The Bishop of Aberdeen (originally Bishop of Mortlach, in Latin Murthlacum) was the ecclesiastical head of the Diocese of Aberdeen, one of Scotland's 13 medieval bishoprics, whose first recorded bishop is an early 12th-century cleric named Nechtan. It appears that the episcopal seat had previously been at Mortlach (Mòrthlach), but was moved to Aberdeen during the reign of King David I of Scotland. The names of three bishops of Mortlach are known, the latter two of whom, "Donercius" and "Cormauch" (Cormac), by name only. The Bishop of Aberdeen broke communion with the Roman Catholic Church after the Scottish Reformation. Following the Revolution of 1688, the office was abolished in the Church of Scotland, but continued in the Scottish Episcopal Church. A Roman Catholic diocese was recreated in Aberdeen in 1878.
List of known bishops of Mortlach
|Bishops of Mortlach|
|fl. 1012||Beóán of Mortlach||One of the three known bishops of Mortlach. Known for other sources.|
|c. 1000s (decade)||"Donercius"||One of the three known bishops of Mortlach. Nothing more is known.|
|c. 1000s (decade)||Cormac of Mortlach||One of the three known bishops of Mortlach. Nothing more is known.|
|fl. 1131/2||Nechtan of Aberdeen||Transferred the see to Aberdeen in April 1132|
List of known bishops of Aberdeen
The Bishopric of Aberdeen, as the Bishopric of Aberdeen, appears to date from the 1130s, as does the list of known bishops.
|Pre-Reformation Bishops of Aberdeen|
|fl. 1131/2||Nechtan of Aberdeen||Transferred the see from Mortlach in April 1132.|
|fl. 1147/51-1171||Edward of Aberdeen|
|1199||1207||John of Kelso|
|1207||1228||Adam de Kald|
|1228||1229||Matthew the Scot (bishop-elect)||Matthew or Mata had been the chancellor of William the Lion, King of Scots. He was postulated to the see of Aberdeen, before in turn being postulated to the higher ranking see of Dunkeld. At any rate, he died before consecration. His name indicates that he was a Gael, but we do not know anything else about his background.|
|1228||1239||Gilbert de Stirling|
|1239||1247||Radulf de Lamley|
|1247||1256||Peter de Ramsay|
|1256||1270/2||Richard de Potton|
|1272||1281/2||Hugh de Benin|
|1282||1328||Henry le Chen|
|1329||Walter Herok (bishop-elect)||He died at Avignon, perhaps before being consecrated.|
|1329||1343/4||Alexander de Kininmund (I.)|
|1344||1350||William de Deyn|
|1350||1354/5||John de Rait|
|1355||1380||Alexander de Kininmund (II.)|
|1380||Simon de Ketenis (bishop-elect)||Elected by chapter sometime after 31 August, but was provided instead as Dean of Aberdeen on 18 November 1380.|
|1380||1389||Adam de Tyninghame|
|1389||1421||Gilbert de Greenlaw|
|1422||1440||Henry de Lichton||Translated from Moray.|
|1458||1480||Thomas Spens||Translated from Galloway.|
|1480||1483||Robert Blackadder (bishop-elect)||Translated to Galloway.|
|1483||1514||William Elphinstone||Translated from Ross; he is one of the greatest of all medieval Scottish bishops, and is remembered today for, among other things, founding the University of Aberdeen.|
|bef. 1515||1516||Robert Forman||Provided by Pope, but resigned without ever possessing.|
|1529||1531||George Learmond (coadjutor bishop only)||Learmond had been appointed Dunbar's successor in 1529, but he died before Dunbar did.|
|1545||1577||William Gordon||Because of the Scottish Reformation of 1560, he was the last bishop owing allegiance to Rome.|
Church of Scotland succession
|Church of Scotland Bishops of Aberdeen|
|1616||1617||Alexander Forbes||Translated from Caithness.|
|1635||1638||Adam Bellenden||Translated from Dunblane; died in 1648.|
|1638||1662||Bishops were abolished in Scotland during the Interregnum.|
|1663||1664||Alexander Burnet||Translated to Glasgow.|
|1682||1689||George Haliburton||Deprived of the temporalities when episcopacy was permanently abolished in the Church of Scotland in 1689. Continued as a nonjuring bishop in the Scottish Episcopal Church.|
Scottish Episcopal Church succession
|Scottish Episcopal Church Bishops of Aberdeen|
|1689||1715||George Haliburton||After the Glorious Revolution, he continued as a nonjuring bishop|
|1733||1746||William Dunbar||Translated from Moray.|
|1768||1786||Robert Kilgour||Also Primus (1778–1788); resigned.|
|1786||1816||John Skinner||Also Primus (1788–1816).|
|1816||1857||William Skinner||Also Primus (1841–1857); son of the preceding.|
|1857||1864||Thomas Suther||Became Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney|
Restored Roman Catholic succession
(Any dates appearing in italics indicate de facto continuation of office. The start date of tenure below is the date of appointment or succession. Where known, the date of installation and ordination as bishop are listed in the notes together with the post held prior to appointment.)
The modern Bishop of Aberdeen is the Ordinary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Aberdeen in the Province of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. The diocese covers 29,068 km². The see is in the City of Aberdeen where the seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption. The Apostolic Vicariate of the Northern District (formerly the Apostolic Vicariate of the Highland District) was elevated to diocese status on 4 March 1878. The current bishop is the Right Reverend Hugh Gilbert, 11th Bishop of Aberdeen.
|Vicars Apostolic of the Highland District|
|16 September 1727||19 September 1727||Father Alexander John Grant||Died in office.|
|12 February 1731||12 March 1773||Bishop Hugh MacDonald||Priest; died in office.|
|12 March 1773||9 May 1779||Bishop John MacDonald||Previously coadjutor Vicar Apostolic; died in office.|
|30 September 1779||9 September 1791||Bishop Alexander MacDonald||Priest; died in office.|
|8 November 1791||8 July 1814||Bishop John Chisholm||Priest; died in office.|
|8 July 1814||31 July 1818||Bishop Aeneas Chisholm||Previously coadjutor Vicar Apostolic; died in office.|
|27 August 1819||13 February 1827||Bishop Ranald MacDonald||Became Vicar Apostolic of the Western District.|
|Vicars Apostolic of the Northern District|
|13 February 1827||23 February 1869||Bishop James Kyle||Priest; died in office|
|23 February 1869||15 March 1878||Bishop John MacDonald||Previously coadjutor Vicar Apostolic; became Bishop of Aberdeen.|
|Roman Catholic Bishops of Aberdeen|
|15 March 1878||4 February 1889||John MacDonald||Previously Vicar Apostolic of the Northern District; died in office.|
|16 July 1889||26 September 1889||Colin Grant||Priest; ordained 13 August 1889; died in office.|
|14 August 1890||29 May 1898||Hugh MacDonald CSSR||Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer; ordained 23 October 1890; died in office.|
|7 January 1899||13 January 1918||Aeneas Chisholm||Priest; ordained 24 February 1899; died in office.|
|18 June 1918||25 December 1946||George Bennett||Priest; ordained 1 August 1918; died in office.|
|2 August 1947||5 July 1950||John Matheson||Priest; ordained 24 September 1947; died in office.|
|20 June 1951||22 July 1963||Francis Walsh MAfr||Priest of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) ; ordained 12 September 1951; resigned.|
|8 December 1964||28 May 1976||Michael Foylan||Priest; ordained 25 March 1965; died in office.|
|28 February 1977||15 January 2002||Mario Conti||Priest of Aberdeen; ordained 3 May 1977; translated to Glasgow.|
|13 October 2003||4 June 2011||Peter Moran||Priest of Aberdeen; ordained 1 December 2003; resigned 4 June 2011.|
|4 June 2011||present||Hugh Gilbert OSB||Abbot of Pluscarden (1992-2011); appointed 4 June 2011; ordained 15 August 2011.|
- "Historical successions: Aberdeen". Crockford's Clerical Directory. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- Dowden 1912, The Bishops of Scotland, pp. 97–98.
- Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, p. 317.
- Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, pp. 301–302.
- Dowden 1912, The Bishops of Scotland, pp. 98–143.
- Fryde et al. 1986, Handbook of British Chronology, pp. 302–303.
- Scott 1928, Fasti Ecclesae Scoticanae, volume 7, pp. 392–402.
- Scott 1928, Fasti Ecclesae Scoticanae, volume 7, pp. 402–411.
- "Diocese of Aberdeen". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- Dowden, John (1912). Thomson, J. Maitland (ed.). The Bishops of Scotland. Glasgow: James Maclehose and Son.
- Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I., eds. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd, reprinted 2003 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
- Scott, Hew (1928). Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae. Volume 7 (New ed.). Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.
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