St. Andrew's Cathedral, King Street, Aberdeen is one of the hidden architectural gems of Scotland (and indeed the UK). Sadly, too many don't realise the cathedral is there. Although not huge when compared to other cathedrals, what it lacks in size it makes up for in its sheer beauty.
The cathedral is long and narrow, beautifully white inside, with an heraldic ceiling in the north and south aisles, and in the Quire and Sanctuary. The visitor's eyes are drawn up the Nave to the beautiful East window and gilded baldacchino (canopy) over the High Altar.
St Andrew's Cathedral has an important place in the US Episcopalian heritage: Rev Samuel Seabury was ordained the USA's first anglican bishop in Aberdeen on 14th November, 1784. The present cathedral was enlarged and beautified by Aberdonian architect, Sir Ninian Comper in commemoration of that event.
St Andrew's Cathedral boasts a splendid musical heritage and currently maintains five choirs - including a traditional choir of Boys and Men (now the only Scottish cathedral to do so) who sing at four choral services each week. The cathedral also houses one of Scotland's finest pipe organs, presided over by the Cathedral's Organist and Master of the Choristers (of thirty years) Prof. Andrew Morrisson.
The Cathedral has a warm acoustic and hosts many concerts in the year. It is a bright, spacious and friendly building, well worth visiting.
However, the Cathedral - like many other places of worship - is showing signs of is age, and clearly needs restoration in many areas of the fabric. There is an extensive restoration and redevelopment plan.
St Andrew's Cathedral Aberdeen has much to offer the visitor: beautiful architecture, splendid music and liturgy, a good shop in the North West corner, a warm welcome: but most of all peace and tranquility just metres from one of this fine city's busiest roads.
I was privileged to be a boy Chorister here over thirty years ago. I have not visited for twenty years or so; but pushing open the West Doors and seeing the wonderful building stretching before me, made my heart leap at its beauty and simplicity. If you are in Aberdeen, please do go and this true gem - you will not be disappointed!
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