A CHAPLAIN to the Queen has resigned his position after a row about the reading of the Koran in a Glasgow church.

The Reverend Gavin Ashenden, a senior clergyman for the Church of England, said he had to make a choice between the “important honour” of his position and speaking out on a matter about which he felt strongly.

His decision to quit follows the controversy surrounding the reading of a passage from the Koran at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow earlier this month.

Read more: Bishop 'distressed' by row following Qur'an reading at Glasgow cathedral

On January 6, the Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth, provost of St Mary’s, invited local Muslims to a service on the feast of the Epiphany.

Student Madinah Javed read from the lectern in Arabic from the chapter of Maryam (Mary), which describes the story of Christ’s birth to Mary. It also features the Islamic version of the Nativity, which says Jesus is not the son of God and should not be worshipped.

Dr Ashenden said on the BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme that it was a “serious error” to have a reading from the Koran at that point, and the passage chosen had made things doubly problematic.

He said: “The problem with what happened in Glasgow was that although it was presented as a way of building bridges and a way of educating people it was done badly, in the wrong way, in the wrong place, in the wrong context.

Read more: Bishop 'distressed' by row following Qur'an reading at Glasgow cathedral

“It should not happen in the holy Eucharist and particularly a Eucharist whose main intention is to celebrate Christ the Word made flesh come into the world.

“To have a reading from the Koran at that point was a fairly serious error for the Christian worshipping community, but to choose the reading they chose doubled the error.

“Of all passages you might have read likely to cause offence, that was one of the most problematic.”

He said he was compelled to make a choice between continuing his role as one of the Queen’s 33 honorary chaplains and speaking out on the subject.

He said: “I think it’s clear to me that accepting the role of chaplain to the Queen does not give one a platform where one can speak controversially in the public space.

“So in those circumstances I think one has to choose between whether one wants to accept an important honour or whether one chooses to continue a debate in the public space.

“I am fairly clear in my own mind my duty to my conscience, to my order, to my understanding of Christianity and my vocation is that I am supposed to be speaking out in the public space on behalf of the Christ I serve.”

The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church had said previously that the church had a long commitment to the development of interfaith work.

Read more: Bishop 'distressed' by row following Qur'an reading at Glasgow cathedral

Mr Chillingworth said the matter was for the provost and the cathedral community, but was “deeply distressed is at the widespread offence that has been caused”.

Buckingham Palace confirmed Dr Gavin Ashenden has tendered his resignation “with immediate effect”.