Thursday, January 07, 2010

Rebuilding and Union.

Christianity and Church in the early Middle Ages VI

Maribo Cathedral, Lolland

Valdemar IV Atterdag's rebuilding of the kingdom after the disintegration and mortgaging in the 1320s and 1330s was restricted by several circumstances. The plague, the black death, raged ab. 1350 and meant, especially in the countryside, a stop for church building. About 300 village churches, especially in Jutland, were demolished during the next 100 years. At the same time the magnates did not wish without further notice to give up their achieved independence in the civil war in the 1330s. This gave unfortunately Valdemar a bad reputation when he was able to subdue the local aristocratic "little kings". It was not until his wise daughter Margrethe 1's rule that the so-called Nordic Union calmed down the Danish magnates, who now had got a new lebensraum in Sweden and Norway.

Voer Church, North Jutland

Voer church, Ingeborg Skeel's burial chapel.

During the 1400s started a new stage in the church building. A considerable part of the Danish village churches were rebuilt in late Gothic style and especially in the second half of the century with porches, side chapels and towers. The building was like in the 1100s due to the magnate class. The churches had now to be visible with a tower and the nobility began to furnish the churhes as their private burial chapels. In the towns the old big churches were extended with mighty towers aiming towards heaven. But this was the last spasm of the Catholic church. Attempts were made to strenghten and reform the closter system and the common Catholic religious worship. The nobility ensured in the beginning of the 1500s a monopoly of the bishop-offices and took in this way part in undermining the church from within. It all ended with civil war, Grevens Feud and the reformation in 1536.

Example: Tårup,North Jutland. village church with tower, porch, apse, sidechapels

Next: Reformation and Renaissance

photo: grethe bachmann

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