SAINT ANDREW’S CHURCH
The congregation in Fortrose has been in continuous existence since the Revolution of 1688. Between the years 1698 and 1700 a Meeting House was set up for Episcopalians in the Chanonry on what is believed to be the site of the present Church Hall.
In 1790 the feu of the land on the Fortrose Braehead was granted and the Gothic buttressed and pinnacled church was built in 1827 at a cost of £1100 and dedicated to St Andrew of Scotland.
Substantial alterations and improvements were made between 1888 and 1918, under the direction of architect Alexander Ross of Inverness, when the status of the church was raised to an Incumbency.
The High Altar
One interesting feature of the church, which was consecrated in 1909, is the carved wooden altar, with its reredos which features a carved relief of the Last Supper with St Paul on the right and St Moluag (the Bringer of the Gospel to Rosemarkie in the 6th Century) on the left..
The attractive rose window above the altar shows the Christ enthroned surrounded by six Angels. To the left of the altar is a window depicting the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love with the upper portion containing the Victorious Lamb surrounded by lilies of purity and Scottish thistles. And to the right, the Roman Centurion declaring his unworthiness to have our Lord enter his home. Above them is the Burning Bush…which burned but was never consumed…a symbol of our Eucharistic Lord who has been us with his Body and Blood, as he has countless millions throughout the ages…and yet is never consumed.
To the left of the altar is the veiled Aumbry containing the Blessed Sacrament of our Lord’s Body and Blood. To the right is the piscina and a case containing the three Holy Oils (of the Catechumens, of the Sick and the Sacred Chrism).
Also in the sanctuary is the Bishop’s Chair over which is carved Sts Peter and Boniface, the Patrons of the ancient Diocese of Ross.
Another interesting feature is the small Baptistery which juts out of the west wall of the church. It houses a fine octagonal stone font. The windows in the baptistery include the descending Dove of Holy Spirit with angels and “dolphins” together with a wee central pane of Sts Peter and Boniface which, reputedly, came from Fortrose Cathedral which was dedicated to them. To the left of that window is one depicting our Lord’s Baptism and to the the right, his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. The baptistery also contains a rather lovely statue of Our Lady and the Holy Child.