Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Church for Shadow Shot Sunday

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This is the church in the village where I grew up (Sjuntorp near Trollhättan). It’s a rather scattered kind of village, lacking a proper centre – even more so these days than back in the 1960’s, when the cotton mill (founded in 1831) was still flourishing. (I’ll get back to the mill in a later post.)

The church has been standing on its hill overlooking the little river and valley and surrounding rural landscape since long before the industrial revolution, though – 800 years or so. The earliest documents mentioning it are from 1338, but the church itself probably originates from around 1200. It has of course been reconstructed and refurbished several times through the centuries. The tower for example was added as late as 1952. (As that was before I was born, to me the church looks just like it ‘always’ did, though!)

It was on a Monday that we happened to be passing, and the church was not open (nor did I expect it to be).

My family weren’t active church-goers; but until the year 2000 the Church of Sweden was a state church, and back in the 1960’s, it was still customary for most children to get confirmed in the church at age 14. So that year at least I did visit the inside of this church on a number of occasions; and I remember spending quite a lot of time staring up in the painted ceiling.

I also had a school teacher back in my teens who loved to tell the story of how the restoration of this church in the early 50’s caused headlines in the local newspaper. The question was: “Will the church be allowed to move Hell?” – and the answer, when the authorities had made their decision: “Church permitted to move Hell!” “Hell” in this case was a certain part of the old painted ceiling. Because they were extending the whole longhouse of the church, they wanted to move the devil and his whatnots a bit - as it did not seem proper to have them hovering in the middle of the church.

For some reason, in the past, scenes from hell (or doom paintings) were not uncommon at the far back of the church though, near the entrance/exit. (Perhaps to remind people as they went back out into the world, “to be careful out there”?)

Below is a photo of mine from the old church in the museum park here in Borås. If memory serves me right, I think the paintings in my childhood village church were rather similar:

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Linking to Shadow Shot Sunday 2

10 comments:

  1. Beautiful views of natural surroundings! I particularly enjoyed the shadows in the first photo and that lovely blue sky. Nicely done!
    Have a Great Week!
    Peace :)

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  2. We rarely see Hell paintings in our churches though in medieval times they were common. I think they call them Dooms here. The cemetery is very neat and well cared for.

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    1. Thanks Adrian. 'Doom' sounds like the more appropriate term to use in this context. I think I'll add it to the text in the post. I do remember my teacher quoting the headlines as referring to 'hell' though (but in Swedish, of course...)

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  3. It looks like a very peaceful and quiet area around that church. They've done a very good job with the tower - one wouldn't think that it was added to late, it integrates really well with the rest of the building.
    Thank you for linking to the painted ceiling! It reminds me a little of the enchanted ceiling at Hogwarts' Great Hall :-)

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    1. Meike, for me it was the other way round when I first read Harry Potter - the enchanted ceiling in the Great Hall of Hogwarts immediately reminded me of a church ceiling! :) Something that probably also right from the start affected my understanding (or interpretation) of some of the symbolism used throughout the series.

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  4. That's really amazing. A very calm and serene exterior is contrasted with the tumultuous mural inside. Very inviting. I invite you to share your post at my new photo meme that I have started just now on my blog. Link is down below. Thanks!

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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    1. Thanks Mersad. I'll be glad to link up with your new meme from time to time - and I've added it to the 'inspiration' list at the bottom of my own blog.

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  5. A lovely church with lots of greenery on the outside...it looks so peaceful....I wouldn't mind being laid to rest there.
    The Hell painting in the ceiling certainly gave me a pause for thought.

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    1. Virginia, the correct term for the painted ceiling might be "doom", as Adrian suggests.
      The graveyard certain looks neat and well cared for. We did not go down there for a closer look as we have no family there (neither living nor dead). Our bonds with the place are not very strong except that we grew up there.

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  6. There is something about the order and clean lines of the church that appeals to me in a way that is entirely different from the older English and Welsh and some old Scottish churches. I confess that I didn't know that that depiction was called a doom painting here.

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