Rt Rev. Hugh Gilbert OSB


Bishop Hugh Gilbert is the 11th Bishop of Aberdeen since the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in 1878. Born in Emsworth, Hampshire in 1952, educated at St. Paul’s School, London, and King’s College, University of London (where he gained an Honours degree in History), he was received into the Catholic Church in 1970. In 1974 he came north to enter the Benedictine monastery of Pluscarden Abbey, Elgin, Moray. He has been a monk of Pluscarden Abbey – ‘the spiritual heart of the diocese’ – for 37 years, and Abbot for 19. He was nominated to the See of Aberdeen by Pope Benedict XVI on 4 June 2011.

He is not the first Superior of Pluscarden to be moved from the monastery to the episcopate. On 20 May 1529, Pope Clement VII appointed the Prior of Pluscarden, George Learmond, co-adjutor Bishop of Aberdeen, with right of succession.

Bishop Hugh has chosen as his episcopal motto a phrase from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians: chapter 1, verse 17: Omnia in Ipso constant [All things hold together in Him (Christ)]. These words occur within a Hymn to Christ, which celebrates his role as First-born and Head of creation, and then as First-born from the dead and Head of the Church (Colossians 1:15-20). St. Paul presents Christ as the one in whom everything finds its coherence, the one who sustains and unifies all that is, ‘in heaven and on earth’. Aside from Christ, everything disintegrates and falls apart. In Christ, everything finds its true place and stature, everything ‘holds together’. In Christ, everything ‘stands’ as he, the Risen One, ‘stands’. As believers in Christ, we ‘stand with him’ and ‘stand together’ in the unity of the Church: not just for ourselves, but praying and working in the grace of the Holy Spirit that everything in God’s creation may be brought together in and under Christ. These words thus underline the diocesan motto, chosen by Bishop Mario Conti, Together in Christ.


  • Thursday 25 – Monday 29 April –  Attending ordination in Austria
  • Tuesday 30 April – Friday 3 May – Visit of French Sisters of the Community of St John
  • Saturday 4 May – Faith in the North, Pluscarden Abbey.

Homilies and Letters:

23rd April 2019
When has a spring coincided so exactly with Easter? The word ‘Easter’ comes from the name of the old Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. Spring has been late this year and Easter has been late, and this weekend they’ve come together. The warmest day of the year and the best possible news for us! Today we…
23rd April 2019
Brothers and Sisters, this is the night when our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life. It’s the night he passed from the dark confinement of a tomb on the edge of Jerusalem into the radiant expanse of an unfettered and glorified life. It’s the night his share in our alienation from God, our…
23rd April 2019
Having heard what we’ve just heard, I’d like to share a prayer of a great layman, a good husband and father, an accomplished lawyer, a writer, saint and a martyr: St Thomas More, beheaded in London on 6 July 1535. It goes (modernised) as follows: ‘Good Lord, give us your grace not to read or…

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When he was Abbot of Pluscarden Abbey, our Bishop Hugh Gilbert published two books based on the conferences he had delivered over the years to his monastic community, along with a few homilies. The first book, Unfolding the Mystery, covers the main seasons and solemnities of the liturgical year; the second, Living the Mystery, deals with the Christian life and how to live it more authentically.

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