Ardre Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Ardre on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. The oldest part of the church is the tower, dating from about 1200, the tower originally belonged to an earlier church building from the 12th century, the nave and choir of which was replaced with the current building circa 1250. The sculptured choir portal originally belonged to the earlier church, the interior of the church was heavily remodelled after plans by artist Axel Haig in 1900–1902, in a Neo-Medieval style. The dominating wall paintings are designed by Hägg. A few stained glass windows remain but were complemented by modern replicas during the renovation, the organ is an elaborate Gothic Revival piece, made for the renovation in 1902 and inspired by medieval French organs. Media related to Ardre Church at Wikimedia Commons
A choir, sometimes called quire, is the area of a church or cathedral that provides seating for the clergy and church choir. It is in the part of the chancel, between the nave and the sanctuary, which houses the altar and Church tabernacle. In larger medieval churches it contained choir-stalls, seating aligned with the side of the church, in modern churches, the choir may be located centrally behind the altar, or the pulpit. The back-choir or retro-choir is a space behind the altar in the choir of a church. In the Early Church, the sanctuary was connected directly to the nave, the choir was simply the east part of the nave, and was fenced off by a screen or low railing, called cancelli, which is where the English word chancel comes from. The word choir is first used by members of the Latin Church, isidore of Seville and Honorius of Autun write that the term is derived from the corona, the circle of clergy or singers who surrounded the altar. When first introduced, the choir was attached to the bema, the platform in the center of the nave on which were placed seats for the higher clergy.
This arrangement can still be observed at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome, over time, the bema and choir moved eastward to their current position. In some churches the choir is arranged in the apse behind the altar, the architectural details of the choir developed in response to its function as the place where the Divine Office was chanted by the monastic brotherhood or the chapter of canons. The chancel was regarded as the part of the church. The pulpit and lectern are found at the front of the choir. The organ may be located here, or in a loft elsewhere in the church, some cathedrals have a retro-choir behind the High Altar, opening eastward towards the chapels in the eastern extremity. After the Reformation Protestant churches generally moved the forward, typically to the front of the chancel. The choir and rear of deep chancels became little used in churches surviving from the Middle Ages, with the emphasis on sermons, and their audibility, some churches simply converted their chancels to seat part of the congregation.
The choir area is occupied by sometimes finely carved and decorated wooden seats known as choir stalls, the choir may be furnished either with long benches or individual choir stalls. There may be several rows of seating running parallel to the walls of the church, the use of choir stalls is more traditional in monasteries and collegiate churches. Monastic choir stalls are often fitted with seats that fold up when the monastics stand, often the hinged seat will have a misericord on the underside on which he can lean while standing during the long services. The upper part of the stall is so shaped as to provide a headrest while sitting
Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, at 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of 10.0 million. Sweden consequently has a low density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre. Approximately 85% of the lives in urban areas. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats/Götar and Swedes/Svear, Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is heavily forested. Sweden is part of the area of Fennoscandia. The climate is in very mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence. Today, Sweden is a monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state. The capital city is Stockholm, which is the most populous city in the country, legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister, Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities.
Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages, in the 17th century, it expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire, which became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, the last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, maintaining a policy of neutrality in foreign affairs. The union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905, leading to Swedens current borders, though Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars, Sweden engaged in humanitarian efforts, such as taking in refugees from German-occupied Europe. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995 and it is a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides health care. The modern name Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod and this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige literally means Realm of the Swedes, excluding the Geats in Götaland, the etymology of Swedes, and thus Sweden, is generally not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning ones own, referring to ones own Germanic tribe
Eskelhem Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Eskelhem on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. Eskelhem Church was preceded by a church, of which nothing remains. Circa 1200 it was replaced by a stone church, the walls of the nave of the present church are all that remains of this edifice. The church was enlarged and rebuilt until it received its present form in the middle of the 14th century. Internally, the church is decorated with different sets of frescos, dating from the end of the 13th century and the 15th, the latter by the Master of the Passion of Christ. Among the church furnishings, the font from the 12th century, probably made by Master Byzantios. Media related to Eskelhem Church at Wikimedia Commons Official site
Gotland, Gutland in the local dialect Gutnish, is a province, county and diocese of Sweden. The province includes the islands of Fårö and Gotska Sandön to the north. The population is 57,221, of which about 23,600 live in Visby, the island of Gotland and the other areas of the province of Gotland make up less than one percent of Swedens total land area. From a military viewpoint, it occupies a location in the Baltic sea. The island is the home of the Gutes, and sites such as the Ajvide Settlement show that it has occupied since prehistory. This is consistent with the spread of peoples from the Middle East at about that time. Early on, Gotland became a center, with the town of Visby the most important Hanseatic city in the Baltic Sea. In late medieval times, the island had twenty district courts, each represented by its elected judge at the island-ting, new laws were decided at the landsting, which took other decisions regarding the island as a whole. Gutasaga contains legends of how the island was settled by Þieluar, according to some historians, it is therefore an effort not only to write down the history of Gotland, but to assert Gotlands independence from Sweden.
In 1361, Valdemar Atterdag of Denmark invaded the island, the Victual Brothers occupied the island in 1394 to set up a stronghold as a headquarters of their own in Visby. At last, Gotland became a fief of the Teutonic Knights, an invading army of Teutonic Knights conquered the island in 1398, destroying Visby and driving the Victual Brothers from Gotland. The number of Arab dirhams discovered on the island of Gotland alone is astoundingly high, in the various hoards located around the island, there are more of these silver coins than at any other site in Western Eurasia. The total sum is almost as great as the number that has been unearthed in the entire Muslim world, the Berezan Runestone, discovered in 1905 in Ukraine, was made by a Varangian trader named Grani in memory of his business partner Karl. It is assumed that they were from Gotland, the Mästermyr chest, an important artefact from the Viking Age, was found in Gotland. The authority of the landsting was successively eroded after the island was occupied by the Teutonic Order, sold to Eric of Pomerania, in late medieval times, the ting consisted of twelve representatives for the farmers, free-holders or tenants.
Since the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645, the island has remained under Swedish rule, the Order never regained its territory, and eventually it reestablished itself in Rome as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. On 22 April 1808, during the Finnish War between Sweden and Russia, a Russian army landed on the shores of Gotland near Grötlingbo. Under command of Nikolaus Andrejevich Bodisco 1,800 Russians took the city of Visby without any combat or engagement, and occupied the island
Alskog Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Alskog on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. The oldest part of the church is the nave, dating from the first quarter of the 13th century and it displays an unusual southern portal, decorated with sculptures. Inside, the nave is divided in two parts by two columns and has a vaulted ceiling. The tower is but from the early 13th century. Its portal show similarities with the portal of Visby Cathedral. The much larger choir and vestry were added circa 1300, the ambition was probably to rebuild the whole church into a larger, Gothic church, but for some reason only the eastern part of the church was rebuilt. Few alterations have been made since the Middle Ages, during the 19th century, some windows were added and new pews installed. The church underwent a renovation in 1964–1965, a few separate medieval sculptures survive, originally part of a 14th-century retable. The church windows have several preserved stained glass panes from around 1300 and they depict scenes from the life of Jesus.
From the time after the Reformation, the pulpit deserves mention and it was made in 1586 and is the oldest pulpit on Gotland. The church has a pair of embroidered bags for collection of alms made in Istanbul in 1775 and they were brought to the church by the priest at the Swedish legation in the city, who was the son of a pastor in Alskog Church. Media related to Alskog Church at Wikimedia Commons Official site
Boge Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Boge not far from Slite on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. Boge Church is an early Gothic church, the oldest parts are the choir and the sacristy, dating from the mid-13th century. The nave is somewhat later, and replaced an earlier, Romanesque nave, the tower seen today however dates from 1867–92, as the old tower collapsed during a storm in 1857. On this occasion, the nave was damaged. Externally, the church is supported by a buttress, erected after the storm in 1857 to stabilise the church. The main portal is somewhat than the rest of the building, the church is decorated with two sets of frescos dating from the construction period and the mid-15th century, respectively. The ones are in the style of the so-called Master of the Passion of Christ, most of the furnishings date from the 18th century, with the exception of the baptismal font and a large, medieval iron chandelier. Some medieval tombstones are visible in the choir, media related to Boge Church at Wikimedia Commons
Ekeby Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Ekeby on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. The oldest part of Ekeby Church is the tower, dating from the end of the 12th century, the nave and choir are circa one century younger and Gothic in style. At the end of the 13th century, the tower was heightened to its present height. Most notable in the exterior of the church are the two portals, which are richly decorated with stone carvings. These were originally painted, and fragments of colour survive, the church is profusely decorated with frescos. The nave has frescos from the 13th, 14th and 18th century, among the other frescos, the large frescos depicting the apostles are the oldest, from the end of the 13th century. Under them are frescos done by the Master of the Passion of Christ depicting, on the wall, the Passion of Christ and, on the southern. During a renovation in 2004, further frescos were discovered, all the windows had stained glass panes, but today only a few original remain.
An unusual niche in the choir, probably designed as a storage for the bread and wine from the Eucharist, among the furnishings, the accomplished Romanesque triumphal cross deserves mention. It is from the end of the 12th century, the sandstone baptismal font is an unusual fine piece, from approximately the same time. Scholars believe that it may have made by either Master Majestatis or Hegvald. Church frescos in Sweden Media related to Ekeby Church at Wikimedia Commons
Bunge Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Bunge on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. Archaeological excavations carried out in 1916 and 1971 have shown that the present, mainly Gothic church was pre-dated by a Romanesque church, the massive, fortress-like tower of the church is somewhat but belonged to this first edifice. The church and churchyard are surrounded by a wall which originally reached much higher and had a defensive purpose, four medieval gates still survive in the wall. The church complex evidently has fulfilled a role, as there are marks from pikes and crossbow bolts in the sturdy tower-door. In addition, the inside of the church is decorated with frescos depicting, among other things. The frescos and the wall may date from the short period in history when Gotland belonged to the Teutonic Order. This has led scholars to speculate whether the church for a time might have been owned by the crusading Order. The church is one of the largest on northern Gotland, as mentioned, it displays a mix between Romanesque and Gothic.
The church has a finely carved southern portal, rich in sculpture, the most distinguishing feature of the interior is no doubt the richly painted walls, with frescos executed by a master painter probably from Prussia or Bohemia. As for the previously mentioned depicted knights, scholars have different views of what they may depict or represent, one theory is that they are Teutonic knights. A single remaining painted glass window remains, a font from the 13th century and an oddity, a mite box in stone. Media related to Bunge Church at Wikimedia Commons
Hablingbo Church is a medieval Lutheran church in Hablingbo on the Swedish island of Gotland, in the Diocese of Visby. The earliest church at the site was a church, built in the early 12th century at the latest. It was replaced by a Romanesque stone church, the tower of which survives in the present building. The nave and choir were rebuilt during the 14th century to their present Gothic look. Few alterations have been made since, several of the medieval furnishings have been removed and placed in museums, however. The altarpiece is Baroque in style and dates from the 1600s, the church is one of the largest on Gotland. The nave has broad bays and high vaults and is unusually monumental, typically for churches on the island, the choir lacks an apse. The church has three richly carved portals set in the facade, the oldest is on the northern side and is probably a remnant of the older, Romanesque church. The sculpted decor dates from the 12th century and is a work by the anonymous artist Majestatis and it includes, among other things, one of the first known depictions of the Devil in Scandinavian art.
The sculpted portal is considered one of the most interesting pieces of Romanesque art in present-day Sweden, the other portals are located on the south facade, and are later, Gothic pieces of sculpture. Especially the main portal displays a rich décor, the sculptures depict Christian themes, such as the life of Mary. The portals were made in the medieval workshop which is sometimes referred to as Egypticus. Inside, there are remains of frescos from the 15th century in the choir, on a wall in the tower, there is a painted Troy Town, here is a gravestone located which probably predates the stone church. It is a Christian gravestone, carved with runes, media related to Hablingbo church, Gotland at Wikimedia Commons
Lutheranism is a major branch of Protestant Christianity which identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German friar, ecclesiastical reformer and theologian. Luthers efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Catholic Church launched the Protestant Reformation in the German-speaking territories of the Holy Roman Empire. Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone on the basis of Scripture alone and this is in contrast to the belief of the Catholic Church, defined at the Council of Trent, concerning authority coming from both the Scriptures and Tradition. In addition, Lutheranism accepts the teachings of the first seven ecumenical councils of the undivided Christian Church, unlike Calvinism, Lutherans retain many of the liturgical practices and sacramental teachings of the pre-Reformation Church, with a particular emphasis on the Eucharist, or Lords Supper. Lutheran theology differs from Reformed theology in Christology, the purpose of Gods Law, the grace, the concept of perseverance of the saints.
Today, Lutheranism is one of the largest denominations of Protestantism, with approximately 80 million adherents, it constitutes the third most common Protestant denomination after historically Pentecostal denominations and Anglicanism. The Lutheran World Federation, the largest communion of Lutheran churches, Other Lutheran organizations include the International Lutheran Council and the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, as well as independent churches. The name Lutheran originated as a term used against Luther by German Scholastic theologian Dr. Johann Maier von Eck during the Leipzig Debate in July 1519. Eck and other Catholics followed the practice of naming a heresy after its leader. Martin Luther always disliked the term Lutheran, preferring the term Evangelical, which was derived from euangelion, the followers of John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other theologians linked to the Reformed tradition began to use that term. To distinguish the two groups, others began to refer to the two groups as Evangelical Lutheran and Evangelical Reformed.
As time passed by, the word Evangelical was dropped, Lutherans themselves began to use the term Lutheran in the middle of the 16th century, in order to distinguish themselves from other groups such as the Philippists and Calvinists. In 1597, theologians in Wittenberg defined the title Lutheran as referring to the true church, Lutheranism has its roots in the work of Martin Luther, who sought to reform the Western Church to what he considered a more biblical foundation. Lutheranism spread through all of Scandinavia during the 16th century, as the monarch of Denmark–Norway, through Baltic-German and Swedish rule, Lutheranism spread into Estonia and Latvia. Since 1520, regular Lutheran services have been held in Copenhagen, under the reign of Frederick I, Denmark-Norway remained officially Catholic. Although Frederick initially pledged to persecute Lutherans, he adopted a policy of protecting Lutheran preachers and reformers. During Fredericks reign, Lutheranism made significant inroads in Denmark, at an open meeting in Copenhagen attended by the king in 1536, the people shouted, We will stand by the holy Gospel, and do not want such bishops anymore.
Fredericks son Christian was openly Lutheran, which prevented his election to the throne upon his fathers death, following his victory in the civil war that followed, in 1537 he became Christian III and advanced the Reformation in Denmark-Norway