Saint Olaf's Church in Novgorod


Saint Olaf's Church in Novgorod

Saint Olaf's Church in Novgorod was a church for Varangians which existed from the 11th century until the 14th century in the Russian city of Novgorod.

The church was located in the permanent Varangian centre of trade in Novgorod's trading area ("torgovaja storona"), which was called "got'skij dvor" ("Gothic court") according to an early tradition.Pritsak 1981:370] The functions of the church was not merely to provide a place of worship, but it also served as a treasury and as a warehouse, as was generally the case for churches in Varangian and Hanseatic trading colonies. Like other medieval churches it was probably also a defensive structure to which may testify the Sjusta Runestone in Uppland, Sweden, which was raised after a man named Spjallboði who died in the church.Jansson 1980:23] Omeljan Pritsak, on the other hand, suggests that Spjallboði may have died in a fire c. 1070–1080, one of several that ravaged the church.

Saint Olaf began to be venerated as a saint almost directly after his death in 1030, and in 1050, the cult had arrived in England. Saint Olaf had special connections with the city of Novgorod since its Grand Prince Yaroslav I the Wise was not only the brother-in-law of Olaf, but he also fostered Olaf's son Magnus I of Norway at his court.

In addition to appearing on the Sjusta Runestone, Saint Olaf's church is also mentioned in two written sources. The "Acta Sancti Olavi regis et martyris" was written by Trondheim's archbishop Eysteinn Erlendsson in the third quarter of the 12th century. It informs that a Latin priest named Stephan served in Saint Olaf's church in Novgorod ("Holmegarder").Pritsak 1981:370-371] There is also a draft of a German treaty with Novgorod which dates to c. 1230, and it talks of "Curia gotensium cum ecclesia et cimiterium Sancti Olaui", which means "the Gothic court (i.e. "Got'skij dvor") with Saint Olaf's church and cemetery".Pritsak 1981:371]

The "Novgorod First Chronicle" only talks of the church of the Varangians ("cerky ... variaz'skaja na T"rgovišči"). The chronicle mentions the church four times because of fires. In 1152, the church burnt down together with eight other churches, in 1181, it burnt down because of lightning. In 1217, the church is mentioned as "Varjaz'skaja božnica", the "Varangian shrine" and it reports that considerable amounts of merchandise belonging to the Varangians were completely lost in a fire. The last mention is from 1311, when it burnt down together with seven other churches.

The "Acta Sancti Olavi" talks of a miracle worked by Saint Olaf during a fire in Novgorod, and Pritsak suggests that it was the fire of 1152.

Notes

ources

*Jansson, Sven B. (1980). "Runstenar". STF, Stockholm. ISBN 91-7156-015-7
*Pritsak, Omeljan. (1981). "The origin of Rus"'. Cambridge, Mass.: Distributed by Harvard University Press for the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. ISBN 0-674-64465-4


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Olaf I of Norway — Olaf Tryggvason King of Norway Reign 995–1000 Born 960s …   Wikipedia

  • Olaf Ier de Norvège — L élection d Olaf Tryggvason (en tunique rouge) au titre de roi de Norvège, peinture de Peter Nicolai Arbo. Titre …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Veliky Novgorod — For other cities named Novgorod, see Novgorod (disambiguation). Veliky Novgorod (English) Великий Новгород (Russian) …   Wikipedia

  • Varangian Runestones — The Varangian Runestones are runestones that mention voyages to the East ( Austr ) or the Eastern route ( Austrvegr ), or to more specific eastern locations such as Garðaríki (what is today Russia and Ukraine). There are also many additional… …   Wikipedia

  • Varangian runestones — …   Wikipedia

  • Henry (Bishop of Uppsala) — Infobox Saint name=Henry, Bishop of Uppsala birth date= death date=Traditionally January 20 1150Harvnb|Heikkilä|2005|pp=55 ndash;62.] feast day=January 19 venerated in=Catholic Church of Finland imagesize=200px caption=Henry walking on his… …   Wikipedia

  • Tallinn — High rise buildings looking over the Old Town …   Wikipedia

  • Early Finnish wars — Scattered information on wars against Finland or by Finns to neighboring countries prior to the Swedish conquest has survived in Icelandic sagas, German, Norwegian, Danish and Russian chronicles and Swedish legends. Many of the early Finnish wars …   Wikipedia

  • Hamburg — This article is about the German city. For other uses, see Hamburg (disambiguation). Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg   State of Germany   …   Wikipedia

  • Viking — For other uses, see Viking (disambiguation). Danish seamen, painted mid twelfth century …   Wikipedia