Thursday, January 19, 2012

St. Gile's Cathedral, Edinburgh

St. Gile's Cathedral, The High Kirk of Edinburgh, is the historic City Church of Edinburgh. With its framed crown spire it stands on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. 

It is the Mother Church of Presbyterianism, which also contains the Order of the The Thistle, i.e. Scotland's chivalric company of knights headed by the Queen. 

This church is one of the most historic and romantic buildings in Scotland. Founded in the 1100's, this church has witnessed executions, riots and celebrations. One of its attractions, i.e. the famous crown spire, has dominated Edinburgh's skyline for over half a millennium. 

It consists of many tiny aisles and chapels, each with its own distinct and memorable story. Also the variety of the numerous stained glass windows emphasise the wide range of traditional and modern styles. St. Giles is the patron saint of the town, whose feast day is celebrated on the 1st of September. St. Giles was a 7th century hermit and later abbot, who lived in France. He became the patron of both town and church due to the ancient ties between Scotland and France. 
According to legend, Giles was accidentally wounded by a huntsman in pursuit of a hind and, after his death in the early 8th century, there were dedicated to him hospitals and safe houses for cripples, beggars and lepers were established throughout England and Scotland within easy reach of the impoverished and the infirm. St. Giles is usually depicted protecting a hind from an arrow, which had pierced his own body. 

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