Norway: Crown Prince Haakon celebrated Rygge Church’s 900th anniversary

Norway: Crown Prince Haakon celebrated Rygge Church’s 900th anniversary

Norway – Crown Prince Haakon has celebrated Rygge Church’s 900 years anniversary. During the visit to the church, the Crown Prince saw the portal that dates the church to the year 1120. Rygge church is thus the Norway`s oldest church that is still in use.

The current altarpiece in Rygge church came into place in 1740. Between 1786 and 1867 the church was privately owned by local wealthy farmers. The baptismal font is estimated to be from the year 1225 and the pulpit is from 1675. The oldest church bell that is still in use dates from the beginning of the 15th century.

On the church hill, on September 8th, the Crown Prince met Bishop Atle Sommerfeldt, Priest Tor Bjørn Osberg and parish priest Ingvild Osberg. On the way to the church, the local trumpeter, Stian Omenås, played the anniversary fanfare in honour of the Crown Prince`s arrival.

Rygge church is a single-ship church from the Middle Ages, and in 1967 the church went through a major restoration. Mayor Hanne Tollerud opened the exhibition with pictures from the anniversary book and the bishop welcomed the Crown Prince for a tour inside the stone church.

The church is an important institution for many people. A 900th anniversary tells a lot about the church’s place in Norway’s history. The church anniversary is also part of Moss city’s 300th anniversary and the celebration of the amalgamation of municipalities in south-east Norway.

Rygge church in Kirkegrenda* village. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Recent research indicates that it may have been King Sigurd Jorsalfare who started construction of the church in 1120. Sigurd Jorsalfare ruled the Norwegian kingdom from 1103 together with his brothers, Olav Magnusson and Øystein. From 1123, he was sole king of Norway. He is otherwise famous for leading the Norwegian Crusade to Jerusalem, and was the first European king to personally participate in a crusade.

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway visited the old curch just before he started on a tour on Tuesday this week which will see him travel around large parts of Norway to see how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the country. The journey will eb partly done on board the royal yacht “KS Norge”. The first stop on the journey was Østfold, Norway’s southeastern region.

Featured image: Crown Prince Haakon celebrated Rygge Church’s 900th anniversary (Simen Sund, Det kongelige hoff)


*Kirkegrenda is a village in the municipality of Rygge in Østfold, Norway. Its population (SSB 2005) is 294.

The village was built up around Rygge Church (Rygge kirke), hence the name Kirkegrenda which means church hamlet. Rygge church is a medieval era church. The church belongs to Vestre Borgesyssel deanery in Diocese of Borg. Rygge church is one of the county’s better preserved medieval stone churches. The Romanesque church was built around the year 1170. Rygge church was originally a chapter church, which had income from a larger area than a parish and contained several villages. The building material is stone and brick. The building is characterized by the use of large stones, partly of granite, with parts of the facade carved, including large parts of the north portal. It has long nave and lower and narrower choir. The church was restored in 1967.


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