The Churches of Gotland


The fundaments of a tower belonging to an older church have been found inside the present tower. From this church originate, besides the font by "Byzantios", some reliefs in the lower part of the southern facade, which seem to have been ingredients in one or two grave monuments from the 12th century, probably sculptured by master "Majestatis". The mighty tower, which once reached considerable height, was truncated when struck by lightning in 1817, which caused the building of the supporting wall, hiding the portal of the tower. The tower is the latest part of the church, from about 1350. The choir and the three-aisled nave were built in the mid thirteenth century. In this connection the "Michael master" executed the monumental painting on the northern wall of the nave, representing the weighing of the soul of Emperor Henry II, which is performed by St Michael. The emperor is saved from the efforts of the devils to weigh down the scale-pan of this sins by St Laurence, who puts in his own pan the golden chalice he, on his death-bed, had given to the abbey of St Laurence in Merseburg. Probably the church was dedicated to St Michael: pilgrims made for the church in the Middle Ages, and as late as in the 1 7th century there were offerings made at -"the tomb of St Michael" - a strange tradition, since an archangel could not very well be buried anywhere. The choir is richly decorated with ornamental baldachins and a big Life-tree. The giant St Christopher (see Väte) probably was painted by the same master as St Nicholas on the ship in Sanda. The altar shrine is a fine but heavily restored work by a master from Cologne about 1330. The glass paintings are from about 1900. The pulpit stair leads through an opening in the chancel wall, a remainder of a medieval pulpit, "ambo".

Photo Hans Hemlin

Text Dr. Bengt G Söderberg


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List of the churches in alphabetical order

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