The Church of Perth St John's is one of the largest in Scotland and is believed to date back to as early as 1127. It was dedicated to St John the Baptist and the town of Perth itself was known anciently as St Johnstoun. Prior to 1603 the church belonged to the Abbey of Dunfermline. St John's Church has an important place within the history of the Church of Scotland and it was here that the Reformation began, following a sermon preached by John Knox in 1559. In 1618 the General Assembly met at Perth, most if not all of its meeting were held within St John's. As the population of Perth grew and the need for accommodation for worship increased, a second charge of the ministry of Perth was erected in 1595 and a third followed in 1715. During this same year St John's church was partitioned off to provide two places of worship, termed the Old and the New Churches. This split however did not alleviate the problem of lack of space for public worship and a third division was made, splitting St John's into the East, the Middle and the West Churches. The three ministers of each church conducted successive services. This system came to an end in 1806 when the second charge was suppressed and it was instead agreed to build a new church to accommodate the parishioners. St Paul's church was erected in the following year. Perth Moncreiffe was linked with St John's in 1971 however this linkage was very brief and was terminated in 1972 . The kirk session of St John's sits within the Presbytery of Perth.