraud campaign". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigns, will not go to conclave". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 

External links[edit]