March 28, 2014

Storkyrkan- The Stockholm Cathedral

The church tower.
Stockholm has many beautiful churches spread throughout the city... often with tall spires piercing the skyline. The main church, and one of the most historical, is Storkyrkan (literally "the great church"). This is actually more of a common nickname for the church and the official name is Sankt Nikolai Kyrka (Church of St Nicholas)... though all Swedes know it as Storkyrkan. In English it is often referred to as The Stockholm Cathedral. This is the main church of the Diocese of Stockholm, Church of Sweden (Lutheran).
Pulpit, with ceiling detail.
The church is located in the old town (Gamla Stan) just adjacent to the Royal Palace. It has been expanded and renovated many times but has been around for about as long as Stockholm, being first mentioned in texts in 1279 (the city was first mentioned in 1252). Throughout its history it has seen many royal coronations, weddings and funerals... in 2010 the Crown Princess Victoria said "I do" to Prince Daniel in a lavish, televised ceremony in Storkyrkan.
The Silver Altar
The exterior and interior of the church are a mix of Gothic, Baroque and Medieval styles, reflecting the expansion of the church since the 1200's. In fact, I have always felt that the outside doesn't really match the inside (style-wise). There are many great details and treasures inside the church... I especially love the octagonal vaulted ceilings. Other points of interest are the grand pulpit and Silver Altar. One of the main attractions in the church is the wooden statue of St George slaying the dragon. From the late 1400's, it commemorates the Battle of Brunkeberg when Sweden (St George) defeated the invading Danes (the dragon).
St George slaying the Dragon.
Storkyrkan is a functioning church and there are both regular services as well as concerts. Most of the services are in Swedish, though they do have bilingual morning prayers (Mondays through Fridays at 9am) as well as Holy Communion on Sundays at 11am (in Swedish with English translation available). Otherwise the concerts can be of special interest for visitors. They have a wide variety of concerts in the calendar, from organ to choir to soloists. Unfortunately, they don't have a calendar online in English, just Swedish... but, if you are staying at the Rival Hotel, you can contact me and I will let you know what is playing while you are here.
Looking down an aisle towards the statue.
The church is open for visitors every day between 9am and 4pm. Admission is 40 SEK, free for children under 19 as well as when attending a service or prayer. They do offer a free guided tour of the church in English every Wednesday at 10:15am (you just have to pay the 40 SEK admission). It is only a short 15 minute walk from the Rival Hotel...
Back of the church, which faces the Royal Palace.


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