The word ‘diocese’ is derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘housekeeping’ and, for most of Christian history, dioceses have been the regions over which experienced and gifted priests, known as bishops, act as housekeepers, caring for and guiding church communities. The Diocese of Edinburgh is one of seven such regions in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the word episcopal means that we are a church which has maintained the tradition of appointing bishops to shepherd and to foster our shared life and mission. The story of the Diocese of Edinburgh is interwoven with the history of Scotland.

The Diocese of Edinburgh was created fairly recently relative to the other Episcopal dioceses in Scotland. It was founded in 1633 by King Charles I. William Forbes was consecrated in St Giles Cathedral as its first bishop on 23 January 1634.