St. Giles’ Cathedral

St. Giles’ Cathedral is in Edinburgh, city centre, only a few minutes from Edinburgh castle. It’s quite small for a cathedral, but it looks lovely and it’s free to visit. Only for taking pictures is a £2 fee. St Giles’ Cathedral dates back to the 12th century. The legend of St. Giles is that he was living as a hermit in French forests with a tame deer as companion. The King of the Visigoths, out hunting, shot at the deer. Giles protected the deer and had his hand wounded by the arrow. The King admired him and talked with him for many times. He persuaded Giles to become abbot of a new monastery. Giles was subsequently canonised.

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Is believed the first small church was burned by the English armies in 1322. After that it was rebuilt in the Gothic style and much bigger. More chapels were added in the next 150 years. St Giles’ becomes a collegiate church in the 15th century and remains one until the Reformation. In August 1560, Scotland became officially Protestant.

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Mary Queen of Scots was catholic, as her parents and didn’t attend services at St. Giles’. After her abdication, her illegitimate half-brother, James Stewart governed Scotland until he was assassinated in Linlithgow in 1570 and he is buried at St. Giles. Mary’s son, King James VI attended services in St Giles’ and he was often interrupting the sermon to argue with the Minister over points of theology. This happened until 1603 when James inherited the throne of England too and moved to London.

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Charles I tried to impose an English-style prayer book and that lead to a riot at St. Giles in the 17th century. In 1911 the Thistle Chapel was completed and it was used by the Knights of the Thistle, Scotland’s order of chivalry.

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Unlike the Church of England, Church of Scotland has different rules, there are no archbishops or bishops but a General Assembly. Also, In Scotland, the State has no control over the Church.

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There are guided tours with the chance to go to the North roof. The tour is quite cheap and the groups are made up of 4 people, so it should be very nice. The Cathedral has its own shop and cafe. I would say it’s a lovely place to see.

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