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06.05.2020

The Church of Isafjordur

The Church of Isafiardar is located in the priesthood of Isafiardur in the Western Fjords. The church was dedicated to Ascension Day in 1995. It was designed by Grobjarture Grobjarsson and his colleagues at VA Architects. Its shape represents the waves of the sea

Before Isafiardarka was created, this place was called Airy in Skutulsfjordur. The kopeyka was a church place for centuries. In Catholic times there were churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary and John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. Most churches would stand in or near a cemetery, although not all on the same basis.

The old church in Isafjordur was consecrated on August 16, 1863. The pioneer of its construction was Reverend Halfdan Einarsson (1801-1865). Einar, his son, who learned the craft of carpenter, was the commander. Initially the old church was lined with wood with a standing roof and a skylight. The seats in the church were located in two chambers, which were covered with low panels in the front, back and central parts of the church vessel, and the bench was finished with a wall aisle. This was changed in 1882 when the church choir was built and painted blue with stars in the sky. Then a statue of Christ Thorvaldsen came to the altar. In 1899, Leonard Tang gave the church a font for baptism, and at the turn of the century came the temple. Electric lighting did not appear until 1921. In 1932, the church was renovated and the outside was covered with cardboard and corrugated iron. In 1934, an organist was built at the church. In the centenary of the old church, it was given a pulpit of oak with carved figures of Gospel artists, made by the son of Augustus Sigurmund. Donors were evacuated to Isafjordur. The church and its infrastructure were badly burned down in July 1987.

Many good exhibits from the old church are kept in the National Museum, such as a painted statue of the Virgin Mary from 1500 and a small altar painted in wood. The baptismal clothing from the old marble baptized fire withstood the fire, and it became the new baptismal font in the church. The church bells are there, too. Church hooks and most of the church silver did not get into the fire because the items were kept in the house of the church parishioners.

After the fire the meeting decided to rebuild the old church or build a new one. The parish commissioned Gilfa Gudjonsson, the architect, to propose a new church that would be filled in front of the new hospital in order to preserve the old church in its place. This idea was rejected in a general vote. Gilfa's drawing was later used to build a church in Eskifjordur. The State House Committee then made a proposal on how to preserve the old church by expanding it eastwards and building two shelters for the community. There was no unity in this reconciliation, as in the first. Finally, in autumn 1991, the general assembly decided to build a new church on the old church grounds.

Work on the new church in Isafjordur began in autumn 1992 and was supervised by Einar Valour Christianson and Eirikur Christofersson. The walls and roof of the church are concrete. It is isolated from the outside. The outside of the masonry is lipid slime, which gives the church its yellow colour. The church can accommodate 300 people. It is also possible to open in the assembly hall and the front church, and can accommodate up to 500 people. There is an Icelandic tombstone on the church floor. It is also used on the pulpit and on the tabletop of the altar. All woodwork is made of oak. The church chairs were designed by Thordis Zoëga. The altar, pulpit and baptismal font were designed by the architect overlooking the church chairs. The acoustic advice provided by Stefan Einarsson as well as the music and vocals are very good in the church. On the side altar at the north wall of the church is the new composition of Christ Theodor Thorvaldsen, a gift from Hnífsdalssafn, but in the old church was casting the same work. On the side of the model of Christ there are memorial plaques for several paths, which lie under the church floor. 

The wall of the church of the church of Isafjordur remained empty for the first ten years and the meeting house was decorated. In autumn 2005, a competition was held to design a new altar. Four young artists were invited to submit proposals. The choice was Olaf Nordal's idea, which she calls the Bird of Heaven. The work is based on the legend of the Saviour and the salary. In the legends of John Arnason, the story looks like this:

Christ once collected clay birds with other Jewish children on Sabbath day. When the children were in this activity for some time, one of the Sadducees came; he was very old and disoriented and accused the children of this Sabbath day activity. But he was not alone, but went to the clay birds, and smashed them all in front of the children. When Christ saw what was happening, he guided his hand through all the images of the birds he had created, and they immediately flew up alive. But these are praises, and therefore their tweets are "beasts" or "beasts of glory" singing their glory and praise to the Lord.

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