The main place of worship in the Catholic diocese of Aberdeen the Cathedral was opened in 1860 and has many attractive architectural and liturgical features.
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The history of St Andrews hospitality began when the Episcopalians found ways of welcoming people to their homes as they were persecuted for their form of prayers, an expression of their faith. It became visible when Bishop John Skinner made his Upper Room St Andrew’s Chapel, a tent pitched between the Merchants Quarters and the Slums of Aberdeen to welcome the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, the native and the stranger.
Samuel Seabury, the First Bishop of the Free World was Consecrated here in 1784 by the Free and Independent Bishops in Scotland, inaugurating the birth of the Anglican Communion in Aberdeen.
Recently, the Cathedral welcomed the New Scots, the Refugees from Syria, hosted the first Solidarity Sunday in Scotland bring the Jewish and the Islamic communities together for prayer, offered shelter to the marginalised and those recovering from Drugs and Alcohol dependence.
The present building on King Street was opened in 1817, Bishop John Skinner laying the foundation stone. It was the first of many buildings in the city designed by Archibald Simpson who was born in Aberdeen and became famous for planning the new town of Edinburgh. The original building consisted of the present nave minus the roof decorations. There were galleries all the way round, and at the east end a small apse with an altar on it. In 1880 the choir and chancel were added to the design of GE Street. It was shorter than the present chancel but contained some of the present choir stalls.
In the 1920s plans were drawn up for a new Cathedral on Broad Street opposite the Marischal College. Sir Ninian Comper, whose father had been an Episcopal priest in Aberdeen, was to be the architect. The opening of the new cathedral would have coincided with the 150th anniversary of the Consecration of Samuel Seabury, first Bishop of America. It was to be the American Church memorial and thanksgiving for this important event in its history. In 1929 the Bishop and Provost crossed the Atlantic to help raise funds for this ambitious project, with Comper’s grand design. The project could not be realised as the efforts of the joint team was to be greeted with news of the Wall Street Crash.
Instead of a new Cathedral, it was decided to extend and beautify the existing church. Work began on the extension to the east end in 1938 but was not completed until after the war when the father of President JF Kennedy, who was American Ambassador to the Court of St James, laid the Foundation stone. The Seabury memorial was dedicated in 1948.