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Norway - Ecclesiastical organization

14. Evidence of ecclesiastical organization and institutions

14A. Appearance of (arch)bishoprics - give date of disappearance as well if relevant 

According to Adam of Bremen, permanent bishoprics did not yet exist in Norway at the time of his writing, although there had been bishops in Norway since perhaps as early as the reign of Olav Tryggvason (995-1000). According to information contained within the earliest Christian legislation for Western Norway, the bishop worked in coincident ecclesiastical and legal jurisdictions during the time of Olav Kyrre. According to the Icelandic Hungrvaka, Olav Kyrre named Bjarnhard as bishop for Selja in for the northern portion of western Norway. He later moved to Bergen. Olav Kyrre was also responsible for the establishment of the bishopric of Trøndelag, and its seat in Trondheim. During the time of his reign or shortly thereafter, the bishopric of eastern Norway was established, with its seat in Oslo. The southwest of Norway was established as a diocese separate from Stavanger around 1125 at the latest. Hamar diocese was established around 1152 or 1153, and the Norwegian archdiocese was established at the same time. The exact year has not been determined because the sagas provide no information for the period of 1139 through 1155.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Adam of Bremen, Magistri Adam Bremensis Gesta Hammarburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, ed. B. Schmeidler as Magistri Adam Bremensis Gesta Hammarburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Scriptores rerum germanicarum in usum scholarum) II (Hannover 1917), transl. F. J. Tschan as Adam of Bremen: History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen (New York 1959).

Hungrvaka, in J. Sigurðsson et al. (eds), Biskupa sögur, gefnar út af Hinu ís lenzka bókmentafèlagi, Vol. I (København 1858), pp. 25-115.

Morkinskinna, ed. F. Jónsson (København 1932).

Regesta Norvegica, ed. E. Gunnes, Vol. I (Oslo 1989).

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Helle, K., 'Kongemakt og kristendom' in A. Ågotnes (ed.), Kristendommen slår rot, Onsdagskvelder i Bryggens Museum 10 (Bergen 1995), pp. 41-54.

Helle, K., 'Det første bispedømmet på Vestlandet' in M. Rindal (ed.), Selja - heilag stad i 1000 år (Oslo 1997), pp. 240-251.

14B. When do they have boundaries 

The bishoprics of Bergen and Trondheim had their mutual boundary defined during the period of Olav Kyrre's reign (1066-1093), but it is uncertain as to whether permanent boundaries were established so early on. The Oslo bishopric was established a little later, and the Stavanger bishopric got its borders in the 1120s. From its beginnings, the Bergen bishopric was comprised of the entire Gullatings legislative area: Sogn and Fjordane, Sunnmøre, Hordaland, Rogaland, Agder, Hallingdal and Valdres. Sunnmore was later transferred to Trondheim; the Bergen bishopric then comprised Hordaland and Sogn and Fjordane. Trondheim bishopric came to consist of the Trøndelags counties, Møre and Romsdal and Northern Norway. The Oslo bishopric comprised the areas around the Oslofjord, the interior part of Eastern Norway and Båhuslen (Sweden), which belonged at that time to Norway. After the partitioning of 1152/53, the Hamar bishopric came to comprise the inner portions of eastern Norway. Sunnmøre was transferred from Bergen to Trondheim some time before 1223.

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Helle, K., 'Det første bispedømmet på Vestlandet' in M. Rindal (ed.), Selja - heilag stad i 1000 år (Oslo 1997), pp. 240-251.

Helle, K., Gulatinget og Gulatingslova (Leikanger 2001).

Krag, C., Vikingtid og rikssamling 800-1130, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 2 (Oslo 1995).

14C. Appearance of monasteries

The first monasteries in Norway were Benedictine. In English accounts monks with connections to Norway are mentioned from the first half of the 11th century, amongst others a monk named Sigured who was bishop at the time of Olav Haraldsson. He was apparently a monk in England before coming to Norway. Research has found no reason to doubt this. There are however strong doubts concerning the value of English sources that state that the first attempt to found a monastery in Norway happened as early as 1028. Cnut the Great is said to have established a monastery near Trondheim. On the other hand, Norwegian and Icelandic sources from the end of the 1000s assert that a prominent Norwegian founded this monastery around 1100. Benedictine monasteries were also founded in Bergen and on Selja at the beginning of the 12th century, and a Benedictine convent was founded in Trondheim at a similar time. The Nonneseter convent, located in Bergen, was probably established in the 1140s, and the nuns most likely belonged to the Cistercian order. Jons Monastery was built around the middle of the 1100s or a little later. Lyse Monastery, located on the outskirts of Bergen, was founded in 1146. Jons Monastery belonged to the Augustinians, and Lyse Monastery was the first Cistercian Monastery in Norway. The Cistercian monastery on Hovedøya was established in 1147, and a monastery of the same order was established somewhat later in Trøndelag. Halsnøy Monastery was Augustinian, and was founded by a Norwegian earl around 1160. Several more Norwegian monasteries and convents were later established; these were primarily Dominican and Franciscan. Thirty-one monasteries and convents could be found in Norway during the Middle Ages. Most of these were small, and some existed for only short periods of time, of which we know little.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Historien om de gamle norske kongene, transl. A. Salvesen (Oslo 1971).

Passio Olavi, transl. E. Skard, Norrøne bokverk 26 (Oslo 1970).

Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla, ed. F. Jónsson as Heimskringla (København 1893- 1901), 4 vols., transl. L. M. Hollander as Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson (Austin 1964).

Theodricus Monachus, De antiquitate regum Norwagiensium, transl. D. & I. McDougall as An account of the ancient history of the Norwegian kings (London 1998).

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Borgehammar, S., 'Sunnivalegenden och den benediktinska reformen i England' in M. Rindal (ed.), Selja - heilag stad i 1000 år (Oslo 1997), pp. 270-292.

Dietrichson, L., Sammenlignende Fortegnelse over Norges Kirkebygninger i Middelalderen og Nutiden, Theologisk Tidsskrift for den Evangelisk-Lutherske Kirke i Norge 3rd Series Vol. 2 (Kristaiana 1888), No. 4.

Ekroll, Ø., Med kleber og kalk. Norsk steinbygging i mellomalderen 1050-1550 (Oslo 1997).

Helle, K., Under kirke og kongemakt 1130-1350, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 3 (Oslo 1995).

Krag, C., Vikingtid og rikssamling 800-1130, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 2 (Oslo 1995).

Lange, C. C. A., De norske Klostres Historie i Middelalderen (Kristiania 1856).

McLees, C., The ruin speaks: the church of the Benedictine Abbey of Nidarholm: report from excavations on the island of Munkholmen, Trondheim, 1988-1989 (Trondheim 1992).

14D. Appearance of parishes: in laws (prescription); in reality (priest assigned/tithe paid)

The provincial laws from the late eleventh or early twelfth century describe a very complex ecclesiastical organisation but we do not know to what extent this was reflected in reality. There was probably a gradual development of parishes in the modern sense which was not finished until well into the 13th century. Terms such as 'parish', 'vicar', 'parishioners' and the like do not become common in historical sources before the second half of the 13th century. Country-wide organization of the church was however begun early on, when both public and private owners built churches for various uses.

According to the Gulatingslovene, there should be only one church in each county, which is referred to as the principal, or the main church. (County is a translation of fylki, a regional division in Trøndelag, divided into eight fylki, and Western Norway, divided into six fylki. The units probably date from well before the Viking Age, in Trøndelag possibly from around 300-600. Fylki apparently did not exist in Eastern Norway until they were introduced after the model of Western Norway in the late thirteenth century.) The decision on this may go as far back as the time of Olav Haraldsson. All residents of each county were obliged to ensure that their main church was well-maintained. Each county should moreover have four 'fjordungskirker' - one church for each quarter of the population, as well as eight 'attungskirker'. Maintenance of these was the common responsibility of the residents. There was clearly a difference of rank between these different levels, and there is some evidence that the priests of the smaller units were subordinated to those of the larger. The complicated Church organisation of Western Norway's laws is unlikely however to have been so developed in practice. The template of organisation may be modelled on the older pattern of local churches, the ecclesiae baptismales, which were centres for large areas and existed for example in Anglo-Saxon England. The law denotes 'herredskirker' for smaller local communities, and 'høgendeskirker' ('convenience churches', built by wealthy people for private use, to avoid travelling long distances to get to church), which were privately owned churches. The law assumed that when private persons built churches, the owners would maintain the churches for future use. In the towns, congregational churches and royal chapels were erected. Bishops were responsible for appointing priests for the churches. As the population increased in the high Middle Ages, more and more churches got permission to carry out baptisms and funerals. The 'modern' parish organisation would then have developed gradually from the so-called 'høgendeskirker'. Private as well as public churches came to function in much the same ways as the oldest main churches, and all became parish churches.

According to Adam of Bremen, Norwegians had great respect for priests and churches, but had to pay for all transactions with the Church: "... The barbarians are not yet familiar with the tithe nor do they want to pay it, and therefore are pressed when there are other things that they should offer free of compensation. For everything must be paid for, both visits to the sick and funerals". The tithe was, according to a list from the bishopric of Trondheim, instituted during the time of Sigurd Jorsalfares (1103-1130). According to 12th-century laws, the tithe was to be divided evenly among the bishops, the church, priests and the poor.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Norges gamle Love indtil 1387, eds R. Keyser & P. A,. Munch, Vol. I (Kristiania 1846).

Gulatingslovi, transl. K. Robberstad (Oslo 1969).

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Helle, K., Under kirke og kongemakt 1130-1350, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 3 (Oslo 1995).

Krag, C., Vikingtid og rikssamling 800-1130, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 2 (Oslo 1995).

Skre, D., 'Missionary Activity in Early Medieval Norway. Strategy, Organization and the Course of Events', Scandinavian Journal of History, Vol. 23 (1998), pp. 1-19.

14E. Appearance of cathedral chapters

Norwegian cathedral chapters gradually appeared after the establishment of the archbishopric in 1152/1153. In the literature, cathedral chapter priests are referred to as "choristers", because they had permanent places in the cathedral chancel or choir, or as "canons", because the members of the European cathedral chapters originally lived according to a holy rule or canon, like regular clergy. They were however secular clerics in Norway, who made their livings from landed property, which came with each office of the cathedral chapters. En tale mot biskopene ("A Speech against the Bishops"), from the end of the 1100s, tells that Norwegian cathedrals first appointed canons after the archbishopric was established. Before this time, there could be found "no learned men or canons at most of the bishoprics" for consultations about episcopal elections. This nonetheless implies that some could be found at one or two of the bishoprics. In Bergen, the cathedral chapter came to be composed of twelve priests, and this appears to have been the norm. Hamar cathedral probably had less than this number, and the office of the archbishopric came to be twice as large.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
En tale mot biskopene, ed. A. Holtsmark (Oslo 1931).

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Helle, K., Bergen bys historie, Vol. I (Bergen 1982).

Helle, K., Under kirke og kongemakt 1130-1350, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 3 (Oslo 1995).

15. Evidence of church building

15A. Main architectural tasks (i. e. cathedrals, monastic buildings, royal chapels etc.)

The earliest stone building in the country of which there are reports is a palace that Magnus the Good ordered constructed in Trondheim. Harald Hardråde had this turned into a church, which was ready around 1050. Harald Hardråde also allowed the Maria Church in Trondheim to be built of stone. It was torn down around 1185. Because Trondheim was the country's most important town in the 11th century, a community of stonemasons developed here. The kings were perhaps its most important employers (see §15B). Olav Kyrre continued to build with stone in Trondheim, with the construction of the Christ Church, the earliest phase of what would later be the Nidaros Cathedral. This church was without a doubt the largest construction in Norway during the Middle Ages. It was to be home to the national cult of Olav Haraldsson, and to function as the royal family's burial church as well as the cathedral for the bishopric and later the archbishopric. Nidaros Cathedral was added to during the Middle Ages, so that the original church came to make up one arm of the cross- shaped cathedral. Many stone churches were built in Trondheim in the 1100s. A vassal founded the nearby Munkholmen Monastery around 1100. Early in the 1100s, two more monasteries, complete with churches and buildings made of stone were erected.

A cathedral, three stone monasteries and seven or eight stone churches were built in Bergen before 1200. Only the Maria Church is completely preserved. The building of Christ Church cathedral was started by Olav Kyrre, and took about 100 years to complete. It had a basilica-type nave, and was expanded in the 1200s and 1300s. The church was torn down in the 16th century. Construction of the Maria Church and the Cross Church was begun sometime in the 1130s or 1140s and is described as finished in the 1181 account of Sverres sagas. Construction of the Nicholas Church was begun early in the 1100s, and was ready before 1160. The Church of Nicholas was torn down during the 1500s. Øystein Magnussson established the Munkeliv Monastery in Bergen between 1103 and 1130. The monastery also held a beautiful stone church. Nonneseter monastery was probably begun in the 1140s. Jons Monastery was built around the middle of the 1100s, or perhaps a little later. Lyse Monastery outside of Bergen was founded around 1146.

The construction of three stone churches was begun in Oslo around 1100: the Maria Church located on royal grounds, one church located by Hovedøya Monastery and one in the centre of town. A church for the diocese was started in the time of Sigurd Jorsalfares, that is after 1110. The church was ready around the middle of the century. It was 55m long, and the nave was 30m. The church was torn down in the 1600s. Hovedøya Monastery was established in 1147.

Stavanger Cathedral was built in several phases, but the style shows that the church nave was finished in the middle of the 1100s. A stone church and a monastery are named in accounts of Tønsberg from 1191. On Selja in Nordjord, a church complex from the end of the 900s was expanded during the 11th century and in the beginning of the 12th century. Selja was the bishopric for Western Norway before the bishop moved to Bergen during Olav Kyrre's time. A monastery was established on Selja early in the 12th century.

The churches located within the confines of royal residences appear not to have been significant structures in the earliest years of the Middle Ages. The first royal chapels in both Oslo and Bergen appear to have been made of wood. New stone chapels were later built on the grounds of royal residences, in Bergen starting in the middle of the 13th century. This follows the same tradition of church building as elsewhere in Norway during the first centuries of Christianity. The oldest churches were mostly very small stave churches. The oldest dendrochronological dating of a stave church is the stave church at Urnes (Sogn), dated 1129-1130. Excavations however have revealed traces of predecessors in many churches. The dating of these remains is not as accurate, but several have provided datings from the 11th century. For instance: burials from the oldest traced church at Kaupang, Sogn and the oldest church under the church of St Clement in Oslo is dated to the 10th/11th century. Other archaeologically-located churches with an indicated date around the middle of the 11th century are for example Høre in Valdres or Lom in Gudbrandsdalen. In the towns and the larger villages, second and third generation churches were built of stone. Very little information exists concerning who built them, but it is believed that they were the result of the initiatives of prominent men who also financed them.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla, ed. F. Jónsson as Heimskringla (København 1893- 1901), 4 vols., transl. L. M. Hollander as Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson (Austin 1964).

Sverris saga, ed. G. Indrebø (Kristiania 1920), transl. J. Sephton as The saga of King Sverri of Norway: Sverrissaga (Felinfach 1994).

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Dietrichson, L., Sammenlignende Fortegnelse over Norges Kirkebygninger i Middelalderen og Nutiden, Theologisk Tidsskrift for den Evangelisk-Lutherske Kirke i Norge 3rd series Vol. 2 (Kristiana 1888), No. 4.

Eide, O. E., De toskipede kirker i Oslo (Bergen 1974).

Ekroll, Ø., Med kleber og kalk. Norsk steinbygging i mellomalderen 1050-1550 (Oslo 1997).

Helle, K., 'Det første bispedømmet på Vestlandet', in M. Rindal (ed.), Selja - heilag stad i 1000 år (Oslo 1997), pp. 240-251.

Hommedal, A. T., 'Frå heller til pilegrimskyrkje. Heilagstaden på Selja' in M. Rindal (ed.), Fra hedendom til kristendom. Perspektiver på religionsskiftet i Norge (Oslo 1996), pp. 112-124.

15B. Where churches were built 

Churches which were built on royal initiative during the period of Christianization were primarily built on ground owned by the king (also see §13). Attempts have been made to identify the 'county churches' or 'principal churches' to which the earliest laws refer from the oldest churches which are known. Olav Tryggvason's churches on Moster and on Selja may be such examples. It is believed that the most important churches were centrally-located, for example near seats of government (Moster) and at nodal points 'i leia' along the coast (Selja). Selja's history as a church centre is based on the relics found there. In Trondheim, several churches were built over the place where Olav Haraldsson had been buried. Places of special cult significance were natural church locations.

Research has also found a certain continuity between pre-Christian cult places and Christian churches. Mære church in Trøndelag has been the subject of archaeological examination, and gullgubber engraved with pre-Christian symbols (see §1C) were discovered on its grounds in postholes, associated with an older building on the same place as the church. Places where a church is located close to a non-Christian burial field or a monumental grave mound form equally obvious evidence of continuity between Christian and non-Christian cults. Some of the main churches in such places even have the word 'mound' (haug) in the name, like Alstadhaug, Sakshaug, Haug.

Quite a few of the main churches (fylkeskirker) in Trøndelag are built on medieval royal ground, which means that the king offered ground to the Church to build on. Research has also shown that churches were built on the ground of important farms in Western Norway and Trøndelag, which indicates that local well-to-do farmers supported the construction of churches. In Sogn og Fjordane churches seem to have been built by co-operation between people in the region. It is believed that men of influence built churches as they wished, and that these churches were constructed on their own properties. The earliest laws refer to the so-called 'høgendeskirker', private churches which the owner was responsible for maintaining. An alternative is that some of these churches were built on property confiscated by the king. The usual interpretation is that the churches were built by the king on royal property and/or the well-to-do farmers on their private land. Both were interested in applying their resources in a way which supported their authority over an increasing number of tenants. They probably had considerable influence on size, style, where the masons came from etc.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Gulatingslovi, transl. K. Robberstad (Oslo 1969).

Norges gamle Love indtil 1387, eds R. Keyser & P. A. Munch, Vol. I (Kristiania 1846).

Olafs saga, transl. A. Heinrichs as Olafs saga hins helga: die "Legendarische Saga" über Olaf den Heiligen (Heidelberg 1982), & K. Flokenes as Den Legendarische Olvassaga (Hafrsfjord 2000).

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Helle, K., Gulatinget og Gulatingslova (Leikanger 2001).

Holmsen, A., Eidsvolls bygds historie: Bygdehistorien til omkring 1700 (Oslo 1936).

Krag, C., Vikingtid og rikssamling 800-1130, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 2 (Oslo 1995).

Lidén, H.-E., 'From Pagan Sanctuary to Christian Church. The Excavations of Mære Church in Trøndelag' in Norwegian Archaeological Review Vol. 2 (1969), pp. 3-21.

Lidén, H.-E., 'Kultkontinuitetsproblemet. Ble kirken på Mære i Nord-Trøndelag bygget på hovets grunn?' in A. Ågotnes (ed.), Kristendommen slår rot, Onsdagskvelder i Bryggens Museum 10 (Bergen 1995), pp. 7-17.

Steinsland, G. & Sørensen, P. M., Menneske og makter i vikingenes verden (Oslo 1994).

15C. The location of the first royal churches

The first royal churches connected with royal residences were apparently built in the middle of the 11th century during the time of Harald Hardråde. In Trondheim, these were the stone Maria Church, finished in the 1180s, as well as a church made of wood which was located in Oslo. According to written sources Olav Tryggvasson as well as Olav Haraldsson built a church dedicated to St Clement, both in Trondheim. This church may have been built in the area of the king's residence, depending on one's interpretation of the sources. Skeletons have been found in the area where Olav's residence is supposed to have been located, but not the church. The area has not yet been properly excavated.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla, ed. F. Jónsson as Heimskringla (København 1893- 1901), 4 vols., transl. L. M. Hollander as Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson (Austin 1964).

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Ekroll, Ø., Med kleber og kalk. Norsk steinbygging i mellomalderen 1050-1550 (Oslo 1997).

15D. Typical features of buildings, first dates, architectural influences from which areas

Architecture varies slightly in different parts of Norway. In the earliest period the churches in the western and middle parts of Norway were influenced by the Anglo- Norman styles of England and Normandy, while those of eastern Norway were influenced by those of Denmark and Germany. Romanesque style dominated in the 12th century and into the early 1200s, though Gothic style was introduced at the cathedral in Nidaros as early as the late 1100s. Churches in Eastern Norway usually had a simple ground plan in which the nave was not divided by pillars. The cathedrals in Hamar and Oslo were basilicas, as were a handful of other churches.

The inter-regional variation in architecture is also observable in episcopal palaces. There is a tendency for the architecture of the palaces to show a strong similarity to architecture of the local region as well as the architecture of bishop's palaces more generally within the archbishopric. This means that in spite of similarities which characterise the Norwegian bishop's palaces, the bishop's palaces in the Western Isles (Orkneys, Greenland, Iceland, Shetland) show strong affinities with local building traditions, in the same way as the palaces in Eastern Norway show stronger similarities to Swedish palaces than to those of the Western Isles.

In examinations carried out during the restoration of Nidaros Cathedral, the original latter 11th century church was discovered to have been simply built, perhaps influenced by Anglo-Saxon or Norman building traditions. Gerhard Fischer called the oldest parts of the cathedral in Trondheim 'Anglo-Saxon' because of the similarity between its ground plan and that of Anglo-Saxon churches, but he also found some differences. Very little was left of this church to give evidence of any particular style. It had a square chancel, a rectangular nave and a western tower as wide as the nave, and was 50m long along the exterior. After the establishment of the archbishopric and the cathedral chapter in the middle of the 1100s, the church was expanded in a Romanesque style. Fischer called this building phase of the cathedral 'Norman' in style, based on chevron decoration and on other aspects of the decoration with strong similarities to churches in Normandy, but also and more particularly to churches in England. There are for instance similar masks, and a capital in the Nidaros Cathedral which is almost identical with a capital in Lincoln Cathedral (the so-called ¨Lincoln- capital'). But this style was not used in the whole church: after a short while, the chevron-decoration was given up and replaced with water-leaf decoration, which probably represents a purely English influence. The church got an English-influenced cross nave, and it is believed that its masons were English. In the 1180s, after the exile of the archbishop to England, the cathedral was expanded in a Gothic style. The first part of this was the eight-sided extension, the octagon, built over Olav Haraldsson's grave. The octagon has columns with strong moulding and rich ornamentation. It was ready between 1210 and 1220. A chancel in the style of early English Gothic was then added. The church was the largest building which had been built up to that time in the country.

The Maria Church in Bergen was built in several phases. The church has two west towers. This is normal in the high- and late-medieval period, but is very rare as early as the construction of this church, finished c.1180. The closest parallel of a similar age is the cathedral of Lund (Skåne, Denmark). Of course the church in Bergen might well have been influenced by Lund, which was the archbishopric of Norway until Nidaros was founded in 1152/53. Lidén (2000) finds similarities of masonry, ornaments and style which may indicate that the masons came from the Lund region. On the other hand, he points out that the monastery at Lyse was founded directly from Fountains Abbey in York, and they brought their own craftsmen. The two-tower west front was also normal in England and Normandy, and the architecture of the Maria Church may also have been influenced from there. The church was later modified in a high Romanesque style. The nave has round arches and heavy pillars without much decoration.

The largest churches were made of stone, but most - perhaps three quarters - of the churches built during the Middle Ages were made of wood. These were, in early Christian times, small buildings which had poles buried in the ground to support their structure. This method of building was improved upon around the year 1100. At this time, the poles or 'staves' as well as the upright wall boards began to be attached to cross-ties and eventually set on foundations so that the construction became more permanent. Some of these stave churches have been preserved. They could be decorated with wooden carvings. Amongst other things there were magnificent portals with carved ornamentation and fabulous animals. The ornamentation reflected a trend in western churches from the end of the 11th century. It originated in Northern Italy, and moved north principally by way of the Rhine Valley. In the northern countries, the cathedral in Lund was an example followed by many, but Norway was influenced by the British Isles as well. The relationship between the architecture in wooden and stone churches has been much discussed, and the construction of and decoration in the stave churches are thought to have been influenced by those of the stone churches. The early stone churches are decorated in the Romanesque style. However, in the wooden churches it is notable that we sometimes find non-Christian myths illustrated on the portals.

The occurrence of these myths has been debated. It has recently been interpreted as an aspect of the general interest in the past during the 13th century, but may also be understood as a parallel to the 'chaos'-creatures among the decorations on the stone churches. The most famous example is the illustration of the myth about Sigurd (Favnesbane) killing the dragon Fafner and his brother Regin, and throwing Gunnar into a hollow filled with snakes. The myth is known from both the older and younger Edda, Volsungesaga and from different German sources. It is illustrated on several church portals, the one from Hylestad stave church being the most famous, from the first half of 13th century. The church no longer exists, but the illustrated portal survives. The function and meaning of the Sigurd motif has been debated: Gunnar Nordanskog discusses old interpretations and different empiric cases in a recent paper (2003). He discusses for instance whether Sigurd really is 'pagan' or a pure Christian construction. His conclusion is that the portals should be studied as part of a process in 13th century Scandinavia in which different actors made conscious use of the past. The old skaldic poems were used in Christian academic education during the 12th century and the following period, as were Virgil and Ovid. The poems linked old tradition and Latin grammar. Christianity was by this time long-established, and the religious meaning in the old myths was not important anymore, but could be reduced to political symbols. It did not matter whether the dragon-killer was Sigurd or Michael. The myth may have been used by private church owners as a way of showing off a link to royalty or their own genealogy to reinforce their authority.

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Birkeli, F., Hva vet vi om kristningen av Norge? (Oslo 1982)

Bjerknes, K. & Lidén, H.-E., The Stave Churches of Kaupanger. The present Church and its predecessors, Norwegian Antiquarian Bulletin No.1 (Oslo 1975).

Ekroll, Ø., Med kleber og kalk. Norsk steinbygging i mellomalderen 1050-1550 (Oslo 1997). Fischer, Gerhard, Domkirken i Trondheim. Kirkebygget i middelalderen, Nidaros erkebispestol og bispesete 1153-1953 1-2 (Oslo 1965), 2 vols.

Ingvaldsen, L. M., Kirkene i søndre Sunnhordland i tidlig- og høymiddelalder. Hvor ble kirkene bygget, hvorfor ble de bygget her og av hvem? Hovedfagsoppgave i arkeologi med vekt på Norden (Bergen 1996).

Hauglid, R., 'Om stavkirkers datering. Myntfunnenes betydning', in Viking (1983), pp. 118-135.

Helle, K., Under kirke og kongemakt 1130-1350, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 3 (Oslo 1995).

Lidén, H.-E., 'De tidlige kirkene. Hvem bygget dem, hvem brukte dem og hvordan?' in H.-E. Lidén (ed.), Møtet mellom hedendom og kristendom i Norge (Oslo 1995), pp. 129-141.

Lidén, H.-E., Mariakirken i Bergen (Bergen 2000).

Nordanskog, G., 'Dubbla budskap - Sigurd på stavkyrkoportalen' in META (2003) No. 3, pp. 20-33.

Røskaft, M., Maktens landskap. Sentralgårder i Trøndelag ved overgangen fra vikingtid til kristen middelalder, ca. 800-1200, Skriftserie fra Historisk institutt, NTNU No.39 (Trondheim 2003).

Schia, E., Oslo innerst i Viken. Liv og virke i middelalderbyen (Oslo 1991).

Thun, T., 'Dendrochronological constructions of Norwegian conifer chronologies providing dating of historical material' (Ph.D. thesis, Department of Biology, NTNU Trondheim 2002).

15E. Bishoprics

See §14A.

15F. Immigrant/native clergy

It is not clear when Norwegians began to go into the priesthood. The clerics who came over with the missionary kings were highly educated Englishmen who, because they played key rôles in the king's court, were also of high status. The first bishops to be appointed in Norway were foreign. In a papal letter to Olav Kyrre (see §12F), the pope granted permission for the education of Norwegians in the service of the Church and the papacy, but it is not known if this concession was exploited. The earliest sources give the impression that there was a lack of sufficiently-educated priests. Laws from around the middle of the 11th century mandate the bishop to procure priests "who can do right by their service". This indicates that inexperienced priests were not uncommon.

According to one of the earliest laws, the Borgartingsloven which covered the area around the Oslofjord and probably dates to the early twelfth century, the farmers were to decide what priest they wanted to have in the district church. According to other laws, bishops had sole responsibility for the appointment of priests. Priests working in private churches were considered to be a part of the church owner's household. They had low status, as did other servants. This, according to Gulatingsloven, was changed: "we have done away with the practice of managing our priests by beating them since we are related by marriage to them and allow them to teach our sons. Our priests will have the same rights as every other one of us has in this country". It was usual for Norwegian priests to marry, and to enter into the social circles where they had influence. Almost nothing is known about rectories from the High Middle Ages.

When the tithe was instituted, a quarter of this amount was to go the priests. Norwegian priests were educated under the tutelage of the bishop. When permanent bishoprics were established at the end of the 11th century, the training of priests was relocated to these. This was the beginning of the cathedral schools. Some of the oldest Norwegian monasteries got monks from abroad, especially from the east of England to which a number of them returned. Lyse Monastery near Bergen was founded in 1146 by monks from eastern England, in cooperation with the bishop of Bergen. The founders of Hovedøya Monastery in Oslo had the same background; the bishop of Oslo was probably the initiator here. The convent of Gimsøy located in eastern Norway was however founded by a Norwegian vassal in the first half of the 12th century, and his daughter was its abbess.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Gulatingslovi, transl. K. Robberstad (Oslo 1969).

Norges gamle Love indtil 1387, eds R. Keyser & P. A. Munch, Vol. I (Kristiania 1846).

Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla, ed. F. Jónsson as Heimskringla (København 1893- 1901), 4 vols., transl. L. M. Hollander as Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson (Austin 1964).

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Helle, K., Under kirke og kongemakt 1130-1350, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 3 (Oslo 1995).

Kolsrud, O., 'Den norske Kirkes Erkebiskoper og Biskoper indtil Reformationen' in O. Kolsrud (ed.), Diplomatarium Norvegicum (Kristiania 1913), XVIIB.

Krag, C., Vikingtid og rikssamling 800-1130, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 2 (Oslo 1995).

15G. Church hierarchy

Prior to the establishment of an archbishopric in 1152/1153, the Norwegian Church was a suffragan of the archbishopric of Hamburg, and from 1104 the archbishopric of Lund. The head of the Norwegian Church was the king, in whose charge were the bishops. He chose the bishops himself when necessary, something that could lead to conflict with the archbishop (see §6B). The bishops were responsible for the priests and the churches in their bishoprics, as mandated by the earliest legislation. Monasteries established prior to the establishment of the Norwegian archbishopric may have been meant to oversee the bishoprics. In the following period, the leading prelates sought to implement the Gregorian ideas of libertas ecclesiae, and obtained some important privileges to this effect, among others about the appointment of priests and that episcopal elections should be carried out without royal interference. King Sverre (1177-1202) sought to revoke these privileges, which resulted in a major conflict between the Church and the monarchy. His successors recognised most of the privileges but some tension remained.

After the foundation of the Norwegian archbishopric, the archbishop was directly under the pope. The Norwegian archbishop had jurisdiction over 11 bishoprics. Five of these were found in Norway, the others were Skálholt and Holar in Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, the Orkney Islands and Hebrides-Man.

Research indicates that the Norwegian archbishopric's jurisdiction over the bishops was limited, but greater than in most other countries, and that the bishops were Church leaders in each of their bishoprics. The bishops had their say in the cathedral chapters, the college of priests located at each cathedral. The monasteries and convents were independent entities which were led by abbots and abbesses. The Church hierarchy is reflected in the levels of rights accorded to the various groups of clerics in Norwegian law. The archbishop ranked first beneath the king, and had the same status as a duke. Next came the bishops who had the same status as the earls. Next came the abbots and abbesses, who were a rank above the vassals.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Norges gamle Love indtil 1387, eds R. Keyser & P. A. Munch, Vol. I (Kristiania 1846).

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Helle, K., Under kirke og kongemakt 1130-1350, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 3 (Oslo 1995).

Helle, K., Gulatinget og Gulatingslova (Leikanger 2001).

Krag, C., Vikingtid og rikssamling 800-1130, Aschehougs Norgeshistorie 2 (Oslo 1995).

15H. Sending missions from the newly-converted countries, with dates

Olav Tryggvason apparently sent priests to Iceland at the end of the 990s, and contributed to that country's acceptance of Christianity (see §5C). He is also said to have converted the earl of the Orkney Islands, and is honoured in some sources for having brought Christianity to five countries. As mentioned previously, this is not based in historical fact. Adam of Bremen recounts that Olav Haraldsson apparently sent bishops and presents to evangelise Sweden and the islands in the west, and this also probably partakes of a general tendency in the sources to exaggerate the rôle of the two Olavs. Nonetheless, the importance of the kings in the process of Christianization should not be underestimated.

King Sigurd Jorsalfare left on Crusade in 1108. According to the Heimskringla, he had sixty ships and many people with him. The trip lasted for three years. According to the tale, he participated in eight battles against Muslims in the Mediterranean, and participated as well in the capture of a Muslim castle in Syria. The tales and sagas emphasize the honour and the number of captives that this warring brought to the king, though his presence on the Crusade is well-attested from other sources as well.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Adam of Bremen, Magistri Adam Bremensis Gesta Hammarburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, ed. B. Schmeidler as Magistri Adam Bremensis Gesta Hammarburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Scriptores rerum germanicarum in usum scholarum) II (Hannover 1917), transl. F. J. Tschan as Adam of Bremen: History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen (New York 1959).

Ágrip, ed. and transl. M. J. Driscoll, Viking Society for Northern Research Vol. X (London 1995).

Fagrskinna, ed. B. Einarsson, Íslenzk fornrit 29 (Reykjavík 1985).

Historien om de gamle norske kongene, transl. A. Salvesen (Oslo 1971).

Oddr Snorrason, Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar, ed. F. Jónsson as Saga Óláfs Tryggvasonar af Oddr Snorrason munk (København 1932), transl. T. Andersson as The Saga of Olaf Tryggvason (Ithaca 2003).

Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla, ed. F. Jónsson as Heimskringla (København 1893- 1901), 4 vols., transl. L. M. Hollander as Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson (Austin 1964).

Theodricus Monachus, De antiquitate regum Norwagiensium, transl. D. & I. McDougall. (as An account of the ancient history of the Norwegian kings (London 1998).

16. Evidence of ecclesiastical and non-ecclesiastical administrative system

16A. Their coincidence 

The boundaries of the oldest bishoprics were generally the same as for those of legal jurisdictions (see §14B). Research has shown that these were very large and difficult for the bishops to administer, given that the bishop had official responsibilities throughout the bishopric. This is probably the reason why Stavanger, and later Hamar, were subdivided into separate bishoprics. Church administration was centralized in the cities where the bishops resided, and these cities simultaneously became the kingdom's administrative centres from the time of Olav Kyrre onwards.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Snorri Sturluson, Heimskringla, ed. F. Jónsson as Heimskringla (København 1893- 1901), 4 vols., transl. L. M. Hollander as Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson (Austin 1964).

Norges innskrifter med de yngre runer, eds M. B. Olsen & A. Liestøl (Oslo 1941- 1960), Vol. IV.

SECONDARY SOURCES:
Bull, E., Folk og kirke i middelalderen. Studier til Norges historie (Kristiania 1912).

Paasche, F., Kristendom og kvad, En studie i norrøn middelalder (Kristiania 1914)

16B. If relevant, territorialization

See §14B & 16A

© S. Bagge and S. Nordeide