Political figures from both sides of the Scottish independence debate have gathered for a special church service to promote unity in the wake of the referendum.

Around 1,000 people attended the Church of Scotland event at St Giles Cathedral on Edinburgh's historic Royal Mile.

Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney, Labour's shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander and the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander were among those present.

Better Together leader Alistair Darling, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael and former Liberal leader Lord Steel also joined the gathering.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, Labour leader Johann Lamont and Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie were also present.

The Church of Scotland wants the service to be part of a process of reconciliation, helping people in the Yes and No camps come together and move forward after the intense referendum debate.

Church of Scotland moderator the Rt Rev John Chalmers, leading the service, has asked Scots to put their differences aside and work together to redefine the country's place within the UK.

He said: "The Church here and in congregations across the country is playing its part in making it a little easier to stretch out that hand of friendship to those who are our fellow Scots who did not support the side we supported.

"How we voted on one particular day does not define who we are.

"How we work together to put in place the democratic will of the Scottish people will be defining - both for us as individuals and for us we as we work to redefine our place within the United Kingdom."

The Moderator has written to churches around Scotland, urging the Kirk's 800 ministers to voice similar sentiments.

In his letter, he said the Church should take the lead in praying for unity of purpose.

"We cannot let ourselves be defined by which side we have been on, on the 18th of September; instead we have to take the opportunity to define ourselves by our commitment to working together to build Scotland's future with shared purpose and shared values," he said.

Mr Alexander and Mr Swinney both delivered readings to the congregation.

In his address, the Rt Rev Chalmers said: "The untold energy of people who love Scotland and care about its future has been used up on opposite sides of this debate, now we have to find a way of harnessing all of that energy so that it can be used on the same side.

"When the late Jimmy Reid addressed the Upper Clyde Ship Builders in 1971 - as they staged their sit-in - he said to them, 'the world is watching us, and it is our responsibility to conduct ourselves with responsibility, and with dignity, and with maturity'.

"Actually he said quite a bit more than that! But we know what he meant and we know that his words are as poignant today as they were in 1971. The eyes of the world are on us - and it needs to see us conduct ourselves with responsibility, with dignity, and with maturity.

"Post referendum there are those who are elated or at least relieved, and there are those who are desperately disappointed, 'gutted' - is the description that I have frequently heard. Feelings like these will take time to heal and I want no one to think that I think that there is a quick fix or an easy dusting down.

"For some, this referendum has been about national identity; for us all it has been about self-identity and that is about as close to the soul as it gets.

"So recovery and healing is a soul searching matter and for me, that is a deeply spiritual matter - so no quick fix.

"Instead, it will take a force of magnanimity and graciousness to restore equilibrium to both nation and individuals."

He added: "Today and in the weeks to come Scotland needs magnanimity all round and it needs a process for shaping our future which allows every voice, (the 45% as well as the 55%) not just to be heard but to be listened to."

Speaking after the service, Mr Swinney said: "The Church of Scotland took a welcome initiative to bring people together to reflect on the outcome of the referendum. I'm here to make clear the willingness of the Yes campaign to be part of taking the country forward in the light of the referendum outcome.

"We shouldn't be fearful of the referendum. The referendum was a democratic debate. I had one vote, everyone else had one vote and we exercised those votes and we did so freely, democratically and openly."

Douglas Alexander said: "Today Scotland is still a divided nation and we need to heal those wounds and bind ourselves together.

"When I extended the hand of friendship to my good friend John Swinney today I hope that gesture will be replicated around kitchen tables and workplaces and pubs and clubs and school gates in the days ahead.

"Because there are no longer No supporters, there are no longer Yes supporters. As fellow Scots we now need to come together and move our nation forward."