Gaelic in the Church

The Gaelic language in the churches of the Western IslesGaelic Speakers Map

The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 received Royal Assent on the 1st June 2005. Enshrined in the Act is the aspiration that Gaelic should enjoy equal respect with the English language in Scotland.

The Diocese of Argyll and The Isles encompasses parts, or all, of the three District Councils initially chosen to spearhead the implementation of the Act – Argyll and Bute Council, The Highland Council and Western Isles Council. These Councils have all drawn up Language Plans to take forward this requirement.

Is Gaelic just for native speakers? 

No. Many people from all over Britain and abroad are interested in keeping the Gaelic language alive. The Scottish Episcopal Church is often labelled the “English Church”, because of the many English people who find a natural cultural home in it, and one of the most important contributors to Gaelic education was an Englishman, Edward Dwelly, (1864-1939). He was born in southern England, near Arundel and he became interested in Gaelic when he was stationed in Scotland with the British Army. He compiled a Gaelic Dictionary, published in 1911, which is still in use today. For his efforts, he was awarded a civil pension by King Edward VII. One of Scotland’s most loved Gaelic singers, George Clavey (1928-2003), began his musical development as a choirboy in St Peter’s Episcopal Church, Edinburgh. Although a learner, he became fluent in the language, winning the Mod Gold Medal in 1960

Can the Scottish Episcopal Church be part of helping to keep the language alive?
Yes. The repetitive nature of the Liturgy lends itself very well to learners using the language in that context.

Can Gaelic and English be used together in the Liturgy?

Yes. St Luke’s account of the Day of Pentecost reminds us that different languages can exist together quite comfortably in a state of spiritual recognition.

To hear of how Gaelic is progressing in the United Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness, follow this link (October 2013)


Commun Gàidhlig na h-Eaglaise Easbaigiche Albannaiche

The Gaelic Society of the Scottish Episcopal Church
June 2016 is a busy month for the Gaelic Society. Three Gaelic Services have been arranged in three of our Cathedrals in three different Dioceses.
During the Scottish Episcopal Church Synod in Edinburgh,  the Gaelic Society celebrates An Aifrionn Seinnte – a Choral Eucharist  in St Mary’s Cathedral to which all are invited. For further details, please see the Poster.   It is also an opportunity to hear the Choir, which enjoys an International reputation, singing in a beautiful setting in the Capital City and combining their musical skills with the Liturgy being said in an ancient Language.
A Bi-lingual Order of Service will be available to allow access for all attending.
Everyone loses if one language is lost because then a nation and culture lose their memory, and so does the complex tapestry from which the world is woven and which makes the world an exciting place. Former President of Iceland, Vigdis Finnbogadottir UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Languages
Comunn Gàidhlig na h-Eaglaise Easbaigiche Albannaiche Gaelic Society of the Scottish Episcopal Church
THURSDAY, 9th June 5.30 pm Choral Eucharist in Gaelic Colm Cille – St Columba with the CATHEDRAL CHOIR celebrated by Very Rev Dr A Emsley Nimmo Dean of Aberdeen & Orkney Hon Canon of Christ Church Cathedral Connecticut
St MARY’S CATHEDRAL EDINBURGH (Tram Service available to the Cathedral}
During the Summer months, it is our intention to reach out to the many tourists, who visit Inverness and the Highlands, while continuing to invite the local community to the Gaelic Eucharists, which are held bi-monthly in St Andrew’s Cathedral. The Cathedral enjoys a central and prime location beside the River Ness.
Teas are provided after the service for refreshment & an opportunity for conversation.

Ceud Mìle Fàilte One hundred thousand welcomes! JOIN US AND SHARE the joy of spoken and sung traditional Highland Gaelic worship Sunday 12thJune 17.30 Inverness Cathedral by the River Ness Celebrant: Rev Dr Iain Macritchie Service sheet in Gaelic and English After the Service, please join us for refreshments.
A Gaelic Mass will be held in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Aberdeen on 25th  June.   This special Service will celebrate St Moluag, who is credited with founding the Diocese of Aberdeen at Mortlach (Dufftown) in the late 6th Century. The Anthem for St Moluag, which was composed by Bill Brown to celebrate St Moluag and sung on the completion of the Dean of Aberdeen & Orkney’s Pilgrimage 2014, will be sung again by the excellent Cathedral Choir on 25th June with  “Sir Ninian Comper’s Greek high altar with its impressive baldachin offering a focal point” for the Service.