THE Orange Order has moved its biggest parade of the year away from a flashpoint Catholic Church after a carefully brokered peace deal.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland said next month's annual Battle of the Boyne commemorative march would not pass St Alphonsus in Glasgow's East End, where a priest was attacked during the same event last year.

Its announcement came after senior Catholic figures signalled respect for protestant orders' right to march - but urged that care and respect be shown around exact routes.

Archbishop of Edinburgh Leo Cushley - once one of the Vatican's most senior diplomats - this week said he saw no reason why Orange marches should not pass churches.

We can reveal that leaders of both Orange Order and Catholic Church have been working behind the scenes to break an impasse over St Alphonsus.

Their efforts - through intermediaries - came after growing concerns about the politicalisation of this summer's marching season.

Glasgow City Council has already ordered several small parades to be re-routed way from St Alphonsus after senior police officers warned of potential confrontations. Some local Glasgow marching organisations had tried and failed to appeal against those decisions in the courts.

READ MORE: Glasgow's Orange marching groups in talks

However, the national Grand Orange Lodge took a different tack. A spokesman said: "It is widely acknowledged that the right to parade is protected by law.

"However, with those rights, comes responsibility. Our parades are a celebration of our own heritage and culture and do not disparage anyone else's beliefs.

"Recently, there has been an increase in tensions around some parades, and we believe that all parties should show a willingness to engage and diffuse unnecessary tensions."

Jim McHarg, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, added: “Our position remains the same, in that we are always willing to engage in open and honest dialogue on the issues at hand."

Referring to statements by Archbishop Cushley and others, he added: "We fully recognise the recent positive comments from the Roman Catholic Church, and in the spirit of positive cooperation, we have proactively offered to parade on a different route for our main Boyne Celebrations this July.

"We have made this gesture in the hope that we can continue to progress discussions around a shared long term solution that accepts and respects each other’s religious differences, without the need for religious divides.”

Earlier on Friday the Archdiocese of Glasgow had also issued a carefully worded statement. Crucially, local church leaders avoided any call for an absolute ban on Orange Walks passing churches - and instead asked for consideration over timings and routes.

READ MORE: Orange march in Glasgow re-routed

It said: "As the traditional marching season reaches its busiest month it is important that people of all faiths and none show good will and common sense to overcome tensions.

"The Archdiocese of Glasgow acknowledges the right of any group or organisation to parade in accordance with the law.

"The preferred solution of the Archdiocese of Glasgow is that marches be scheduled at times and along routes which do not cause difficulties or create anxiety for parishioners attending their local church.

"We trust the police and the local authorities will ensure that safety and public order are paramount when deciding on applications to parade."

A man has been convicted for spitting on Canon Tom White outside St Alphonsus Church last year.

This provoked a campaign of counter-protests outside churches - ad demands for an outright ban on marches near Catholic places of worship.

A source familiar with the issue said: "The fall-out from the attack on Canon White has not just ratcheted up community tensions but has the potential to damage Glasgow's reputation across the UK.

"And that is all of our business.

"As Archbishop Leo Cushley said earlier this week this is stuff from am earlier chapter of our history."