korskirken - the church of the cross
The Festival Grieg in Bergen is performed in this charming, medieval church in the center of Bergen City. The church is a very populare concert arena, with lots of concerts and other events throughout the year.
A MEDIAVAL CHURCH FROM THE 12th CENTURY
The history of the Church of the Cross goes back to 1181 when the Holy Church of the Cross was first erected. The name has no connection with today's characteristic cruciform plan. The church acquired that design in the seventeenth century when it was extended, first with the south wing and later with the north wing.
MANY RESTORATIONS DURING 800 YEARS
There have been many extensions, reconstructions and restorations through the ages, often as a result of the numerous fires which have ravaged in the history of the church and town (e.g. in 1580, 1623, 1640, 1702). Thus the church has experienced many changes in both its exterior and interior.
The Church of the the Cross is, therefore, a living example of several periods. Romanesque nave, fragments of the late Gothic, Renaissance int he tower, Baroque in the wings, cast-iron windows from about the middle of the last century.
One can imagine the first church as a roman church in pure style with an outer masonry of finely hewn soapstone blocks resting upon beautifully moulded plinths. The cornice was ornamented with a Roman frieze. An etching from about this time shows that this church, like Mariakirken (St. Mary's), had two towers at that time with pyramid spires to the west. There are many indications that these towers were built of timber and are, therefore, not the original. The porch in the north end gable is from 1632 when this end was completed. It is considered one of the finest Renaissance porches in Norway.
The church as three church bells. They were installed in the tower when it was rebuilt in 1743. The inscriptions on the big and medium sized bells show that they were made in Amsterdam in 1707. They are decorated with cherubs heads, frollicking and fluting guardian angles, floral motifs and acanthus leaves. The smallest bell has been recast in 1889 and has simple ornamentation and no inscription apart from the name of the founder and year.
The churchyard has gradually been reduced to a small lot at the north end with one or two known graves. The soldiers' memorial in front of the chancel reminds us of the Church of the Cross' function as a garrison church until after the last war. This stately memorial is crowned with canon bores and was erected in memorial of the soldiers who fell at Alvøen 16th May 1808 in battle against the English frigate "Tartar".
In the 1890's the church acquired the interior which it has retained more or less, to this day. The roof-supports as well the pulpit and the pews are from this period. At the same time of extensive improvements after the last war certain changes were made. Amongst these the pulpit and pewes were cleansed with lye and four galleries removed.
The churc's organ dates also from the 1890's. It was built by the well known German maker, Albert Hollenbach, and has 38 stops. In 1929 it was rebuilt and extended by three stops. After the 800's anniversary of the church in 1981, the organ underwent extensive restoration.
The stained glass window behind the altar is the work of Frøydis Haavardsholm, and was installed in 1928. The Garden of Gethsemane picture by Eilif Petersen was then moved from the alter wall to the south end of the nave.
The fount is hewn in soapstone and comes fram the beginning of the 20th century.
NIGHT CONCERTS every THU at 10.30 pm