March 24, 2001
This is the largest church in Sweden, begun in the year 1260. First on the left will be the grave of Carl VonLinne, the great botanist and physician famous in the late 1700's for his massive collections of living plant material, his travels throughout the known world (including his first interpretations of the "Savage" Laplanders), and his published classification of plants, animals, and minerals in 1735 that is of legendary status still today.
Follow the lefthand wall to the central cross section of the church and enter the middle. Tilt your head back, and look 8 stories up to where the ceiling forms a cross above you. The very last stone placed was in the shape of a golden hand with 3 fingers extended in blessing...now being bestowed on YOU...pretty cool,huh?
If you face the pulpit, which was a gift from Queen Eleonora consecrated in 1710; you can see three huge rosette stained glass windows. The window of the Son, the Spirit, and the Father. Pause to take in the view of the immense choir loft.
Turn around and continue your walk up to the high altar. The large crucifix of silver and cut crystal was made in 1976 by the famous Swedish company Orrefors, and is really awesome when light sends rainbows dancing across the room.
Over the Altar is a silver chandelier that was made in 1647. Step to the left wall again, and enter the chapel of the tombs of Queen Catarina Jagelionica and her husband's memorial tomb. (King Johan 111 is buried further on with other wives.)
Next,is the Sture tombs.The entire family was murdered by King Eric X1V in a fit of paranoia in 1567. His half-brother locked him up in prison for awhile and then had him poisoned (while he was eating eating the famous pea soup).
The next chapel holds the remains of St. Erick, the patron saint of Sweden, in an amazing golden tomb that looks like a minature covenent of the arc. He was killed on this site in 1160, probably swinging a 50 lb. sword. Johann 111 was greedy and melted down the original but must have been plagued with guilt because this tomb was the replacement he gave the church in 1580. The black tomb in the back belongs to the Finsta family, who's daughter is St. Birgitta the Holy. It's very hard to make out her picture on the bottom right side of the tomb. There are some bodyparts of hers (called relics) in the gold-plated shrine. Being a saint is a dangerous occupation since zealots carved up the body and placed pieces all over the world!
The back chapel is the Royal Vasa tombs of Gustav (1523-1560) and his wives.The fresco's on the wall were painted in 1830 by Johan Sandberg and are very lovely in form, color, and content.
There is a Cathedral museum here and an elevator up the tower which were closed when we visited.
From journal Viking graveyards