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Most Rev Richard Holloway


1933 -

Bishop of Edinburgh, author and social commentator. Born in Possilpark (Glasgow) and brought up in Alexandria (West Dunbartonshire), Holloway entered Kelham Hall, an Anglican theological seminary in England, at the age of 14. He completed his training at Edinburgh Theological College and was ordained as a curate in 1959. His first parish was in the Gorbals (Glasgow) where his radical approach began to show as he railed against barriers to social inclusion, poor living conditions and widespread unemployment. He visited the USA in 1961 on a travelling scholarship, and returned in 1968 to study at the Union Theological Seminary in New York. He rose through the hierarchy, serving in at Old St. Paul's Church in Edinburgh (1968-80), Boston and Oxford, before being appointed Bishop of Edinburgh in 1986 and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1992.

Holloway held outspoken views on various issues including the acceptance of gay people in the Church and female priests. He found the Lambeth Council of 1998 very difficult and, while his social conscience blossomed, he faced an increasingly deep crisis of faith, culminating is a period of almost atheism. He retired in 2000.

The author of more than 25 books, his first Let God Arise (1972) criticised positions that Holloway later adopted. Others include Who Needs Feminism (1991), Anger, Sex, Doubt and Death (1992), the controversial Godless Morality: Keeping Religion out of Ethics (1999) and Doubts and Loves: What is Left of Christianity (2001). His autobiography Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt was published in 2012. He writes for newspapers and regularly broadcasts on radio and television.

He was a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (1990-97) and Chairman of the British Medical Association Steering Group on Ethics and Genetics (1995-98). He is also a member of the Broadcasting Standards Commission and Chair of the Scottish Arts Council. Holloway brought the idea of a children's orchestra based on the Venezuelan El Sistema model to Scotland in 2008, establishing a successful link with the Raploch district of Stirling.

Holloway lives in Edinburgh. He holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Strathclyde (1994), Aberdeen (1995), Napier (2000) and Glasgow (2001), and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1995.


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