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.
The congregation originally met in two other churches in the city centre before building their own church, on what is now a very busy junction of the city centre. From the outside, the pink granite is unusual in its surrounding buildings.
It appears to be small, but inside is a large, beautiful space. The foundation stone for the current St James was laid on 22nd July 1887 and its architect was Arthur Clyne. It was known as the 'English Church' as it was part of the Church of England until it joined the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1897. Unfortunately, this meant forfeiting a large legacy which put the church into grave financial difficulties and so the planned spire was never built. The church was consecrated in 1925 when the debts had finally been cleared.
Our patron saint is called ‘St James the Less’, a figure of early Christianity, although his identity is a mystery. One possibility is that he is James, the Lord's brother (also known as ‘James the Just’).
The rose window at the west end is the work of John M Aitken and was installed in 1904 and represents the virtues; charity, purity, humility, temperance, mercy, peace, hope, faith, and truth. Above the altar is the east window, installed in 1901, a masterpiece by Douglas Strachan. It shows Christ in glory, adored by angels, with Moses and Isaiah, and the four evangelists. The lancet window on the west wall of the chancel was erected in 1858 in the Crown Street Church and was transferred to the present St James in 1888. It is the oldest of the monuments in St James.
The organ was originally bought in 1884 (for £225) from Wadsworth and Co, organ builders in Manchester, and moved to St James from the Crown Street church.