This St John’s Day (24 June 2021) marks the handing over of key roles within the Order of St John.
Today, Mark Strudwick CBE KStJ steps down as Prior. Mark succeeded Sir Malcolm Ross as Prior in 2015 and has served in this role – and as Chair of St John Scotland – for the past six years. Following a recruitment and selection process over the summer of 2020, the Duchess of Argyll, Eleanor Argyll DStJ was chosen as our new Prior. She will take up the role today and be officially invested at our Festival later this year. Eleanor will be the first woman Prior of the Priory of Scotland, and as well as her ceremonial role as Prior of the Order, she will chair the Board of St John Scotland and represent the organisation both within Scotland and the UK, and on the international stage at the Order’s Grand Council meetings.
Today we also welcome a new Chancellor, Simon Mackintosh OStJ. Simon has enjoyed a long career as a lawyer and is an expert in charity law, having sat on the McFadden commission which established the current regulatory framework for charities in Scotland. He takes on the role of Chancellor from John Cairns, who has served as Interim Chancellor since autumn 2020. The Chancellor is a member of the Board of St John Scotland and acts as the Vice-Chair to the Prior, while also leading on Area matters, chairing the Area Affairs committee, the bi-annual meeting of the Chairs of our local committees across Scotland.
Lastly, today also sees the stepping down of John Cairns KCVO KStJ from the role of Dean, a position he has fulfilled since 2010. He is succeeded by Rev Neil Gardner OStJ, who as the minister of Canongate Kirk is the Queen’s minister when she is at Holyrood. As well as sitting on the Board of St John Scotland, the Dean leads worship at Order services throughout the year and is a member of the College of Deans, which represents Deans from every Priory around the world.
In lieu of the Festival, a special film has been made to mark the handing over of these important roles. You can watch the film below: