Tuesday, April 10, 2012

St. Andrew's Orthodox Church, Edinburgh

St. Andrew is an important Saint for both Constantinople, being its patron Saint, and Scotland, being again its patron with his cross the Saltire. The Orthodox parish of St. Andrew in Edinburgh is part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. 



The Edinburgh parish began its life as a chaplaincy mainly for Polish servicemen during World War II, whilst the liturgical language used in the beginning was Slavonic. However, as the years passed, it is evident that the ethnic composition of the parish has become a less important factor, altering towards a presence of the universal Orthodox Church in Scotland. This is, thus, an exception to the rule within the Orthodox Cosmos where ethnic background is a key factor within a community, nevertheless the Orthodox Church in Scotland seems to have transcended the boundaries of national identity.     



Currently English is widely used within the services, on the other hand Greek and Slavonic are retained in order to unite different traditions within Orthodoxy, due to the fact that the community comprises of English, Scottish, Greeks, Russians, Serbians, Romanians and people from other countries. 





Archbishop Grigorios, in a letter towards the community, explains: "The Community in Edinburgh represents, and is an 'Icon' of, the life of the Orthodox Church in the Scottish capital. An encouraging characteristic of this life is that it is multi-lingual and multi-cultural, respecting and encouraging the traditions of Orthodox Christians from outside Scotland who have found themselves part of the Scottish Orthodox Community, which itself looks back to the Orthodox heritage, of this part of Britain, and embracing all those Orthodox Christians who seek its protection".  

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