Eidfjord (153 km from Bergen)

The church of Eidfjord in its landscape setting (photo Justin Kroesen)
The church of Eidfjord in its landscape setting (photo Justin Kroesen)

Medieval grave stone in the chancel (photo Justin Kroesen)
Medieval grave stone in the chancel (photo Justin Kroesen)

During the Middle Ages the village of Eidfjord did not belong to the diocese of Bergen, but to that of Stavanger. The present church has a nave and chancel of equal width and was built in the first half of the fourteenth century. The windows in the east and north walls have kept their original size and shape.

According to a medieval grave slab which stands in the chancel the church building was financed by ‘rich’ Ragna Åsolfsdotter to atone for her sins after having killed her spouse. The gravestone shows Ragna offering a church model to St James of Compostela.

The church interior viewed from the west (photo Justin Kroesen)
The church interior viewed from the west (photo Justin Kroesen)

Renaissance pulpit, 1600s (photo Justin Kroesen)
Renaissance pulpit, 1600s (photo Justin Kroesen)

The church interior has a unique charm since little seems to have changed here in the last four centuries. The only furnishing of medieval origins is the chancel screen with a central arch. Parts of it have been dated to the mid-thirteenth century, so it must have belonged to a predecessor of the present church.

After the Reformation it has repeatedly been altered. The nave is filled with seventeenth-century benches carried out in a rustic Renaissance style. The men sat on south side, as is shown by the beam with wooden pegs attached to the wall.

Stone font (c. 1680) and iron ring for its brass predecessor (photo Justin Kroesen)  
Stone font (c. 1680) and iron ring for its brass predecessor (photo Justin Kroesen)

The pulpit on the south side in front of the screen, created in the early seventeenth century, is decorated with Renaissance panelling and carries a number of Biblical texts.

The stone baptismal font dates from 1680 and replaced an earlier brass bowl supported by an iron ring which can still be seen attached to the screen on the north side. The Neoclassical altarpiece on the altar in the chancel shows the Crucifixion and dates to 1765. Behind it, on the right, is a painted epitaph in the same style.

 

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