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Kvarhängande helgon och offerkyrkor: Folkfromhet med förreformatoriska drag på det tidigmoderna Gotland

Magazine article
Authors Johannes Daun
Terese Zachrisson
Published in GUSEM
Volume 3
Issue 3
Pages 69-88
ISSN 2000-3870
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Historical Studies
Pages 69-88
Language sv
Keywords Folklig fromhet, Tidigmodern tid, Reformationen, Gotland
Subject categories History and Archaeology, Church history


Pre-Reformation piety was largely characterized by the importance of good deeds and a contract-like relationship to the divine. These aspects continued to make their mark on European Christian thought and mentality for a long period of time even after the Reformation. This article presents several aspects on how popular piety manifested itself in the parish churches of Gotland during the 17th and 18th centuries. In the parish church of Gothem a large fresco of S:t Christopher was painted as late as 1673. In this depiction S:t Christopher is repre- senting the True Church and is flanked by the two major confessional threats of the time: the Pope and the Sultan. In 1799 the parishioners of Kräklingbo refused to give up their church’s old altarpiece because it depicted their patron saint, S:t Bartholomew. To the parish church of Bro people from all over the surrounding areas made sacrifices, believing this increased chances of their prayers being heard. Veneration of images and donations to churches that were considered particularly sacred were not in line with the official teachings of the Lutheran Church. Yet there was a widespread acceptance - or chosen obliviousness - among parish ministers and bishops. This points to that we should not interpret the process of the Reformation as a one-way communication in which the learned elite directed its course and the »common people« remained as passive recipients. On the contrary, this 85 article seeks to show that the Reformation was a dialogue wherein of- ficial theology and popular piety constantly defined and redefined the boundaries of what was tolerable and what was not.

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