The Moderator of the Kirk has said its relationship with the Church of England is "one embedded in the DNA of both" in an historic address before the General Synod in London.

The Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison, who met the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, also moved to help mend “misunderstandings” over the cross-border pact between churches that had prompted concern among Episcopalians.

Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said after yesterday's event he welcomed the apology from the Archbishop who accepted there had been a "cock-up" over the release of information about the plan.

The Moderator is thought to be the first to address the key Church of England decision making body as they bid to hold closer dialogue under the planned agreement called the Columba Declaration.

Dr Morrison said ties already go back to "the common context in which they were shaped: that of the Reformation of the 16th century”.

“That the subsequent journeys taken by our two churches thereafter have been somewhat different owes something to a variety of factors, including no doubt, matters political, monarchical and climatic.”

He said: “Those misunderstandings have resulted in some hurt and dismay on the part of the Scottish Episcopal Church in particular.

“We have been working hard since then to address those misunderstandings and to focus on how responding to the Report can be a positive opportunity for building relations with the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of England.

“Let it be openly acknowledged that over centuries in Scotland our relationship with our Episcopalian brothers and sisters has not always been a happy one. We need - we all need - to recognise our sin and fault.”

The historic agreement recognising the longstanding ecumenical partnership between the Churches of Scotland and England was backed by the General Synod.

Members voted to approve the pact, and the motion backed by the Synod also notes the Church of England’s valued relationship with the Scottish Episcopal Church within the Anglican Communion.

Moving the motion, the Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester, said: “The dialogue and partnership between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland is shaped by our shared calling as ‘national’ churches, which have a parish structure covering the nation, and a recognition by the State and wider society.

“As our country has become more secular, we find ourselves drawn together as we face common problems, and opportunities.

“For all the ways in which our recognition and calling as national Churches has had very different histories and legal structures, we have found that we have more in common, in our common tasks in mission, than we might have been led to suppose.”

The report will now go to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in May for approval.

The Columba Declaration is set out in the 15-page Joint Study Group report and commits the two churches to grow together in communion and strengthen their partnership in mission.

Bishop Chillingworth said after viewing the Synod remotely that he is still concerned about the potential involvement of the Church of England in the ecclesiastical life of Scotland but he was encouraged by some comments.

He said: "The Moderator was warm and responsive and the Archbishop apologised for what he called a cock-up."

The Scottish Episcopal Church said it had only recently received the detailed examination of the inter-faith report that included the declaration.