Sunday, November 17, 2013

History viewpoint: Norway's Stave Churches are Gnostic, Celtic Christian. Not Roman Catholic. Explore the idea.

Norway Religious Timeline
Branches and Conversions, How and Why

I.  Summary:  
  • 11th Century. Olav Haraldsson (Saint Olav) 995-1030; people converted largely because they had to, but to a diluted Catholic Christianity. Newly built churches accommodate, extend the gnostic.Era of stave churches. Olav II, Olav Haraldsson (1015-1030), "Saint Olav".  He took the next step: as king of the regions of Norway, he set Christianity as the official religion in all regions, and forced it. See and used brute force to accomplish conversions. See His fortunes turned, he fled, and returned to fight Knut of Denmark who claimed Norway as his dominion in 1028. Olav was killed at Stiklestad and was canonized. Christianity, however, was not Catholic.  Both Olavs had been baptized in England, not part of the Holy Roman Empire.  Was that distinction important?
  • 1349 -- Black Plague decimates Norway, leaving vacuum in religious life -- and more fully institutional Catholic priests entered in with little resistance. Only when Norway was hit with the 1350 Black Plague, and populations were suddenly destroyed, did the Catholic priests come into power in the local churches -- filling the vacuum  
  •  1450 -- Then Norway became part of Catholic Denmark in 1450.
II.  Details
5th-6th Centuries.  
Celtic Christian missionaries establish groups of the faithful in Scandinavia a form of gnostic belief similar to the later Templars, see

8th Century
782 -- Charlemagne forces conversion of Saxons on pain of death. See; Sachsenhain, Slaughter at Verden/  Word from Saxony, after 30 years of resistance against Charlemagne, spread to Denmark. Charlemagne's bio: at  See The Viking Age and Christianization in Norway, at;
Celtic missionaries are active in Norway, predating the later institutional Christian influences, see
 9th Century -- 
Some success in Christianization in Denmark after the Celtic missionaries.
834 -- Oseberg, Norway. Viking culture prospers on trade. For example, two women buried in vast ship, with artifacts, indicating high status, even queen for one, and extensive and wealthy trading society, discovery unearthed 2008, 9th Century Timeline  

841 -- Vikings, under population pressures, settle at River Liffey, later Dublin, Ireland
845 -- Vikings cruise up the Seine for loot, and are bribed to back off, 9th Century Timeline
but this is attributed to Harald Bluetooth (Harald I) (same?) at;
and notes that he also unified Denmark and converted the Danes to Christianity
860 -- Vikings attack Constantinople, success in attacking for loot, 9th Century Timeline
861 -- Vikings target Paris and beyond, Macrohistory Timeline.
885 -- Saint Methodius, Eastern Orthodox Christian missionary to the Slavic countries (with Saint Cyril) dies
Sts. Cyril and Methodius did not reach Norway.

 10th Century
CATHOLICISM ERA reaches toward Scandinavia after Holy Roman Emperor victories in Saxony, Northern Germany, elsewhere-- see
900 -- Norway united (or 850-870?) by Harald Fairhair, see;
958 -- King Harald of Denmark, Harald Bluetooth, converts to Christianity (to what degree Latin, to what degree Celtic or Gnostic?)
995 Olaf I Trygvason invades most of Norway and converts it to Christianity, see scaruffi website. To what degree was this Latin church influenced, and to what degree did the older Celtic Christianity still prevail?

11th Century -- 
Some success in Christianization of Norway, see 11th-15th Centuries Balkan Crusades (these enterprises by the Roman Catholic church, Pope, and Holy Roman Emperor, did not directly impact Norway's territory, however, until Norway united with Catholic Denmark in 1350, as I understand it. By that time, the power of the Latin church was clear and resistance futile; Baltic Crusade overview -- see; and
1015-16 -- Olaf II Haraldsson returned from wars with the Danes and declared himself king of Norway.
1022 -- Institutional Church with the State begins killing people for heresy, see Robert the Pious at Orleans, see 11th Century timeline
1028 -- Canute occupies Norway with 50 ships and the help of various Norwegian nobles, exiles Olaf II
1029 -- Olaf II returns, engages Canute in battle, Olaf is killed at Stiklestad.

1030 -- Christianity adopted; in 1031, Olaf II was named patron saint of Norway. Again, why?
1030-1450 -- Norwegian Kings, who were not Catholic at all and were disobeying no law applicable to them, "canonized people and gave people bishop titles" and so infuriated the pope who wanted that power for himself and his church.  Priests in Norway also could marry and reproduce, and there is a female saint from Great Britain, Saint Sunniva, see; Anglo Saxon and Norse, further irritating the pope.
1034 -- Killings for heresy in Europe:  in Italy, Heribert, Archbishop of Milan,seizes and has burned members of a group rejecting infant baptism, see 11th Century timeline
1054 -- Church at Rome excommunicates the Orthodox (Constantinople) including for a doctrinal dispute (others were apparently true doctrinal disputes); and the Orthodox excommunicate Rome,  see 11th century timeline
1066 -- Norway still not Christian. When Canute died, he left Norway to Svend or Svein Forkbeard. Harald III Hardrada fought against the Danes and then invaded England (same year as William the Conqueror invaded from Normandy). Battle of Stamford Bridge:  Norse defeated, Harald Hardrada killed, see also scaruffi site.
1095 -- Rome initiates a crusade from Sweden into Finland to compel the conversion of the Finns, see 11th Century Timeline
1099 -- Rome's First Crusade against Jerusalem is victorious, and Crusaders slaughter the Jewish and Muslim residents of Jerusalem
12th Century
1103 -- Danish king Erik I declares Lund, Sweden, as arch-episcopate center for all Scandinavia (scaruffi)
1150's ff.  Building boom for stave churches, 1150's - 1349.  These churches were, however, according to, Gnostic, Celtic Christian, and all predated the Catholic era that commenced after the Black Death decimated Norwegian populations; and after Norway became part of Catholic Denmark in 1350 or so.

1152 -- Archbishopric of Norway is established at Nidaros, Trondheim. Note this is not Catholic.Cathedral is built there. (scaruffi).  This is not by Papal appointment, however. Kings could set up their own bishoprics.

* The talking heads: a Swedish story, a Celtic saint. See  The facade at Nidaros, the Cathedral is a fabrication, the original having been destroyed with no record apparently of what it had been like, according to our guide inside the Cathedral.  No wonder it all looks so pristine and cosmetic, botoxed. The fraud of St. Olaf? No mention of the fabrication at The facade (the whole wing itself?) is 19th Century, we were told.

13th Century
1217 -- Civil war in Norway. Haakon IV Haakonson reunites Norway; dies in 1263, and is succeeded by Magnus V Lagoboeter and he sets up a system of laws, enacts. Each major area of Norway had its own system of laws.

14th Century
1349 -- Norway, that had been Celtic Christian, then fell culturally and became victim to the Black Death. The plague decimates town and rural populations in Scandinavia.  Gnostic priests, caring for the sick, contracted the illness (of course) reducing their ranks as Celtic Gnostic Christians.  No more stave churches were built after 1350 or so.  Recall that, according to the Viking Age (Burzum) site; those were Gnostic; and the Gnostics were no more, or were so vulnerable and few that takeover was easy.

The theory so far:
  • So, why were all the stave churches built before 1349? First, they were built until the Black Death destroyed the builder and other communities needed to construct the churches; and the Catholics who came after the plague did not build stave churches. Fair use snippet, burzum site, parsed out here for emphasis of each part.  Recall that even the early stone churches had stave supports, stave roofs, but were built somewhat later when the old wooden ones began to rot at the foundations.  Stone lasts, and carried more prestige by that time.

15th Century:  
1450.  Norway becomes part of Catholic Denmark. See  With a vacuum left by the dead Celtic priests, and Norway now part of Catholic Denmark, Catholic priests take over the religious life of the country.

16th Century
1529 - Lutheranism adopted as official religion (scaruffi); or was it in 1537 -- King Christian II declared official religion for Norway and Denmark as Evangelical Lutheran (more on political and other figures at the worldatlas site)
1536 -- Norway becomes a dependency of Denmark
1537 -- Catholicism, 900-1537 says this site,;
but that leaves out consideration of the Celtic-Gnostic underlying the era to 1350, see

17th Century ff
1699 -- Frederik IV, crowned king of Denmark
1700's -- Witch burnings, Finnmark at northernmost part of Norway, at Vardo, see Remembering Norway's Darkest Hour, Witch-Burning/

1814-1905 -- Denmark cedes Norway to Sweden Sweden (scaruffi) and Christian IV sets up a constitutional monarchy in Norway. Then at dissolution of the union with Sweden, Carl of Denmark becomes king of Norway as Haakon VII (scaruffi)
2012 -- Norway no longer has a state church. See   FN 1

At Tingvoll stone church, changes through the years from earlier fortress style, and the insertion of new windows, is visible.   But there are no dragons that I found.

Still, the 17th Century sundial still watches time pass. See history of it at

Track a chronology of religious influences impinging on Norway, and vet the theory.  It explains the vitality of the stave churches, the creativity, before the imposition of dogma, rules, hierarchy. Is that so?  One flag replaces another.

FN 1.  Retrospective. Test the theory of gnosticism in early Norway.

Numbers and their meaning. Twenty-eight.  Magic number 28.  That is all that remain of the thousands of stave churches built in the 12-13th Centuries in Norway. Why so many built at once?  Why so few left? Tourists click away.

Why care?  Find the stave church construction details at  Did the Holy Spirit suddenly descend on Norway, that these were built all at once, virtually? Perhaps, in the culmination of centuries of benign, Celtic missionary Christianity, nonjudgmental, coexisting with older beliefs.

Even after WWII when a stave church was rebuilt at Kvam, Norway, after devastating bombing, look closely and see the dragon-serpent back up top. The Gnostic, Celtic touch.

Ship, horse, snake, sun.  Vital symbols, the old ways live, is that so, see Varg Vikernes, author, musician, controversial iconoclast, with facts.  A welcome offset ro conformist interpretations of history. Angles to explore. Vet. 

Compare the Celtic tradition, with the Latin. The power structure in mainstream Europe comprised two elements:

A. Holy Roman Emperors, who were designated supposedly to deal with temporal matters; and

B.  Popes, who were supposed to deal with spiritual matters, themselves became enemies.

See The Story of Mankind -- Pope vs. Emperor at

This trumped the autonomy of the Norse. Medieval declarations of allegiance decided whether you lived, or your people had a chance to their own lives, or they or you died. With those shallow roots of religion really powered by force, power-monger against power-monger, is it any wonder that Christianity did not "take" among the Norse once the old church-state power-brokers were minimized in influence. Does the institutional church allow humans to exercise their free will, their moral capacity to make difficult decisions.

No comments:

Post a Comment