Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mariager Abbey /Mariager Klosterkirke , Mariagerfjord Kommune

Mariager klosterkirke, Mariagerfjord Kommune, Region Nordjylland


Mariager Abbey  (Danish: Mariager Klosterkirke) was a Bridgettine abbey founded in 1430 which became an important pilgrimage site, in the present town of Mariager in northern central Jutland. The abbey was established in the rule of king Erik of Pommern in the period 1425-1432. The real founding year is regarded as 1446, where Pope Eugenius 4. confirmed a transfer of the two earlier Bridgettine abbeys in Glenstrup and Randers to the Bridgettines in Maribo. .

In the abbeys of the Bridgettines lived both monks and nuns, but in separated buildings on each side of the church. The nunnery consisted probably of 3 wings which formed a closed yard, where the church was the south wing. The monastery were several buildings south of the church and the north wing as an addition. Preserved till present is the church and the north wing of the monastery, while the other buildings were demolished once in the 1700s and the beginning of the 1800s.

Mariager abbey, (Mariager Klosterkirke) lies in the town Mariager by the beautiful Mariager fjord
Like in Maribo at Lolland a small town grew up around the abbey, but Mariager is still one of the smallest market towns in Denmark.

The abbey in Mariager was built as a three-naved church with a characteristic stepped east gable and a later added slende tower to the west. The reformation meant the final days of the abbey, although it was first abolished as late as 1588. The large church became the parish church of Mariager town - and during the next 200 years there were financial problems about maintaining the large building. The town management gave up in 1788, and the church was rebuilt in 1788-1789. The drastic rebuild was a demolition of the four eastern sections, including the choir, while the rest was rebuilt from a three-naved church into a cross-armed church, supported by outside pillars. At the cross arm was in the 1930s rebuilt a longhouse choir

Frescoe on the north wall of the choir is a fragment of a freso from the first building period,. a magnificent descriptions of persons, artistically some of the best frescoes from the 1400s. Upon a pillar in northern cross arm is a strange image, meant to show a coat of arms of Thor Degn from the 1200s, but it was obviously painted much later.

In the tower room are two famous procession- figures, the wooden sculopturres are realistic but also typical for the period ab 1500s. The figures are concentrated about Christ and his suffering and death.

The Renaissance pulpit is a simple work ab 1720s, the decoration is from 1724. The altarpiece is a fine Baroque woodcarving  from 1690. In the big field is the big supper which is the main motif with the crucified Christ above, surrounded by the nearest , Maria, Johannes and the apostles in woodcarved free-standing figures.

Upon the south wall of the nave hangs a large late Gothic crucifix . The baptismal font is in wood from the middle of the 1700s and given to the church by its benefactor etatsråd Matthias de Thestrup (+ 1769), whose burial chapel was abolished in 1931. From earlier burial chapels were Holger Eriksen Rosenkrantz from 1495, which was abolished in the 1560s when Jørgen Rosenkrantz of Rosenholm collected the bodies of his late forefathers in Hornslet kirke. Also the family Løvenbalk from the manors Tjele and Aunsbjerg had built and owned a burial chapel by the church.

by the kloster lake
The most famous headstone in Mariager belongs to the last Catholic Børglum bishop, the excessive Stygge Krumpen, who died in Asmild kloster in 1551,  a magnificent portrait stone celebrateds his memory,but he is not buried under the stone, his mummified body was shown to the public until 1871- 1873 in an open coffin, but common good manners demanded that the body was moved to the burial chapel of the noble family Krumpen. The bodies from this chapel were in 1931 buried in the church yard.

On the big church yard are kept pieces of pillars and some debris of graves from the abbey period. The church yard was extended in 1894 and is marked by the civil grave memorials of the market town Mariager. 

by the klosterlake.

Source: Danmarks kirker, Niels Peter Stilling, 2000; Nordens kirker ; National Museum; 

 photo: grethe bachmann

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