"There must always be names with faces, stories of sacrifice and of love, devotion and faith, so that what has gone on before does not become just another statistic," he said.
"If we as a community, or as an oil and gas industry, or as a city, or as a country allow that to happen, we should hang our heads in shame.
"Today here in this kirk we will remember them by name, reminding us not just who they are, but who they were and who they will always be to those who knew and loved them."
The Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, the Rt Rev Dr Robert Gillies, said: "The Piper Alpha oil disaster cast a deep shadow over the city of Aberdeen and beyond.
"The memory of that horrific tragedy has become acutely focussed in the city's thinking.
"But along with the sadness this will rekindle, there is also the appreciation of the way rescue, medical and pastoral services combined."
A major gas leak just before 2200 BST on the night of the tragedy was followed by fire and a series of explosions on the North Sea platform.
The heat ruptured a gas pipeline from another platform causing another massive explosion and fireball that engulfed Piper Alpha.
Many of the 61 who survived had to jump into the sea far below.
Twenty years on, Piper Alpha remains the world's worst offshore disaster.
Industry safety experts believe lessons have been learned and that the offshore industry is safer.
BBC Scotland has told the story of the thoughts of survivors, widows, relatives and the industry in the past week in a series of articles on television, online and on radio to mark the 20th anniversary.
A play which pays tribute to the 167 men who died finished on Sunday night.
Lest We Forget was being performed at The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen. It charted the lives of four fictional characters affected.
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