Open main menu

Diocese of Argyll and The Isles (Episcopal)

The Diocese of Argyll and The Isles is in the west of Scotland, and is one of the seven dioceses of the Scottish Episcopal Church. It is perhaps the largest of the dioceses, but has the smallest number of church members. As a united diocese, Argyll and The Isles has two cathedrals: St John's in Oban and the Cathedral of The Isles in Millport, Isle of Cumbrae.

Diocese of Argyll and The Isles

Dioecesis Ergadiensis et Insularum

Sgìre Easbaig Earra-Ghàidheal is nan Eilean
Ecclesiastical provinceScotland
CathedralSt John's Cathedral, Oban and the Cathedral of The Isles
Current leadership
BishopKevin Pearson, Bishop of Argyll and The Isles
Map showing Argyll Diocese as a coloured area covering the west coast of Scotland including the Hebrides
Map showing Argyll & the Isles Diocese within Scotland

The Diocese of the Isles, by itself, was founded by Patrick in 900, and the Diocese of Argyll was founded by Bishop Harald in 1193. During the Scottish Reformation, most of the heritage and jurisdiction of the church was given to the Church of Scotland. However, the small Scottish Episcopal Church claims to have maintained the line of bishops of both dioceses through to the present day. In the seventeenth century, the Diocese of the Isles was united with the dioceses of Caithness and Orkney, and, in 1819, was separated from them to unite with the Diocese of Argyll. In 1878, the Roman Catholic Church created a Diocese of Argyll and the Isles. The diocese is responsible for the only two Episcopalian retreat houses in Scotland (Bishop's House Iona and the College of the Holy Spirit at the Cathedral of The Isles). The Right Reverend Martin Shaw retired in 2009. His successor, Kevin Pearson, was elected at an Episcopal Synod held at the Cathedral of The Isles on 6 October 2010,[1] and was consecrated and installed in Oban at Candlemas 2011 (4 February 2011).[2]

The Diocese of Argyll and The Isles is twinned with the Anglican Diocese of Zanzibar (Anglican Church of Tanzania) and the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware (Episcopal Church in the United States of America).

Area and populationEdit

The diocese covers the historic counties of Argyllshire (population 60,000) and Buteshire (population 12,500), the Hebridean parts of Inverness-shire and Ross and Cromarty (population 38,000), and the Lochaber area of Inverness-shire (population 16,500). This total population of approximately 127,000 makes it the smallest British Anglican diocese by population apart from the Diocese of Sodor and Man. It gives the diocese a ratio of one priest to every 18,100 inhabitants and one church to every 3,850 inhabitants.

Deans of the dioceseEdit


On 24 November 2017 the congregation of Christ Church, Harris, a Scottish Episcopal church in the Western Isles, announced that they could no longer remain under the oversight of their local bishop, Kevin Pearson, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, owing to his support of the SEC's approval of same-sex marriage. They would instead be receiving the episcopal ministry of Andy Lines, the Missionary Bishop to Europe of the Anglican Church in North America.[3][4] Daniel Davies, the priest-in-charge of Christ Church, resigned his SEC position on 22 January 2018.[5]


The diocese currently has 7 stipendiary clergy (including the Bishop who is also the Provost of Cumbrae Cathedral) and 33 active churches.

Benefice Churches Link Founded (building) Stipendiary clergy
Stornoway (St Peter)[6] St Peter, Stornoway [1] C18th (1838) 0
Eoropaidh (St Moluag)[7] St Moluag, Eoropaidh 1912 (Medieval)
Harris, Isle of (Christ Church)[8] Christ Church, Harris 1973 (1999) 0 (see above)
No benefice St Brendan the Navigator, North Uist 0
Holy Cross, North Uist 0
Portree (St Columba)[9] St Columba, Portree 1884 1
St Michael & All Angels, Raasay
St Mary, Kilmore, Sleat
Kinlochmoidart (St Finian)[10] St Finan, Kinlochmoidart 1858 0
Strontian[11] St Mary, Strontian 1875
Fort William (St Andrew) St Andrew, Fort William 1817 (1880) 1
West Highland Region[12] St Columba, Gruline [2] 1873 1
St John, Ballachulish C18th (1842)
St Adamnan, Duror 1846
St Mary, Glencoe C18th (1880)
St Moluag, Kentallen 1868
St Paul, Kinlochleven 1908 (1954)
St Bride, Onich 1874
Holy Cross, Portnacroish 1809
Lochbuie (St Kilda)[13] St Kilda, Lochbuie (Mull) 1876 0
Iona (St Columba)[14] St Columba's Chapel, Bishop's House, Iona 1894 0
Argyll Cathedra[15][16] Cathedral of St John the Divine, Oban [3] 1846 (1910) 1
Kilbrandon Congregation (Seil)
Ardbrecknish (St James)[17] St James, Ardbrecknish 1892
Islay (St Columba)[18] St Columba, Bridgend (Islay) 1888 0
Campbeltown (St Kiaran)[19] St Kiaran, Campbeltown 1848
Arran, Isle Of[20] St Margaret of Scotland, Arran 1902 1
Inveraray (All Saints)[21] All Saints, Inveraray [4] C19th (1886)
Kilmartin (St Columba)[22] St Columba, Kilmartin 1854
Lochgilphead (Christ Church)[23] Christ Church, Lochgilphead 1842 (1851)
Dunoon (Holy Trinity)[24] Holy Trinity, Dunoon [5] 1846 (1850) 1
Rothesay (St Paul)[25] St Paul, Rothesay [6] c. 1830 (1854)
Isles Cathedra[26] Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Cumbrae [7] 1849 1

Closed churches in the diocese areaEdit

Church Location Building Closed Ref
St Columba, Tighnabruaich Tighnabruaich c. 2011 [27]
Holy Spirit, Ardchattan Ardchattan 1886 2008 [28]


  1. ^ "New Bishop elected for Argyll and The Isles". Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Diocesan Newsletter for Argyll and The Isles" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Christ Church, Harris Accepts Oversight From Bishop Andy Lines". Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Law and religion round-up – 26th November | Law & Religion UK". Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Notices - The Scottish Episcopal Church". The Scottish Episcopal Church. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  6. ^ "The Benefice of Stornoway (St Peter)". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  7. ^ "The Benefice of Eoropaidh (St Moluag)". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  8. ^ "The Benefice of Harris, Isle of (Christ Church)". Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  9. ^ "The Benefice of Portree (St Columba)". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  10. ^ "The Benefice of Kinlochmoidart (St Finian)". Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  11. ^ "The Benefice of Strontian". Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  12. ^ "The Benefice of West Highland Region". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  13. ^ "The Benefice of Lochbuie (St Kilda)". Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  14. ^ "The Benefice of Iona (St Columba)". Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Argyll and the Isles Cathedral". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  16. ^ "The Benefice of Oban (Cathedral of St John)". Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  17. ^ "The Benefice of Ardbrecknish (St James)". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  18. ^ "The Benefice of Islay (St Columba)". Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  19. ^ "The Benefice of Campbeltown (St Kiaran)". Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  20. ^ "The Benefice of Arran, Isle Of". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  21. ^ "The Benefice of Inveraray (All Saints)". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  22. ^ "The Benefice of Kilmartin (St Columba)". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  23. ^ "The Benefice of Lochgilphead (Christ Church)". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  24. ^ "The Benefice of Dunoon (Holy Trinity)". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  25. ^ "The Benefice of Rothesay (St Paul)". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  26. ^ "The Benefice of Cumbrae (Cathedral of the Isles and Collegiate Church of the Holy Spirit)". Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  27. ^ "The Benefice of Tighnabruaich". Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  28. ^