Monday, March 23, 2015

Broager church, Broager parish, Sønderborg Municipality

photo wikipedia.
Broager kirke, Broager sogn, Sønderborg Kommune. 

The Romanesque church in Broager was built ab. 1200. The building is in monk stone, the apse, choir and nave are from about 1209, the late Romanesque broad tower is from about 1300, while the two Gothic spires are from about 1400. (31 m high)  A Gothic sacristy and two Gothic cross-arm chapels are also from the 1400s.The church is consegrated to virgin Mary, but it is more known for its connection to Sct. George.

The church in Broager is mentioned the first time in 1209, where the Slesvig bishop gives the tiende (=the tax-income) of seven churches in Sønderjylland to the monks in Ryd kloster (now Lycksborg/ Glücksborg).

The twin towers of Broager church were said to be important during the Preussian bombardment of Dybbøl in the spring 1864. A lookout post was posted upon a footbridge between the spires from where the soldiers could see the grenade rebates in relation to Dybbøl Mølle. And then the aim of the Danish canons could be corrected.
phoito: gb

The main nave of the church forms a cross where the side naves are cross-arms. In the Gothic period the flat beamed ceiling was replaced with high point-arched vaults. In this way there are two styles in the church, both the round-arched Romanesque and the point-arched Gothic style. The church room is one of the most integrated village church rooms in Denmark - there is a gorgeous light among the Gothic cross vaults.

The church is white washed and with many decorations, cornices, friezes,pilasters, three Romanesque round-arched windows are kept.The roofs are covered with slate, except the apse which has a lead roof. Women had their own entrance which is bricked-up. There is also a bricked-up door by the choir. The main entrance today is via the room under the tower. In a corner of the bricked-up north door are two logos, possibly the signature of the brick burner.

 Collection of frescoes

photo all frescoes: gb

There are many frescoes in Broager church from 4 periods, Romanesque from the beginning of the 1200s, Gothic from  ab. 1500 and Renaissance paintings from 1587. Supposedly the earliest frescoes are from the time when the church was built.  In the frescoes from the 1500s is a story about Sct George's martyrdom in divided frames.

photo wikipedia
Below the Sct George- frescoe stands one of the finest "Sct George and the Dragon" sculptures. (Sct George = Danish: Sct. Jørgen) in Denmark.

The sculpture of Sct. George is from the 1400s, while the funny fire-breathing green dragon with a horn in the forehead was renewed  in 1880.

photo gb

The church was changed and rebuilt several times through the centuries - in the late 1990s the frescoes were thoroughly cleansed and the colour-plan in the church was changed from dark to light shades. The pulpit and the baptismal font were moved and the altarpiece was moved ftom its place above the altar which made three southern windows visible. The restoration was in cooperation with architects Hans Lund og Alan Havsteen-Mikkelsen. The last mentioned designed the new altar railings and created the glass mosaics in the middle window of the apse..

photo gb

The altarpiece from 1717 had in 1993 a thorough restoration, made by Anthon Günther Lundt from Sønderborg. The style is Baroque with accanthus foliage. The pulpit is renaissance from 1591 made at one of the fine local joiner-workshops in Flensborg. The baptismal font origins from the first building period of the church together with the communion table. The font - a socalled Funen-type -  is  put together by two granite types, a reddish basin upon a greyish foot. Upon the foot are four carved male heads, two with pageboy haircuts and no  beard and two with center parting and beard. The lid of the font is a wooden crown from 1787. The baptismal dish is brass from the same period.
The font shows the Broager connection to the south Funen district. 

Other inventory:
A Gothic crucifix from second half of the 1200s. The large organ is decorated with a Rococo gallery  from 1746- The nine painted fields in the gallery refer to texts in the bible. In the church are also four pretty chandeliers, where the earliest is from ab. 1700.

photo; wikipedia

Upon the eastern section of the church yard stands a large wooden bell stable/belfry, built in 1650 in heavy oak. The bell house measures 7x7 m in basic plan and is the largest in Denmark  The church yard is one of the most interesting in Denmark. A  medieval custom is still used. Graves are divided north south east west in direction of the villages.

As for a view of Danish history the church yard is a monument to Danish-German conflicts  or cooperation during the latest 150 years. The Preussian army-batteries shot down the Dybbøl position  in April 1864  before the decisive attack on the 18 April. The highplaced Broager landscape was always of a strategic importance which is also is also reflected in the church yard.

Dybbøl , photo gb

The warrior graves from the Three Year War 1848-1851 are like in other places in this disttict a memory of a war without winners - but the large grave site from the war in 1864 is a manifestation over Danish and especially German warrior deed as is seen in the long inscriptions of the memorials.. In front of a common grave among the German graves is an obelisk for 73 Danish soldiers, who were killed at Dybbøl in 1864 in a losing battle to keep the land on Danish hands.

The tragic war-history's ultimate monument is seen just outside the expanded church yard:  A giant hill, built as a memory of the killed soldiers from Broagerland. The hill was plant with nine oaks for nine owner associations . In front of the hill are 165 field stones, one for each affected family , with carved names for 190 killed soldiers from WWI in 1914-1918. In 1920 the land of Broager came together with the other part of North Schleswig back to Denmark. The socalled Gendarmestone opposite the giant hill was erected in memory of two Danish policemen who died in German concentration camp in WWII.

Niels Peter Stilling, Politikens bog om Danmarks Kirker, 2000,
Danmarks Kirker , Nationalmuseet.

photo: Broager kirke, grethe bachmann
photo: wikipedia