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The Church Contents and furnishings

While waiting for the completion of the church preparations were under way for the furbishings and a great deal of thought and hard work went into this task. This is evident even today when one enters the church. The following list of contents makes very interesting reading.

In 1966 the Liturgical Commission in Rome, presided over by Cardinal Lercaro, enunciated the principle that we should be brave enough not to permit into our churches objects of cult unless they were capable of being signed by individual craftsmen; this principle we have followed in furnishing our church. Indeed many of the furnishings were made by members of the parish.

St Mary Magdalenes

The Altar

The altar was made by Maxwell Allan to a design of the architect Mr J McRoberts and is of green Westmorland slate on a plinth of Scottish granite. Its shape is that of many of the most primitive altars of the 4th and succeeding centuries in Rome and elsewhere.

These consisted, very often, of a slab of marble on top of a piece of a pillar from a pagan temple. Thus even the unholy works of paganism were made to serve the one true God.

This altar is the gift of an Edinburgh lady who would be embarrassed at being named. It weighs two and a half tons.

The Wrought Iron Candlesticks

Here and elsewhere in the building were designed and made by Alexander
MacKenzie of Magdalene.

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Iron Lectern

Beautifully made from Iron and Wood

The Candle Sconce

In the baptistry were similarly designed and made by Patrick Hoy of Magdalene.

The Candlen in the Sconce

The Candle in the sconce in the "Easter or Pascal" candle. It is the symbol of Christ, the Light of the World. By Him we are enlightened, the darkness of sin banished, we are Christened, incorporated into Himself, the Church.

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St Mary Magdalenes

A Kneeler in the Main Chapel

In the main church and in the weekday chapel as well as The Wooden Lecterns were made and presented to the parish by the boys of St. Anthony´s school.

The Massbook Cushions

The Massbook Cushions for the priest´s chair and the altar servers were designed
and made by Miss G. Forsyth of Portobello. They also carry the parish coat of arms.

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Priest´s Chair

The Priest´s Chair is the gift of Mrs Hawryluk of Magdalene.

The Altar Linen

The Altar Linen for both the church and the chapel was made and presented
by a family in the parish.

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The Altar Piece

This Pentocrator, or Christ in Majesty, was designed by Felix McCullough in mosaic and fibreglass on a green fibreglass cross devised by John Damer and Frank Dempsey of St. Andrew's School, Edinburgh.

The choice of this theme, which is to dominate the whole church, was dictated by the earliest practice of Christiandom, and is found in the most ancient churches of the Mediterranean area. It emphasises the fact that Christ is victor, and reigns triumphant in heaven as head of His new creation, the Church which is His Body.

It underlines that His passage from death to life. The Pascal Mystery is to be re-enacted in His member, i.e. in us.

The Stations of the Cross

The 30th day of December 1965. Praise to Thee, O Christ.

The Stations of The Cross, were executed by John Damer and Frank Dempsey
in fibreglass on which have been mounted olive wood crosses which the parish priest brought back from Jerusalem when he made the pilgrimage there in 1964. Their cost was defrayed by parishioners.

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St Mary Magdalenes

The Hymn Board

The Hymn Board is the work of Archibald Chisholm of Magdalene.

The Baptistry

The Font is made of the same materials as the altar, viz, slate and granite. The choice is no accident, as it is by Baptism we are brought to Life' by water and the Holy Spirit' and thus made capable of advancing from the tomb of the font to the banquet halls of the Risen Christ - the altar. By the water of Life we become fitted to receive the Bread of Life.

The font is a gift of the U.C.M and women of the parish and was made by Maxwell Allen. It is , in fact a ´fountain of living water´ this again is a return to the practice of the early Church, and in our own font the water actually flows through a stone brought back from the River Jordan.

Baptistry Floor

On the Floor of the Baptistry, there are two tiles, inset with many coloured stones... by which we can trace the the path of the Faith from the land of Christ to Scotland. These pebbles from the River Jordan where he began his public life of preaching and working miracles. There are stones from Bethany, the suburb of Jerusalem where he used to sojourn in the company of his friends, Lazarus, whom he raised from the dead, and his sisters, Martha and Mary (Magdalene?).

There are stones from the tomb of St. Peter in Rome where he went to his martyrdom by way of Antioch; from Catacombs of St. Callixtus in Rome, who was an early successor of St. Peter as Pope (3rd century); from the cave in Whithorn where the great St. Ninian lived before going to Rome to be consecrated as the first bishop in Scotland, in the 4th. century, and returning to become the apostle of the southern Picts. The little black stone is from Gartan in Dunegal, birthplace of St. Columba and the green stone from his island of Iona - his base in the 6th century for the conversion of the northern Picts.

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St Mary Magdalenes

The Madonna and Child, is the work of David Harding in ceramic mosaic in a style
reminiscent of the Byzantine. In this tradition the Infant Jesus is never depicted
as a helpless child, but as a miniature man.

"The image of the invisible father"
Our Lady is represented in her essential role of presenting her Son and Saviour
to the world he is redeeming. This was a gift of anonymous benefactor.

The Tabernacle

The Tabernacle in the main Church

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Porch (or Narthex)

In the Porch (or Narthex), which is intended for the exchanges of friendship, essential for Christians before approaching the altar of God, is the Holy Water Stoup, which is a reminder, as we bless ourselves before Mass, of our Baptism, by which we have access to the Father through Christ. In it, inscribed crosswise are the letters IXOUS or FISH.

This symbol was used by the early Christiansas an act of Faith and as a means of identifying themselves as believers in Christ, for the Greek letters mean. ´Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour´.

The Stained Glass

Gifted by the Parishoners of St Mary Magdalenes to commemorate the Silver Jubilee in 1986

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The Week Day Chapel

Altar of oak decorated with the parish coat of arms is really a Crusader cross depicting the five wounds of Christ and is a gift of a parishioner.

St Mary Magdalene Parish Coat of Arms

The Crusader Cross, as shown on the front of the altar, is a heraldic or Christian symbol consisting of a large Greek cross surrounded by four smaller Greek crosses , one in each quadrant. Crusader Cross is so named because it was on the papal banner given to the Crusaders on the First Crusade and became a symbol of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.

The four smaller crosses are said to symbolize either the four books of the Gospel or the four directions in which the Word of Christ spread from Jerusalem. Alternatively all five crosses can symbolize the five wounds of Christ during his Passion.

  Coat of Arms

The large Embroidery

The large Embroidery/Tapestry or rather ´Applique´ work behind the altar is the work of Mrs Frances Parker and three ladies who worked under her expert direction. Mrs T. Urquart, Mrs Sibbald and Miss G. Forsyth. The theme of the embroidery is the Incarnation, of which the Eucharist is the continuation.

There are six panels, three on each side of the Crucifix, which is a gift from St. Angela´s Convent, Portobello. On the left. The Annunciation, the Birth of our Saviour, His Baptism by John at the beginning of His Preaching. On the right. The Resurrection, Ascension, and descent of the Holy Spirit on Our Lady and the Apostles.

These panels present the whole Pascal Mystery to us and its beginning in us. We are taken up into this work of the Incarnation through the Eucharist. ´The Word was made flesh and pitched His tent among us´. The Latin for tent is "Tabernacle" A gift from the Little Sisters of the Poor, Gilmore Place, Edinburgh, the "Oak Cover" of which was made by Lindsay Thomson, "The Veil" by Mrs T. Urquhart.

To see these panels in detail Click Here

The Tabernacle in the Weekday Chapel

"The Word was made flesh and pitched His tent among us".
 The Latin for tent is Tabernacle. A gift from the Little Sisters of the Poor, Gilmore Place, Edinburgh. The Oak Cover of which was made by Lindsay Thomson, The Veil by Mrs T. Urquhart.

sanctuary Lamp

The Sanctuary Lamp

is a Mosque lamp from North Africa.

The Confessionals

The Confessionals are the work of Thomas Thornton of Magdalene.

St Mary Magdalenes

The Holy Water Stoup

The Holy Water Stoup at the entrance of the main chapel is the work of Harry Bain of Dalkeith Road and is made of Scottish marble, the brown from Carlops, the green from Newburgh in Fife.

The Processional Cross

The Processional Cross was made of fibreglass and is the work of Jan Boczarski.

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St Mary Magdalenes

The Wooden Statue of Mary Magdalene

Given to our Church by St Mary´s Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh

The Altar Linens

The Altar Linens are the gift of many convents in Edinburgh.

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

The Vestments

The Original Vestments were subscribed for by the children of St. John´s School and some were made by good friends in Musselburgh who also presented an organ
(Pictured newer vestments)

Beautiful Painting

Donated by the Wong Family from Hong Kong in 2007.
The Wong family visited St Mary Magdalenes Parish every year for many years. Unfortunately they were unable to continue their visits and on the last year they donated this beautiful picture, for which we are very grateful.

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St Mary Magdalenes

Wooden Lectern

Wooden Lectern in the Narthex

The Last Supper


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St Mary Magdalenes

The Main Lectern

Wooden Hymn Board

Wooden Hymn Board in the Day Chapel

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St Mary Magdalenes

The Holy Water Stoup

The Holy Water Stoup at the corridor outside the day chapel

A kneeler

A little kneeler in the Weekday Chapel

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St Mary Magdalenes

The Wooden Sculpture of Our Lady

The Wooden Sculpture of Our Lady in the Weekday Chapel

The Credence Table in th Weekday Chapel

Prayer Table in the Weekday Chapel, made and donated by the Pupils of St. Anthony´s School

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St Mary Magdalenes

The Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross in the Weekday Chapel

Our Lady Statue

Our Lady Statue in the Main Chapel

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St Mary Magdalenes

Wooden Statue of St Mary Magdalene

Wooden Statue of St Mary Magdalene in the Main Chapel

Ther Monstrance

A monstrance, also known as an ostensorium (or an ostensory), is the vessel used in Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, High Church Lutheran and Anglican churches for the more convenient exhibition of some object of piety, such as the consecrated Eucharistic host during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

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St Mary Magdalenes


A thurible (via Old French from Medieval Latin turibulum) is a metal censer suspended from chains, in which incense is burned during worship services. It is used in Christian churches including the Roman Catholic, Maronite Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic and Oriental Orthodox, as well as in some Lutheran, Old Catholic, United Methodist, Reformed, Presbyterian Church USA, Anglican churches (with its use almost universal amongst Anglo Catholic Anglican churches)

Alter Servers Cross and Holder

Alter Servers Cross is carried by the Alter Servers during processions
The Stand was made and donated by David Connelly

  St Mary Magdalenes
St Mary Magdalenes

Alter Candelabra

One of the two Alter Candelabras on the main alter

The Sacred Heart Statue

The Sacred Heart Statue Donated by the Juska Family

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St Mary Magdalenes

The Wooden Font

The Wooden Font in the Main Chapel

The Large Tapestries

The Large Tapestries in the Main Chapel

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