Birnie Kirk is believed to be built on a site originally occupied by the Celtic Church and was dedicated to Saint Brendan the Navigator. The Church still holds regular services and is a popular venue for visitors.
The Kirk may have been the first cathedral in the diocese, and was built about 1140 c., during the reign of David I. The fourth Bishop of Moray, Simon de Tonci, who died in 1184, is thought to be buried at Birnie. It is a plain building with a Norman Arch between the chancel and the nave. In 1734 the west gable was rebuilt and larger windows were added (south side). In 1890 further repairs were made, but it has retained a similar style of the Early Christian Basilican Churches of southern Italy.
Excerpt starting on page 54, ending on page 55.
In the Laigh of Moray -
The Church of Birnie, when it became the cathedral of the newly erected diocese, was probably, like all the early celtic churches, a building of wood and wattle. But the present quaint old parish church, which succeeded it, is undoubtedly a very ancient structure, and is possibly, after that of Mortlach in Banffshire, the oldest place of worship still in use in the north of Scotland. The date of its erection was certainly no later than 1150, and possibly not much earlier. Its walls are built with square of ashlar-
Spynie then replaced Kinneddar as the cathedral of the diocese.
The Church of Birnie
FOUNDATIONS OF THE BISHOPRIC
A History of Moray and Nairn
London: William Blackwood & Sons. (MDCCCXCVII)
A transcribed excerpt December 1999, Ken Birnie
The Birnie Kirk