Love your local church – St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh

In the first of a new occasional series, where our bloggers share what they love about their local church buildings, here’s Annette Brydone, one of our charity’s Trustees, offering some thoughts on why she loves St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.

I have been a parishioner at the Cathedral since I was a teenager, and I have always liked the building which dates back to 1814.  The original chapel was designed by James Gillespie Graham, but only the façade remains today.  Over the years it expanded, became a church and then in 1878 the Cathedral for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

Apse of St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh

Photograph by Annette Brydone

The building is much larger than you would expect from the outside.  It is said to have the largest floor area of any church in Edinburgh.  Recently a café and bookshop have been added.  The café is particularly nice in the summer as you can sit outside.

The church has a squarish look to it with a main aisle leading to the Sanctuary and two side aisles, the Lady Aisle and the St Andrew aisle.

The Sanctuary is beautifully decorated with a lovely painting above depicting the coronation of Mary by Jesus after her ascension to Heaven.  The Assumption is the patronal feast of the Cathedral. The stained glass windows are of German and English origin, and I love the colour that they bring to the building.  Also very colourful are the painted angels at the ends of each of the roof beams.

“…a lovely place to spend a few tranquil moments in the midst of the hustle and bustle of central Edinburgh.”

To the left is the Lady aisle which has a lovely statue of Our Lady and beautiful Stations of the Cross of German origin.  The war memorial near the statue commemorates the Cathedral dead of the First World War.  It is usually only opened for Remembrance Day.

To the right of the main aisle is the St Andrew’s aisle where we have two relics of St Andrew from Amalfi in Italy where the saint’s tomb is.  There are plans in the near future to make a more fitting reliquary for these relics of one of the apostles and the patron saint of Scotland.

St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, 61 York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3JD

Photograph – Church’s Own

At the back of the church is a  magnificent organ built in 2006. We have a very good organist and choir which provide the music at the noon Sunday Mass.

The Cathedral has a great sense of peace and calm.  It is open every day and is a lovely place to spend a few tranquil moments in the midst of the hustle and bustle of central Edinburgh.