Stained glass St Giles Caathedral - Stained Glass Window twin 1
 
Stained glass St Giles Caathedral - Stained Glass Window twin 1

St Giles' was only a

cathedral

in its formal sense (i.e. the seat of a bishop) for two periods during the 17th century (1635–1638 and 1661–1689), when

episcopalianism

, backed by the

Crown

, briefly gained ascendancy within the Kirk (see

Bishops' Wars

). In the

mediaeval period

, prior to the

Reformation

, Edinburgh had no cathedral as it was under the jurisdiction of the

Bishop of St Andrews

, whose episcopal seat was

St Andrews Cathedral

. For most of its post-Reformation history the Church of Scotland has not had

bishops

,

dioceses

, or cathedrals. As such, the use of the term cathedral today carries no practical meaning. The "

High Kirk

" title is older, being attested well before the building's brief period as a cathedral.