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From church to cathedral

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From church to cathedral

A DUMFRIES church with links to Robert the Bruce has been dedicated as a cathedral.

Greyfriars Church has been sold to the Diocese of the British Isles, a constituent diocese of the International Synaxis of True Orthodox Churches.

It was dedicated as the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Ninian at a handover ceremony last month and will become the liturgical centre of the diocese.

The acquisition follows on from a decision by the St Bride’s Anglican Church community to relocate to new premises after 13 years of worship at Greyfriars.

A spokesman for Dumfries Orthdodox Cathedral said: “Acting on the wishes of the St Bride’s congregation to maintain the building in ecclesiastical use, Rev Andrew Crosbie has spearheaded an effort to find another church community who would make fitting use of the space.

“To that end, the decision was taken to transfer the ownership of the building to the Diocese of the British Isles, an old calendar Orthodox Christian diocese with missions throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

The original diocese was founded in 425 AD with its spiritual centre at the Abbey of Saint Alban and Aethelwold, normally referred to as Botel Abbey, in Kirkcudbrightshire.

Greyfriars Church is now the official seat of the Rt. Rev’d James Cavendish, 8th Orthodox Bishop of Whithorn, and a regular schedule of services will be lead by Fr. Augustine Parker and church porter Elliot Davies.

The diocese intends to carry out extensive renovation work at Greyfriars, which houses shrines to St Ninian and St Machutus and is most famous for its association with the murder of John ‘the Red’ Comyn by Robert the Bruce.

Following on from the dedication ceremony, the diocese officially launched the Lambros Charalambous Philanthropic Initiative (LCPI), named in memory of a church patron, last week.

The programme will include the opening of a new food bank in the town, and will also support bursaries for local young musicians.

Bishop James said: “Although we are yet but a small presence, we hope that our charitable activities will serve the people of Dumfries.

“All of our clergy involved very much look forward to working with various faith leaders and charities in Dumfries so that the new community at Greyfriars can do its part in bringing relief and the works of mercy to the local population.”

A spokesman for St Bride’s Anglican congregation said: “We are sad that our time at Greyfriars has come to an end but are pleased that it will remain a place of real Christian worship in the centre of Dumfries.

“We will be using Rugmans Hall on the Whitesands as our place of worship. This is a temporary measure until we decide on the future of our congregation.”

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