Church in Scotland
Medieval Church By the 6th century Christianity had a strong
foothold in Scotland. The Church became a powerful political
force and affected the daily lives of everyone. Scotland was
part of Christendom, presided over by the Church of Rome, a
far-reaching international organization. The Church touched
every person and every place in Scotland. Its priests and personnel
were seen as essential links with God. We do not know exactly
when Christianity reached Scotland. A British bishop called
Ninian, 'that reverend and saintly man', was based at Whithorn
in Wigtownshire in the second half of the 5th century. Further
north Irish missionaries, particularly Columba in Argyll from
563, spread the word.
and Columba were sanctified. Traditions and relics kept alive
the memory of early Scottish saints. These were linked with Scottish
church's Irish and Celtic beginnings, and gave the medieval church
in Scotland a character all its own. These traditions survived
long after the Celtic influence on the Church had subsided. This
is highlighted by the cult of St Fillan.
crozier, a pastoral staff modelled on a shepherd's crook, became
a symbol of Christianity. This crozier drop, the front part of
the crozier head, was found in 1993 near the shore of Loch Shiel,
in Moidart, near St Finan's Isle. Like Columba, St Finan came
from Ireland, possibly in the 7th century. The style of the crozier
drop suggests it was made in the 12th century.
the 9th century the cult of St Andrew had joined that of St Columba
as an influential force in Scotland. The cult soon became well
established, and many people went on pilgrimages to St Andrews,
its centre. Another Scottish saint, Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm
III, started the free ferry across the Firth of Forth to carry
pilgrims to St Andrews. Pilgrims also sailed from North Berwick.
Badges signified that the wearers had visited a place of pilgrimage.
belief was that the relics of St Andrew, one of the apostles,
had been brought by St Rule to the place now known as St Andrews.
St Andrew gradually replaced St Columba as Scotland's patron saint,
and his cross, the saltire, was adopted as a national emblem.
Pilgrimage was important in medieval religious life. Churches
associated with saints and their relics became centres of pilgrimage.
St Andrews was visited not only by Scots but also by pilgrims
from England and continental Europe.
Among other centres were those of St Margaret in Dunfermline,
St Kentigern in Glasgow, St Ninian in Whithorn and St Duthac
in Tain. Scots made pilgrimages overseas, especially to Rome,
the Holy Land and the shrine of St James at Compostela in Spain.
Like travellers everywhere, pilgrims acquired objects linked
with their travels, including badges and items of personal devotion.
Pope, based in Rome, was the head of the Church. Documents came
from Rome with directives and information for the Scottish Church.
Seals are evidence of the paperwork involved in running a complex
organization. They were signs of the Church's huge authority,
combining the functions of signature and logo to show that documents
were key figures in the Church. Their concern for the spiritual
welfare of their people is symbolized by the crozier, modelled
on a shepherd's crook. The bishops' wide range of duties included
supervising the parish clergy. Bishops also had a political and
administrative role. Their importance was often reflected in objects
of some splendour.
the rest of Europe, Scotland was divided into bishoprics or
dioceses. A bishopric was divided into parishes, each with its
own church and priest. The role of the priest was pastoral,
looking after parishioners. The religious houses were located
throughout Scotland. These included monasteries, friaries, priories,
convents and nunneries, and were run separately, with life dedicated
To Church Of Scotland