Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/John Strain

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Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, born at Edinburgh, 8 December, 1810; died there, 2 July, 1883. Educated at Edinburgh High School, at Aquhorties Seminary, and at the Scots College, Rome, he was ordained priest in 1833 and, after work in Edinburgh and Dumfries, was appointed to the mission of Dalbeattie, where he laboured for twenty-three years. Transferred to Dumfries in 1857, he was appointed in the following year president of Blairs College, Aberdeen; and on the death of Bishop Gillis in 1864 he was nominated to succeed him as vicar Apostolic of the eastern district, named Bishop of Abila, and consecrated by Pius IX at the Vatican on 25 September. During his nineteen years' episcopate he saw the number of clergy and missions largely increased in his district; many new schools were opened, and several religious communities, both of men and women, introduced. The bishop laboured long and strenuously for the restoration of the regular hierarchy to Scotland; and it was greatly due to his effects that the restoration took place, under Leo XIII, in 1878. He became himself the first Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and held his first diocesan synod in 1881. His death occurred whilst Catholic Scotland was preparing to celebrate with befitting honour the golden jubilee of his ordination.

Catholic Directory for Scotland (1884), 169-80; The Tablet, LXI (7 July, 1883), 26.

D.O. HUNTER-BLAIR