Mariager Church

Mariager Church

It takes a great deal of imagination to imagine the magnificent space the Bridgettines created as a framework for their worship of Christ, as only the smaller, western part of the monks avoided demolition during the rebuilding in 1788-89.

If the visitor stands in the aisle with his back to the organ and as a blanket pulls away the sight of the altar and the walls behind and around it, a medieval, pillar-bearing space of cathedral size with a high raised aisle appears, the aisle, along the north, east and south wall. With a total length of 75 meters and 32 meters in width, it was one of the country’s largest churches. There was, as now, 15 meters to the ceiling in the aisles, while the nave of the nave hung 25 meters above the floor.

Unlike others, this church had two choirs: the monks ‘in the west, where the visitor is located, and the nuns’ on a podium 6 meters above the floor at the far end of the church’s now disappeared east end.

It was part of the convent’s idea that the church should be sharply divided into three areas. One for monks, one for nuns and one for worshipers. In addition to the buildings north of the church, the nunnery also included the nuns’ choir in the church. Here in this high state the nuns spent a considerable part of the day immersed in prayer and praise in front of the altar of the Virgin Mary, invisible and secluded from the rest of the life of the church. The priestly monks moved along the laps to and from the altar service in the nuns’ choir. A large iron lattice across the church, where the pulpit is now located, separated the monk’s choir from the church’s other very large floor area, where everyone else had to come.

One of Mariager Kloster’s very significant sources of income during the costly construction phase in the latter half of the 15th century was the sale of the small burial chapels during the rounds. Here were buried the noble families who had been behind the establishment of the monastery. In size, the chapels were quite insignificant, but the price for them was high. Erik Ottesen Rosenkrantz, for example, paid 10 farms for his chapel as well as food, wages, candles and free housing for the chapel’s priest forever. Erik Ottesen’s chapel is seen in the illustration on page 9 as number two on the right side of the church.

You can best get an impression of the monks’ choir when you stand below the pulpit with your back to the altar and imagine the room cleared of benches and organ building.

As in other large medieval churches, there were also a large number of altars in the Bridgettines, but the main altar of this church was found at the top of a series of low steps here in the monks’ choir under the triumphal arch flanked by 12 smaller altars, two on each step. The medieval church had no organ, and one must imagine that the high vaulted tower room was an organic part of the choir. The monastery of the monks was located south of the church and built together with it, so that the priests made their entrance through the door in the south wall of the tower. The monks ‘choir, like the nuns’ choir, is presumed to have been equipped with choir chairs and a lectern along the outer walls.

The now walled door under the large fresco led to the confessional house, whose wall and roof traces can still be seen on the outside of the church.

In the confessional house, the monastery priests took the nuns to confession every Thursday. The nuns entered the house from their convent, which was north of the church. The writing took place through small openings in a wall that divided the room and thus prevented actual physical contact between the two sexes.

The two walled doors on the south side of the chancel led out to the monks’ courtyard, while the church’s present main entrance door was originally the Gate of Grace and Glory, through which every nun after her consecration walked into her convent for lifelong – and hopefully voluntary – confinement. To a quiet life in poverty, prayer and work. The Gate of Grace and Glory was the main entrance of the convent. It was also through this door that the nun next time left the convent when, after her death, she was carried out and buried.

Birgittinernonen’s whole purpose in monastic life was to prepare for this moment of death and thus the ascension and union with Christ, to whom she was consecrated when she made her monastic vow.

Posted by HollnerPhoto on 2021-04-02 10:45:03


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