Four centuries of worship and community

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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 in January 2020, 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 few weeks between then and the social restrictions required due to the arrival of COVID 19, which has brought so changes to our lives.

Whilst many of our events will not now take place this year, 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 anniversary is on Christmas Day 2020, we are hopeful we will still be able to mark this special occasion, in some appropriate way. The January 2020 brochure will remain online to browse, to see what we hope to achieve, and we hope to bring many of these or similar events in due course when it is safe to do so.

Meantime, we focus on continuing community, providing a space for comfort, strength and continuing support in the various ways made available through technology and support provided safely. You can find the Kirk’s online activities and more to enjoy on our online worship and community hub.

The Kirk’s neighbour and partner, the Grassmarket Community Project also continues to provide support and services to many of Edinburgh’s most vulnerable citizens at this time, find out more here: If you would like to become a member of the Grassmarket Community Project please contact the team 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