Letter: Heraldry changes

I write as a member of the congregation of St Giles' Cathedral, the High Kirk of Edinburgh and as a former honorary editor of The Heraldry Society of Scotland responsible for the editing of Thistle Stall Plates by Charles Burnett, Ross Herald and Leslie Hodgson.

I am profoundly dismayed to learn that the oath was changed in 2006 and no longer includes the vow "I shall fortify and defend the Christian religion, and Christ's most holy Evangel, to the utmost of my power".

Her Majesty has been ill advised, Central to the code of Chivalry is belief in the Christian religion and its defence. Scotland's premier order of chivalry, instigated in its present form in 1687, is in danger of its historic identity becoming secularised.

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If Knights and Ladies of the Thistle are no longer required to uphold and defend the Christian religion, what is the purpose of their attendance at services in the Thistle Chapel within St Giles' Cathedral?

If a member of the order does not believe in the Triune God and salvation by faith in the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, then his or her presence in the Thistle Chapel is an act of hypocrisy.

If the oath no longer contains any reference to the Christian religion, what, since 2006, is the role of the Dean of the Thistle?

The "new" oath ignores the Christian religion, God, fellow members of the order and the existence of evil, such as treason. The phrase "I shall fortify and defend high standards in the life of the nation and the world" is utterly anodyne. The new oath is a travesty.

The Thistle Chapel is not simply an Aladdin's cave of Arts and Crafts workmanship, the preserve of an art historian but, like St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, a living chapel, an inspiring and sacred place of Christian worship, the significance of which should be respected and upheld.

Duncan McAra

Beresford Gardens