St Andrew's Cathedral, Aberdeen

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St Andrew's Cathedral
The Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew
Cathair-eaglais Naomh Anndra
Aberdeen, St. Andrew's Cathedral - - 598057.jpg
DenominationScottish Episcopal Church
DedicationSt Andrew
DioceseAberdeen & Orkney
Bishop(s)Anne Dyer
ProvostIsaac M Poobalan

St Andrew's Cathedral (Scottish Gaelic: Cathair-eaglais Naomh Anndra), or the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew, is a cathedral of the Scottish Episcopal Church situated in the Scottish city of Aberdeen. It is the see of the Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney who is the Ordinary of the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney.


The cathedral is known as being the church where the first bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, Samuel Seabury was ordained in 1784. Bishop Seabury was consecrated to the episcopate in "an upper room" of the home of John Skinner, then leader of the St. Andrew's congregation, approx 500 meters from the present building. The approximate site of the house used to be marked by a polished granite tablet on the wall of the former Marischal College.[1]. This has, in recent years,[when?] been moved.[citation needed]

The original building was designed in the perpendicular Gothic style by the architect Archibald Simpson, one of Simpson's many commissions in the city. While three sides of the Cathedral were built out of the usual local granite, for which Aberdeen is famous, the facade of the structure, facing King Street, was built from sandstone for economical reasons despite Simpson's opposition.[2]

The church opened in 1817 as St Andrew's Chapel and was raised to Cathedral status in 1914.[3]

During the 1930s, the cathedral was renovated to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Seabury's consecration. There had been a plan to build an elaborate, cruciform cathedral with central tower, commemorating Bishop Seabury's consecration on the site currently occupied by Aberdeen City Council's headquarters. This was to have been a gift of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, however, the Wall Street Crash halted this plan due to lack of money.[citation needed] Instead, the existing church was enlarged and embellished by Sir Ninian Comper. The memorial was dedicated with a ceremony attended by the then U.S. ambassador to the UK, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.[citation needed]

Until the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Cathedral was Anglo-Catholic in tradition. In 1982, the Cathedral Provost of the time, Very Revd Donald Howard, declared in a sermon the cathedral would remove the large crucifix and four of the six candles on the High Altar for Lent so that the altar could be free-standing to permit a 'westward' celebration of the Eucharist, celebrant facing the congregation rather than back to the people. Worship has since become more "broad" in nature, whilst retaining the dignity of cathedral worship.[citation needed]

Financial and structural difficulties and 2020 closure[edit]

In April 2020, the church officials said that financial difficulties could mean that the Cathedral might not re-open after the COVID-19 pandemic.[4] In June 2020, Bishop Anne Dyer and the Cathedral Trustees and Chapter announced that the Cathedral would close temporarily from September 2020, because of problems with the fabric of the building.[5]

List of provosts[edit]

Organ and Organists[edit]

The Cathedral, which has a splendid acoustic, houses one of the finest three manual pipe organs in Scotland, and has been served by a number of distinguished Organists & Masters of the Choristers including:[citation needed]

  • George Trash
  • John Cullen
  • Richard Galloway
  • Frederick ("Bill") Fea
  • David McGinnigle
  • Geoffrey Pearce 1978 - 1983 (afterwards organist of Bridlington Priory) and Selby Abbey
  • Professor Andrew Morrisson 1983 - 2020
  • Christopher Cromar 2020 - Present

Cathedral Canons[edit]

Revd Canon Captain Gerry Bowyer

Revd Canon Neil Brice

Revd Canon Vittoria Hancock

Revd Canon Jeremy Paisey

Revd Canon John Walker[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Churchman. Churchman Company. 1898. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  2. ^ Miller, David G. (2007). Archibald Simpson Architect: His Life and Times, 1790-1847. Scottish Executive. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-904440-84-0.
  3. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "King Street, St Andrew's Cathedral (Episcopal)  (Category A) (LB19953)". Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  4. ^ Proctor, David (26 April 2020). "Appeal to help Aberdeen church reopen after pandemic". Evening Express. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  5. ^ Gossip, Alastair (3 June 2020). "Aberdeen cathedral to temporarily close its doors as building 'no longer suitable' for winter worship". The Press and Journal. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  6. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)

Coordinates: 57°08′57″N 2°05′35″W / 57.1491°N 2.0931°W / 57.1491; -2.0931