Four centuries of worship and community

celebrate 400 logo

Events Postponed – Continuing Worship & Community in New Ways.

On Christmas Day 2020, Greyfriars Kirk will mark 400 years since first opening its door.

In the opening of our programme, published so recently, Rev Richard Frazer noted that, compared to the immensity of “Deep Time”, a phrase coined by Geologist James Hutton, 400 years is the mere blinking of an eye.

Even more fleeting the last few weeks that have brought such change to all of us, as we deal with this terrible pandemic and the huge impacts it will have on our health, loved ones and lives.

Whilst many of our events will not now take place, we hope to use this time to reach out in new and creative ways to continue the fellowship and community of our congregations, community and friends wherever we all are in the world.

We would love to hear from you – see below and find us on social media. 

As Greyfriars 400th year does not technically start until Christmas Day 2020, we are hopeful we can still celebrate this in time to come. The brochure will remain online to browse to see what we hope to achieve, and will be replaced in due course as plans are updated.

Meantime, we focus on being a place of refuge, strength and continuing support. A message from Greyfriars’ Rev Richard Frazer can be accessed here accessed here.


We hope to reschedule many of these events we describe in this brochure, at a time it is safe to welcome everyone once more.


“Compared to the immensity of ‘Deep Time’, a phrase coined by the Geologist James Hutton, one of the many Enlightenment figures associated with Greyfriars Kirk, 400 years is the mere blinking of an eye. That being said, these last 400 years have seen the world transformed more radically than any period during human history….”

Click here for our minister, Rev Richard Frazer’s thoughts on the Kirk’s momentous anniversary and an overview of what’s on.


Activities Throughout the Year

Wizards, poets, inventors and more… Greyfriars Kirk has a rich and wonderful collection of stories and history built up over four centuries as an active Kirk and community in the heart of Edinburgh. We look forward to welcoming you to enjoy the activities and events we have planned.

Click here for more information on visiting us, when we are open once more.

Meantime, please join in online, we’d love to hear from you:

We’d love to hear about your favourite hymns – songs you enjoy at special times, as part of your day to day life, to augment celebrations and help through difficult times. It will only take a minute and you can vote for more than one. Results will be published on our social media and form part of the Kirk’s celebrations later in the year.

Vote online by clicking here.



Upon reaching 400 years as a parish church at the centre of Scotland’s religious, cultural and civil life, we reflect on our unique historical inheritance and how we see ourselves as a continuing place and community today. The three major historic Statistical Accounts of Scotland provide an invaluable documentary picture of Scotland’s geography, people, and economy on a parish by parish basis. Our vision is to provide future generations with a unique snapshot of our times and the legacy we wish to leave for future centuries of worship, creativity, and outreach. Want to get involved? Contact Jamie & Gillian at 0131 225 1900.


Themes of “community”, “history” and “enlightenment” celebrate the past contribution and present community centred at Greyfriars Kirk, the Grassmarket Community Project and the Greyfriars Charteris Centre. A fourth theme, “vision” helps us be mindful of what we take forward to the next year, the next 100 years and more.

Whether you are a church-goer or not, live or work in Edinburgh, or are visiting for a short time, we would love to hear your hopes and suggestions, small and large, for the future evolution of the Kirk and community. Click here to help us by answering a couple of questions.


Part of our celebratory legacy will be a time capsule reaching out to Kirk’s community when it reaches its 500th year. If you have ideas on what should be included in this time capsule and would like to be involved, please contact Gillian (info below) and let her know. This will form part of a future visioning day, toward the end of the year.




If you are interested in any of the above activities featured or would like to explore other opportunities to join in and help our celebrations please get in touch!

Contact the Greyfriars 400 Co-Ordinator Gillian Couper at