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Greyfriars Convent


The first Priest to settle in Elgin after the Reformation was John Farquharson, a native of Strathavon, who was educated at the Scalan in Glenlivet, and in Rome.

A property was purchased near to the old Academy and this served as Church and Presbytery for many years.

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The present Church of St. Sylvester, which is situated in Institution Road, dates from 1843, and its existance is owed to the enterprise and energy of Father John Forbes, who came to Elgin in 1827, and remained there until his death in 1856.

During the period from 1837 to 1840, Father John travelled throughout Scotland, England, Ireland, and in Europe, in search of funds to build a new Church in Elgin. It was during these travels that he was to receive generous financial help from a Benedictine monk, a Scot, by the name of Dom. Sylvester.

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In 1843 the construction of the new Church which was designed by Thomas Mackenzie, commenced in 1843 and it was opened with great solemnity on the 25th of September 1844, one year before Dom. Sylvester’s death.

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The Church was dedicated to St.Sylvester, who was his Patron Saint, a Benedictine Abbot, who founded the Congregation which bears his name, and whose feast is on the 26th November.

The Coat of Arms displayed on the wall to the left of the entrance, is that of Dom. Sylvester’s family.

In 1967, following Vatican 11, the Church of St. Sylvester, was entirely renovated, to meet the needs of the revised liturgy.


(a brief outline of his life)

On the 18th of July 1845, Dom. Sylvester Thomas Drummond Stewart was murdered in Ancona, Italy, during the uprisings against the Temporal power of the Papacy.

Thomas Stewart was born in 1802, the third son of Sir George Drummond Stewart, and he became a Catholic while he was studying at Oxford.

He went to Italy and joined the Benedictine Order of monks in Palermo, and was ordained a Priest. He was a distinguished student, and was the author of a number of poems and essays on philosophy. His health had been poor for some time and he had been planning to return to Scotland, and it was thought he might possibly settle in Elgin. He had many friends and his tragic death was a great shock.

After his death, his body was taken back to Scotland for burial, by his brother, Sir William Drummond Stewart, in Perthshire.

Requim Mass was offered on 16th December in the Gothic revival Chapel at Murthly Castle, at which the Rt. Rev. Drs. Kyle and Gillis and several of the Clergy


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St. Sylvester’s Church. Times of Mass:

Saturday Vigil 6.00 pm

SundayMass 1l.lSam

Resident Priest Rev. A. M. Doyle


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