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27.06.2020

Lund Cathedral

Cathedral in Lund (Swedish: Lunds domkyrka) is the cathedral of the Swedish Lutheran Church in Lund, Skania, Sweden. It is the residence of the Bishop of Lund and the main church of the Diocese of Lund. It was built as a Catholic cathedral of the Archbishopric Church of all Scandinavian countries, dedicated to St. Lawrence. It is one of the oldest stone buildings still in use in Sweden.

The Lund Cathedral was named "the most powerful representative of Romanesque architecture in the Scandinavian countries". At the time it was built, Lund and the cathedral belonged to Denmark. The main altar was consecrated in 1145 and by that time the cathedral was mostly finished, the western towers were built a little later. Its architecture is clearly influenced by modern North-Italian architecture, transmitted through the Rhine Valley. The earliest architect was named Donatus, although his exact role in the construction of the cathedral is difficult to determine. The new cathedral was richly decorated with stone sculptures, including two unusual statues in the crypt, traditionally called "The Giant Finn and his wife", which is described in a local legend. The cathedral was severely damaged in a fire in 1234, and major restoration work was carried out in the early 16th century under the leadership of Adam van Dyuren. After the Reformation the cathedral suffered from loss of income and dilapidation. In 1658 the city of Lund and the cathedral became part of Sweden after the Treaty of Roskilde. In 1668 in Lund Cathedral took place the foundation ceremony of Lund University. Repair work was carried out during the 18th century, but in 1832 the cathedral was recommended for complete restoration. Later most of the cathedral was restored and rebuilt during most of the XIX century. First the work was led by Carl Georg Brunius and then architect Helgo Zettervall and was completed only in 1893. The changes made during the 19th century were extensive; among other things, Zettervall demolished the entire western part, including the towers, and rebuilt it according to its own designs.

The medieval cathedral houses several historical furnishings and works of art. The main altar of the cathedral was donated to the cathedral in 1398, and there are also Gothic choir stalls, bronze and astronomical clocks from the 15th century (although the cathedral was completely renovated in 1923). When it was built, Lund Cathedral was richly decorated with stone sculptures in Romanesque style. It also contains late medieval stone sculptures from the time of the restoration of Adam van Dyuren. After the Reformation, the cathedral was also equipped with a decorated pulpit. A later date is the large mosaic in the apse of Joachim Skovgaard, erected in 1927. The Lund Cathedral has six church organs, one of which is the largest in Sweden, and is also used as a concert hall.

Christian missionaries from present-day Germany and England were active in Christianizing Denmark, and Denmark eventually became part of the Archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen. Lund was part of Denmark at the time. With the strengthening of the Danish monarchy in the second half of the 11th century and the political crisis in continental Europe, the Danish monarchs had the opportunity to circumvent German influence on church policy in Denmark. In 1060, an episcopal mix was created in Lund. At the same time another episcopal mix was created in Dalby, very close to Lund. However, when the first bishop of Lund died (Henry of Lund), the former bishop of Dalby, Egino, was established in Lund and Dalby was left as the bishop's residence. At the same time, in 1103 Lund was proclaimed Archbishop of Lund, supervising all the Nordic countries.

Some embryonic settlement probably existed on the place of Lund Cathedral in the late X - early XI centuries, but the remains of buildings were not found there. Lund Cathedral is one of the oldest stone buildings still used in Sweden. In the Middle Ages the cathedral was surrounded by several buildings serving the diocese, of which only the Liberiet library, which at one time served as a library, has been preserved.

The earliest written mention of the church in Lund, dedicated to St. Lawrence - the patron saint of Lund Cathedral in the Middle Ages - dates back to 1085. A little later, the sources mention both the new and the old church dedicated to St. Lawrence. During archaeological excavations in the cathedral in the 1940s, the foundations of another church inside the present building were discovered. The exact age, shape and functions of this predecessor of the cathedral were the subject of some controversy. Most scientists believe that the construction of the church on the site of the Lund Cathedral was started somewhere in the second half of the 11th century. Some time after that the construction of a new church was started on almost the same place, but on a larger project in the form of the present cathedral. The decision to keep Dalby as a bishopric and make Lund the only archbishopric in Scandinavia may have caused a change in plans.

Apart from the ambiguity that thus surrounds the very beginning of the cathedral's history, the construction of Lund Cathedral is probably one of the most well documented of all Romanesque churches. The library of the University of Lund still holds two modern records of the construction of the cathedral in the form of illuminated manuscripts Necrologium Lundense [sv] and Liber daticus vetustior [sv]. Both books contain annotations, written in Latin, with dates of the beginning of construction. The oldest part of the cathedral is a large tomb. Its main altar was opened on 30 June 1123, followed by the northern (1126) and southern (1131) side altars of the crypt. Only then the cathedral began to be used. One of the main functions of the crypt, apparently, was to serve as a baptismal place. The main altar of the cathedral was dedicated to St. Mary and St. Lawrence on September 1, 1145, in the presence of bishops from modern Germany, Denmark and Sweden, and the second Archbishop of Lund Eskil took part in the ceremony. By that time the cathedral, more or less of its current size, had been completed.

Unusual for that time, the architect of the cathedral is known as Donatus. This name can be found both in the Lundens Neurology (as "architect of Donatus") and in the Free Datic Wetüster. Donatus may have been responsible for the layout of the crypt and the above-ground cathedral up to the present northern and southern portals of the cathedral, although it is difficult to draw any definitive conclusions about its exact role. The same is true of his successor, perhaps a builder named Ragnar. The building erected at the time of Donatus and his successor shows the clear influence of Romanesque architecture in Lombardy, transmitted through the Rhine valley, and Donatus himself seems to have been from, or at least educated in, Lombardy. Speyer's Cathedral in western Germany is stylistically closely linked to Lund Cathedral (especially the crypt), and it has been suggested that Donatus came to Lund from Speyer, where construction more or less ceased in 1106 after the death of Emperor Henry IV. The similarities between Lund and Mainz cathedrals were also often pointed out, and the design of the apse is similar to that of St. Servatius Basilica in Maastricht. More generally, the origins of the style of the Lund Cathedral can be found in the Basilica of St. Ambrogio (Milan), the Cathedral of Modena and several churches in Pavia, all in northern Italy. Similar stylistic influences can be seen in other Danish cathedrals, such as the Cathedral of Riba.

The construction of Lund Cathedral must have attracted a lot of people and was a collective effort. In comparable but somewhat later workshops of Cologne and Uppsala Cathedrals there were about 100 and 60 people working respectively. The project played an important role in creating a workshop that could train local craftsmen and thus spread the artistic influence from continental Europe to Scandinavia. The stone sculptors Carl Stanmäster [sv], Martin Stanmäster [sv] and Maestatis were probably Scandinavians who were educated on the construction site. Many early Romanesque stone churches in rural areas, especially in Scania, but also in the rest of Sweden, show the direct influence of Lund's Cathedral, in particular Vä Church [sv] (Scania). Other examples are for example the Old Church of Lannaskede [sv] (Smoland), the Church of Hogstad [sv] (Östergötland) and the Church of Havdhem (Gotland).

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