THE Scottish Parliament has held its first ever St Andrew’s Day celebration.

SNP MSP Paul McLellan invited politicians, faith leaders, community groups, and international representatives to the inaugural event at Holyrood, which he promised will now be held every year.

Reverend Vasyl Kren of the Ukrainian Catholic Church opened proceedings with a prayer before Paul McLellan and Angus Robertson, the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, were piped onto the stage by fellow MSP Stuart McMillan.

During his speech Robertson honoured the people of Ukraine and highlighted the country’s shared connection to St Andrew.

“St Andrew is claimed as a patron saint by many countries but it seems to me that the two countries with the strongest claim are Scotland and Ukraine,” he said.

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“What Scotland can’t compete with though is that St Andrew went to Ukraine. He sailed up the Dnipro river and he planted his staff on a hill, which is now in the city of Kyiv.

“It’s where one of the most beautiful cathedrals, built in the 18th century, now stands.

“For those who have never been to Ukraine, I pray that it is soon and follows a Ukrainian victory and that we are able to visit St Andrew’s Cathedral in Kyiv.

“Remembering the history and story of St Andrew making it to Ukraine is an extremely powerful story and it unites us at a time when Scotland, as the rest of Europe, is united in supporting the people of Ukraine.”

He added that Scotland should be proud of the support it has given Ukrainians since the start of the Russian invasion.

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He added: “I think we can be proud that in Scotland we have accommodated 20% of all Ukrainian refugees in the UK and we will do whatever it takes to support any who need sanctuary.”

Following the speeches there were performances from Nikitha Vidigiri and Eryn Rae, the winner of BBC Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year award.

Guests were also given a poem by Edinburgh Makar Hannah Lavery, which was written especially for the event.