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About Us


Welcome to the Diocese of the British Isles. We are a group of Orthodox faithful, who seek to live out the fullness of our Faith in Christ using the worship and patterns of our forebears.

Centred around the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Ninian in Scotland,  we are a small but fast growing group. Many of us are spread out across the UK, but we come together to worship as often as we can at regular services. We are also the custodians of Botel Abbey, and the Orthodox Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Scotland.

We are always welcoming of anybody who want’s to join us for services, or to know more. Please do get in contact with us at

About our Diocese
Our Administration

Our Administration

The Diocese of the British Isles is an Old Calendar jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church.

Today we are known predominantly as a Western Rite diocese under ISTOC, the largest of the two major international Old Calendarist unions with over 250,000 faithful. ISTOC (International Synaxis of True Orthodox Churches) is comprised of five synods of bishops from around the world, who all meet as equal and autonomous members of the union.

As Old Calendarists, we are deeply committed to ecclesiastical unity, and work hard to try and bring about a new Ecumenical Council which we hope will heal the terrible rifts that the Church is experiencing today.



Our Bishopric and Diocesan Headquarters

The Diocese of the British Isles is the Metropolia's diocese covering England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, with headquarters in Dumfries, and missions in London, and Northern Ireland. Today the diocese is administered by the Holy Synod of the Metropolia and its First Hierarch Metropolitan John. Day to day, it is overseen by Bishop James of Whithorn, Dumfries, and the Marches, who was recently affirmed by the Holy Synod as Ruling Bishop of the Diocese of the British Isles. Bishop James lives and works at the Territorial Abbey of Saints Alban and Aethelwold, normally referred to as Botel Abbey, in Kirkcudbrightshire. The Abbey is located in an historic medieval castle set among the beautiful rolling hills of the Stewartey of Kirkcudbright. It houses a shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, and is especially notable for its significant lipsanotheca of relics, including relics of the Holy Cross, Our Lady, the Apostles and Evangelists, St Alban and St Walburga. The Abbey serves as a spiritual centre for the Diocese and a residential venue for seminary studies.


We are currently in the process of renovating our Cathedral, located in Dumfries, Scotland, which we have recently acquired and dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Ninian. The Cathedral is notable for housing important relics of St Machutus. Today it is developing as a centre of pilgrimage, and the primary location where our community come together for our most important services.

We are very pleased that the Diocese is becoming well known for it’s academic work on the Use of Sarum and it’s extensive theological library. We are more than happy for people to come and use the library, but we would ask that you contact us first to book an appointment.

Our Bishop and Our Abbey
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