Glasgow Photo Library
- St Andrew's Cathedral

St Andrew's Cathedral


After many years of persecution in Scotland after the Reformation of the 16th century, the number of Catholics in the country, particularly in Glasgow, increased at the end of the 18th century as a result of an influx from Ireland as well as from the Scottish Highlands. A parish priest for Glasgow was reappointed in 1792, but by 1814 the number of recorded communicants had increased to 3,000 and the decision was taken to build a new church in Clyde Street, overlooking the river and a pedestrian walkway along its banks. The building is the base for the Archbishop of Glasgow. There is no steeple or bell tower mainly due to restrictions on the prominence of Catholic places of worship under an Act of 1791 which was not repealed until later in the century. Glasgow Cathedral, the former Roman Catholic Cathedral, is the current Presbyterian High Kirk of Glasgow.

The Mother Church of Scots Catholicism is St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh and the most senior Catholic in Scotland is the Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. This is because this is the primatial see in the country, as it was before the Reformation. After the re-establishment of the Scots hierarchy, it was the first to be set up again.

The original church of St. Andrew was later raised to the status of pro-Cathedral and in 1947, with the establishment of the new Dioceses of Motherwell and Paisley, the Archdiocese of Glasgow became a Metropolitan Diocese. St. Andrew's then became a Metropolitan Cathedral. In 2002 Mario Joseph Conti became the Metropolitan Archbishop of Glasgow. His crest (from the front wall of the building) is shown in the graphic on the right.

St Andrew's was originally built at a cost of just 16,000 and was the first major piece of Gothic revivalism in Glasgow. In architectural terms, the cathedral has traceried octagonal towers which flank the large window which overlooks the river. At the apex of the building is a niche containing a statue of St Andrew.

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