24 May 2016

Roskilde Cathedral ...

 ... in the Kingdom of Denmark could occupy a long article. With its combination of brickwork and whitewash, I found it curiously reminiscent of the Anglican Shrine Church at Walsingham ... and of early brick Romanesque churches on the shores of the Med.

Two things that struck me:

(1) The four pillars surrounding the chancel contain within them (behind stone tablets) and at some height the remains of four people concerned with the Cathedral; together with frescoes. These individuals died well before the Cathedral was built, but were moved here from an earlier church. What interested me was that, during one of the most memorable expeditions of my life, to visit the Fathers and Brethren of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer on Papa Stronsay, my kindly hosts took me to see the beautiful rose-coloured Romanesque cathedral at Kirkwall. There, in 1919, were discovered behind loose ashlar stones on the rectangular pier of the choir's South Arcade, the relics of S Magnus. In a similar place are those of S Rognvald. Was it a common practice to reinter important people within the pillars of churches? Or is there something 'Nordic' about it?

(2) The medieval side-chapels at Roskilde preserve much of their medieval painting, revealing that they each had their own complete set of Consecration Crosses. This presumably implies that each was consecrated separately with the full Consecration Rite for a church ... so that they are rather like what I believe some Byzantines call parekklesiai. Yes?

1 comment:

Ben Whitworth said...

I can't answer your question about "pillar-burial", as the Kirkwall examples were the only ones I knew of before reading this blog post, but did you know that Roskilde Cathedral's altar dedicated to St Magnus of Orkney was located just a little way west of the south-west chancel pillar? Roskilde was one of the centres of the cult of St Magnus. His feast day (19 August in Denmark) was kept as one of highest rank within the city of Roskilde, and of the four early printed books containing his liturgical office, two were printed for Roskilde.