A Brief History of the Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland is the country's national church and is also commonly known as the Kirk. The Church is classified as Protestant and Presbyterian. The history of the Church of Scotland can be traced back to the beginnings of Christianity in the country but its true origin was shaped by the reformation of 1560. The Church of Scotland was founded by John Knox, a Scottish theologian, clergyman, and writer.

1560 – The Church of Scotland was principally shaped when many at the church in Scotland broke from Rome during the Scottish Reformation of 1560. The Church of Scotland was officially founded by John Knox.

1572 – The acts of 1560, including the Reformation Settlement, were finally approved by King James VI, the young son of Queen Mary who had formerly refused the Settlement.

1592 – The Golden Act of 1592 was passed and gave parliamentary approval to the Presbyterian courts.

1637 – At St. Giles Cathedral, a Prayer Book was introduced that was based on the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. The Book caused widespread rioting across the country.

1638 – The rioting led to a large number of Scots signing the National Covenant, which protested the Prayer Book and other innovations that had not been approved. Later in the year, the General Assembly met and declared the Prayer Book unlawful. The General Assembly also abolished the office of the bishop and the Church of Scotland was established as Presbyterian.

1639 – The Bishops' Wars broke out when King Charles I attempted to resist the developments in the Church of Scotland.

1661 – Robert Leighton was appointed as the Bishop of Dunblane by King Charles II.

1670 – Robert Leighton was appointed as the Archbishop of Glasgow by King Charles II.

1690 – The Solemn League and Covenant and the National Covenant chose not the join the Church of Scotland, and instead formed the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

1711 – The Church Patronage Act of 1711 was passed and gave patrons, or landowners the right to appoint ministers, leading to several splits in the Church.

1733 – The First Succession took place and entailed an exodus of members and ministers of the Church of Scotland. The seceders formed the Associate Presbytery and later went on the form the United Secession Church.

1843 – The Disruption of 1843 occurred when a large portion of the Church decided to break away and create the Free Church of Scotland.

1921 – The Church of Scotland Act was passed. The Act recognised the Church's full independence in spiritual matters.

1925 – The Church of Scotland Act 1921 was passed.

1929 – The Church of Scotland was able to unite with the Free Church of Scotland.

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