Old Mamasan is not much of a church goer, but somehow it still feels fitting to present a church on a Sunday.
So, let’s talk religion!
Or – we can just read what Wikipedia has to say on the topic:
Religion in Iceland was initially the Norse paganism that was a common belief among mediaeval Scandinavians who started settling Iceland in the 9th century AD, until Christian conversion around 1000 AD, though paganism did not vanish then. Starting in the 1530s, Iceland, originally Roman Catholic and under the Danish crown, formally became Lutheran, culminating in 1550 with the killing of the last Catholic bishop and the outlawing of Catholicism. Iceland still has a state church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, though religious freedom has been a legal right since 1874. The state church is supported by the government, but all registered religions received support from a church tax paid by taxpayers over the age of 16 years.
According to government records, the population is at present overwhelmingly Lutheran, although Catholics and other Christian minorities exist as well as several non-Christian minority groups. The largest non-Christian religious grouping was Ásatrú (Germanic folk religion). A poll conducted by WIN/GIA in 2012 found that 57% of Icelanders considered themselves “a religious person”, 31% consider themselves “a non religious person”, while 10% define themselves as “a convinced atheist”, placing Iceland in top 10 atheist populations in the world.
The church of Hallgrímur is a Lutheran parish church in Reykjavik, Iceland, and also the largest church in Iceland (73 meters tall / 244 ft.). It is named after an Icelandic poet and clergyman, Hallgrímur Pétursson, and designed by State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson, whom let the basalt lava flows of Icelandic landscape greatly influence his design.
Construction work began in 1945 and ended in 1986. For those of you who think 41 years to build a church is way too long – let me remind you of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona – the Gaudi church that were started in 1883 – and still not finished!
If you go to Reykjavik, there will be no missing out on this landmark, as it is visible throughout the city. Right in front of the main entrance to the church you find a statue of Viking explorer Leif Eriksson by Alexander Stirling Calder, a gift from the United States in honor of the 1930 Alltinget (Parliament) Millennium Festival.
If you venture into the church you will find a large pipe organ by the German organ builder Johannes Klais. It has electronic action, thus the pipes are remote from the console. The whole thing is 15 meters tall and weighs 25 tons.
You can also take the lift up to the viewing deck and get a great view over Reykjavik, as you can see in this post: Iceland (brief history).
The next post in this series will be about Alltinget (Parliament) and a bit of geography, so check back later 🙂