Celebration at Scotland’s 'Hidden Seminary'

Cardinal Keith O’Brien will celebrate an open air Mass in the Braes of Glenlivet on Tuesday 2 June on the site of Scotland’s 'Hidden Seminary' at Scalan.

Catholic historic association 'The Scalan Association' has recently purchased buildings and leased land from The Crown Estate at Glenlivet, which will allow for the protection and enhancement of the historic seminary and its surroundings at the Scalan in the Braes of Glenlivet on the Glenlivet Estate.

Know as 'the hidden seminary' because it was chosen as a remote location for the clandestine training of priests after the British Government’s moves to eradicate Catholicism from Scotland at the beginning of the 18th century, the seminary has long been a place of pilgrimage and attracts visitors from all over the world because of its importance to the Catholic church in Scotland.

The original turf building was raided by troops in 1726. A new building of lime and stone, erected in 1738, was burnt by Hanoverian troops after the battle of Culloden in 1746. The college was restored but a completely new building was built by Bishop Geddes in 1767, and this is still standing.

The Scalan Association has carried out renovations to the seminary building in recent years and has been keen to secure ownership of the cottage and management of the wider site to allow future improvements to be carried out.

Commenting on the development, Scalan Association President, Canon Brian Halloran said: “The Scalan Association is very pleased to acquire another of the buildings which formed part of the College, while the lease of the surrounding area has enabled us to fence and protect the site, these developments should help us to raise awareness of the Scalan as a centre of great religious significance in Scotland and to promote pilgrimage to the old seminary of Scalan.”

The Scalan Association was formed by three priests in 1948 to care for the seminary building, which was built in 1767. Scalan was named after the turf sheilings (Gaelic: sgalan) found in the Braes.

The College certainly provided training for 63 priests, and possibly up to 75 priests, between 1716 to 1799, and played a vital role in keeping the traditional Catholic faith alive in northern Scotland.

Bishop Peter Moran of Aberdeen will also concelebrate at the Mass, the sermon will be given by Canon Brian Halloran, the president of the Scalan Association.

Source: SCMO

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