Kirking of the Fifth Session of the Scottish Parliament


The Kirking of the Fifth Session of the Scottish Parliament takes place on Wednesday 11 May in St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh.  His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay will be joined by newly elected MSPs, representatives from organisations across Scotland, the diplomatic corps, Scotland’s faiths and other guests.

The Reverend Calum MacLeod, Minister of St Giles’ Cathedral will lead the evening service. 

Guests will be greeted by music played by a quartet from the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland.  Music during the service will be performed by Becky Hill (Clarsach) and Charlie Stewart (fiddle) from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. 

The service includes:

  • A reading by the Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon Tricia Marwick (St Mark 12: 13-17)
  • A performance by the Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral
  • Interfaith blessings from representatives of a range of faith and humanist communities
  • A sermon by The Right Reverend Dr Angus Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
  • The Act of Commendation

The service concludes with the hymn ‘Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise’.  After the service, His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay will meet party leaders, before attending the Presiding Officer’s reception in Parliament Hall.

Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said:

“It is an honour to take part in a tradition as historic as the Kirking of the Scottish Parliament, a ceremony which was resumed when Parliament reconvened in 1999.

“It will be my pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay as we enjoy a modern service alongside our MSPs and representatives of many faiths.”  

Background on St Giles’ Cathedral

St Giles’ Cathedral is the historic City Church of Edinburgh with its famed crown spire on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  Also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, it is Presbyterianism’s Mother Church and contains the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland’s chivalric company of knights headed by The Queen).

Background on National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland

The National Youth Orchestras of Scotland (NYOS) provides music education and performance experience for young musicians throughout Scotland. Running six national youth ensembles, including NYJOS, the NYOS organises training, intensive rehearsals and national and international concert tours. NYOS is committed to introducing musical experiences to all of Scotland’s young people through workshops in Scotland’s nursery, primary and secondary schools.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, formerly the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, is a conservatoire of dance, drama, music, production and screen in the centre of Glasgow.  Founded in 1845 as the Glasgow Educational Association, it is the busiest performing arts venue in Scotland with over 500 public performances each year.

Becky Hill and Charlie Stewart are traditional musicians based in Glasgow and studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  As well as Scottish harp (Clarsach) Becky studies piano with James Ross.  Charlie studies Jazz Bass at the RCS.  He regularly performs with bands such as 'Dosca', 'Levack Stewart Irving' and 'Sketch.

The Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral

The Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral is an adult choir of 30 singers drawn from a wide variety of walks of life from the City of Edinburgh and further afield.  Their main task is the singing of the two Sunday morning choral services, the 10 o’clock Holy Communion and the 11.30 Morning Service, under the direction of The Master of the Music, Michael Harris.  In addition to this they sing on many special civic and national occasions, such as the Installations of the Order of the Thistle.

By tradition the Kirking of the Parliament takes place on the eve of the first sitting of the new parliamentary session.

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