Two Stockholm Dissenter Churches De-Sanctified

I follow the decommissioning of Sweden’s churches keenly for several reasons. I like churches, the older the better, but I don’t like the Church much. And I take great interest in the West’s ongoing secularisation process. Before, I’ve blogged about how Maglarp Church was torn down, about how Örja church was sold as housing and about the National Heritage Board’s advice to congregations that decide to stop heating their churches.

Two upscale 1890s dissenter churches in the posh Östermalm precinct of Stockholm have been similarly de-sanctified in the past year.

A year ago, a real estate company co-owned by footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic bough the 1898 Elim Church next to the Swedish History Museum, where I spend a lot of time. Elim was a Baptist church and is now being converted into luxury housing.

Now I hear that the Trinity Church near Östermalmstorg Square, a beautiful neo-Gothic brick structure inaugurated in 1894, has been sold. It’s been a Methodist church, and that particular sect isn’t doing so well in Sweden. The buyer is internationally famous Grammy-winning music video director Jonas Åkerlund, who intends to use the building for unspecified cultural purposes.

The latter case is kind of funny. 30 years ago, Jonas Åkerlund played drums with the seminal Satanist black metal band Bathory. His most recent music videos, however, have been for Coldplay, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

Thanks to Johan Lundström för the tipoff.

Update same day: Aard regular Thomas Ivarsson points out that the 1880 Caroli Church in urban Malmö, not far from Maglarp and Örja, was de-sanctified by the Church of Sweden in 2010 and is now part of a shopping mall.

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22 thoughts on “Two Stockholm Dissenter Churches De-Sanctified

  1. I have one more chuch,,Kämpinge, It was abandoned around 1600 AD due to sand drift that invaded the building. The Caroli Church in Malmö is now part of a shopping center.

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  2. I hear that one former Catholic church in Lewiston, Maine, has been converted to a mosque serving the local (mostly Somali) immigrant population. But in other parts of the US, the Catholic Church seems to be doing better: according to Wikipedia, they acquired the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, CA from its bankrupt former owners, a congregation of the Reformed Church of America led by televangelist Robert H. Schuller.

    Closer to home, the widow of the man who owned the farm which became my neighborhood built a replica of a medieval English village church on the farm. The municipality now owns the church, and recently renovated it. I got to take a look inside a few weeks ago. The man in whose memory this chapel was built also has his name on at least one university building here. He seems to have gotten around; he apparently was friends with Cecil Rhodes (as in Rhodes scholarships).

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  3. It is funny reading this in the US. On the one hand religious viewpoints are currently politically dominant, yet on the other thank goodness for the separation of church and state doctrine. No such thing as governmental “sanctification” and thus desanctification need be done. One of my faorite hangouts in 1970’s and 80’s Madison was the Church Key an old church converted into a bar/club.

    No one batted an eye. in fact several churches moved to bigger places and just sold the old sites around here. Somehow that link to place and church isn’t real strong here.

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  4. The sanctification thing is up to the congregations themselves. The Church of Sweden was divorced from the state in 2000.

    We have many 12th century churches in unbroken regular use though, so the idea of place is pretty strong here.

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  5. However the equivalent of de-santification is happening in the US. For example the New York archdiocese just announced the closure of 40 or so churches. (they are consolidating parishes because of the shortage of priests). Of course in addition lots of small town churches close as the older folks move to the cemetery.

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  6. The Caroli church in Malmö is *owned by* the shopping centre people, but it’s not exactly part of it. On the same plot of land, but not incorporated into the building. I’ve actually walked past this several times recently and never realised that it’s not still a consecrated church.

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  7. Which denomination’s archdiocese?

    “Archdiocese” normally implies Catholic. They aren’t the only sect to have archbishops (the guys who run archdioceses in the Catholic church)–Russian and Greek Orthodox do, and of course the Episcopalians/Church of England have the archbishop of Canterbury–but I don’t know of any other sect which has such a subdivision called by that name.

    The Catholic Church still requires its priests to be at least publicly celibate. I suspect this is a major disincentive for joining the priesthood.

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  8. Birger @13: Much of the western US is already under serious water stress. Of the major US cities in the -0700 and -0800 time zones (known in North America as the Mountain and Pacific time zones), only three have reasonably robust access to adequate water supplies: Seattle, Portland, and Salt Lake City. (The last benefits from lake effect snows that develop downwind of the Great Salt Lake and fall on the Wasatch Mountains; it’s the only part of Utah that has access to respectable amounts of water.) Everybody else is going to get thirsty in a drier climate. Los Angeles already is: they source drinking water from the Colorado River (about 300 km to the east) and Mono Lake (almost 500 km to the north). The Colorado River seldom reaches the ocean anymore, because its water is oversubscribed; some days, it doesn’t even reach the US-Mexico border. And San Francisco, which is much closer to Mono Lake than LA is, has water problems of its own, so getting more water from the Sierra Nevada is not an option for LA. San Diego is even worse off; they have to start building desalinization plants.

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  9. Eric, countries around the world are working on developing cheaper ways of desalinating sea water precisely because of the mismatch between population and water resources. (Ironically, fundamentalist Iran has wiely chosen to encourage family planning to avoid the resource trap. Other countries, not so much 😦 )

    — — —
    (OT) from The New York Review of Books ” The Myth of Chinese Super Schools” http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/nov/20/myth-chinese-super-schools/

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  10. Technician bares skin.

    Um, Matthew Taylor isn’t just a technician, he’s the project scientist. Rather high up in the hierarchy, at that.

    I don’t know him personally, but I know people who know him, and I have read papers on which he is a co-author. FWIW, he generally goes by M. G. G. T. Taylor. Yes, that’s three middle initials. And yes, ESA has a problem with what in the US would be known as a hostile workplace.

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