CHRISTIANS have returned to an East End church after a judge ruled the closure of places of worship was illegal. 

St Mary's Catholic Church, in Calton, reopened its doors today following the landmark ruling by one of the country's most senior officials. 

Judge Lord Braid found yesterday in favour of a group of nearly 30 clergymen who had fought against Scottish Government regulations which limited places of worship to just weddings or funerals during lockdown. 

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He said the rules were unlawful as they disproportionately interfered with the freedom of religion secured in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Canon Tom White was involved in the legal action and today led a small group of worshippers for Midday Mass in the Abercromby Street church. 

He said: "I think it's an important victory not so much dependent on your disposition towards how we keep each other safe in this time of pandemic, but it's how we make sure that how we act as a liberal democracy is proportionate and that we don't at all costs trample on the rights of others.

"Authentic worship is about gathering together as a community, authentic worship for us in the Catholic tradition is about coming together in a building which is sacred and participating in a sacred space at a sacred time and the sacraments necessarily are tangible, they're not virtual.

"Faith is real, it's tangible and people in this time of pandemic need to embrace the sacred."

However, the likes of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Church of Scotland have distanced themselves from the legal action and say they will reopen tomorrow as per government guidance. Bosses within the Archdiocese of Glasow have said the same. 

Glasgow Times:

As part of the easing of lockdown in Scotland, communal worship is permitted from Friday, with a maximum congregation of 50 people.

But the judicial review is likely to have set a precedent for any future rulings against religious gatherings in Scotland. 

He said: "Some people think it's an academic decision because the churches were opening anyway, but the reality is that the right has been established, that moving forward the Government has to take due precautions and due considerations for people's fundamental rights."