Friday, July 22, 2011

Kastrup - Accommodating Airport for the Flexible. Copenhagen

Copenhagen: Kastrup Airport
Kastrup to a frequent traveler may look at first like just another airport. It has its twitches however.
1. Accommodations are not nearby.  If the several reasonable rooms at the Hilton are occupied, you will have to get on mass transit to another route a stop or two away, then walk to try to find a room.  There is no central bank of phones or shuttles to take you. The railway is just below ground, as are taxis.  The drill is: hop on a train and go 10 minutes back into Copenhagen somewhere, and start walking? Not handy. And how to get a taxi back at 4AM in time for a 6AM flight out?

Go back to the car rental, but the car is already processed through. Can't even get that back.

2.  Boarding pass. If your boarding pass is printed on hotel paper with the logo on the reverse, it may not go through.  At the airport, Dan's boarding pass went through, but mine, and we had printed out on the same printer at the hotel, but mine balked. Sorry, lady, just step aside here for another pat down, and another.

3. We ended up sleeping in Kastrup.

Our last good night's sleep:
  • Here's the hotel: wouldn't anyone trust it.

Trees in the hallways.

 But the printer ran out of paper. Run out to the lobby, run back with a stack, stuff it, and print and run.

Sleeping in the airport isn't so bad.  Food available.

Plan B.  No big deal. We always told each other on the Car-Dan Tour Company that if we couldn't find a place to sleep, we would go to the local police station, introduce ourselves, and curl up in their parking lot.

Next best thing is the airport lobby.  Doze until midnight when the doors open to get into the specific airway lounges (you can only go in on the day you are scheduled to leave).  Plan: Get through the inspections at midnight and find a nicer lounge area until 5AM boarding, perhaps even a place without arm rests.

 Clearance is challenging.

There.  It only takes three seats, and a bend at the top.  ZZZZzzzz.

You will not be alone. Many people sleep in the airport. Hotels are costly so why even bother with that?  We seldom get a good sleep the night before anyway - too much rifling around in the backpacks and throwing out stuff so you can get on without checking anything through. 

The thrill wore off.

If the boarding pass had gone through at midnight when we first went upstairs (noone is allowed into the boarding areas until the day of the flight), we at least could have slept on more comfortable lounge chairs up there.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Frederikssund - Vet the Viking Tradition. History's Agendas: Writing-Dependent

Viking Culture.
He Who.

He who controls the writing controls what is written.
And how. 
And what is said. 

How to find "history" when the victors wrote their version; 
or, the stories were written so long after, 
and by those who were not there; and have agendas.

Frederikssund.  Frederikssund is a town not far from Copenhagen, that boasts a Viking-camp type recreational area, with longhouses, pathways, a little village.  It closes in the fall, but offers a pleasant respite walk before heading into Copenhagen. See

 Frederikssund, Viking sculpture, modern
On the topic of Vikings, why are they so maligned by Western "Christian" cultures.  Barbarians are there!  Onward, Christian soldiers!  Look more closely at the tradition of Viking maligning.

1.  Definition of barbarian.  Who is one?
2.  Ancient. Reach of indigenous history: People have been settled in Denmark since 3000 BC Stone Age
3.  Handicap:  With no writing system beyond runes, a narrative could not be recorded and passed on easily. 

4.  12th-13th C. foreigners - The victors - did the job of writing, and they did a job on it. It was foreign conquerors or those looking down their noses who wrote down Scandinavian Stories, with the writers' agendas. Or, the "historian" did his best with the material, but the times did not value vetting fact, but putting down whatever was heard. 
5.  History.  History is not fact.  History is what is sifted, written, persuaded, recorded, discovered.
6.  Control of reading and writing enriches the religious and military exploiter, colonizer
7.  Vikings:  sources for appreciation of system of laws

Viking Reputation in History
1. Who is the barbarian.  

Was that really religion talking, or turf and seeking wealth and power.  Vet "barbarian".  Rocks of other people's ages: what speaks. Frederikssund offers festivals to recreate what it can. Remember camp?  Coming to a Viking reenactment festival site is like that. Role playing, demonstrations, crafts.  We saw the reenactments at Horsens, DK, the rehearsals before the Big Day following (best time to go), but this one - by mid September - had just closed. No matter. Wander anyway.

Where else to find a positive reconstruction of Viking culture, that is not tainted by the doctrines of those who had the writing knowledge - monks, scribes -- of the conquering Western Religions.  We know more than we think:  see

"Barbarian" came into use in the mid 14th Century, and originally was not a pejorative.  It was merely descriptive.  See
  • Latin - barbaria - foreign country, the Romans applying the word to those who did not display Greek or Roman accomplishments
  • Medieval Latin barbarinus -
  • Greek - barbaros - foreign, strange, ignorant; and Greek barbaroi - those who were not Greek, referring to the Medes and Persians especially. The meaning "darkened" after the Persian Wars, says  The Romans technically, for Greeks, would be barbaroi.  
  • Old French barbarin - Berber, pagan, Saracen, barbarian, 
  • Linguistic sound root "bar bar" - as an echo of how foreign speech sounded to those who could not understand it;  or Sanskrit root (a "cognate") as barbaros or stammering, see [and, same site, not connected to barbecue or barba for beard]
Who is the barbarian?  See Western Ethnic Violence Timeline

2.  The reach of indigenous history

Frederikssund has been inhabited since early Stone Age - see that era illustrated in Denmark at  Years?  Pre-1700 BC. Even as far back as 3500 BC. The Bronze Age, uses of metals, came in about 1700 BC. See

There was an extensive culture in Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia, religious and social organization evolved from then to the invasions of the Europeans to the South.

Enter Rome into Germanic tribe lands in Germany - Saxons, Wends, others -- and note that Rome could never subdue the Germanic tribes.


Then fast forward to the second wave of attempts to subjugate, and these worked: The medieval military-religious invasions as Christianity, inheriting the Roman militance and developed organizational skills used largely in its violent forms, spread the faith by requiring conversion or death among the northern peoples.

Watch the march of the Frankish Christians (Charlemagne) and the Popes  and later Holy Roman Emperors; then to Eastern Crusades that morphed into Crusades against the multi-deist and even Orthodox-converted Christians in the North.

Those later cultures of south-influenced Europeans, The Romans, the Franks, had writing and records.  The Danes, the Jutes, the Norse (term for all northern peoples here), the tribes in Sweden and Norway did not, at that time, in their own language.  See the scope of contemporary college courses, example

3.  The handicap of no writing system, beyond Runes. 
Could not use writing to persuade, keep records

History:  Records are a matter of agenda.  Who made the record, why, when, where.  Does it relate to demonstrable events; or is it to persuade of something. If a culture has no narrative writing record, are they inferior; or a product of their geography and environment.  What extra time do cold people have, to develop writing.

Vikings.  No records but oral history, and variations of runes.

Without original, indigenous records, how to recreate Viking culture to teach others based on fact.

Archeology goes only so far.  How to derive an understanding of belief systems, values, when they themselves did not (could not, as a matter of northern climate rigors and priorities to stay alive) keep their own records.  They did did not have the tools to do that until after they were conquered and were forced to learn new languages and ways; and most important, ways of heating enabled a Renaissance in the north. Is that so.  
  • Writing is a luxury. The role of cold. Have to keep warm. No time from that to figure out how to record things, or store them. And nothing much to write it on.  The easy writing materials like papyrus or clay for tablets, or pyramid walls inside, started that handy scribe-capability much farther south, where it thrived. Hot climates = early writing cultures. Cold climates = late writing cultures.
So, rather than Vikings spinning their representations of their culture to show how wonderful they were (as did southern Europe and Mediterranean cultures), they did not do much representing at all.

They just lived it, and told it. They did rune stones as memorials of people or events; or for directions in the woods; and told their stories, in a rich oral tradition.  But even that oral tradition of origins, heroes, gods, like ours was finally written down by people living much, much later.

When their stories were finally written down, it was not edited even by Vikings from the culture (the earliest Adams and Eveses did not write their own story either).

4.  12th Century Foreigners Write Down Scandinavian Stories, Long After; With Agendas

So who wrote down the Viking oral histories?

Sometimes we have no idea other than a name, if even that. It was not written by the Vikings themselves, who did not know the European or Latin languages to write it.  This was done by people after Christianity took hold, even as to advanced societies as that in Iceland.

The original peoples did not write their stories before the great conversion eras brought in the converting scribes.  It was done by Christian advocates, or other Europeans or Latin-religious conquering people - like Romans, clerics, scribes, monks bound on conversion. Conversion: like it or not and call in the Pope's or the Holy Roman Emperor's armies to see that the rabble got fixed, or killed, whichever came first.
  • Snorri Sturulson in 1200, Iceland -- a poet and politician, see the Prose Eddas at He respected he earlier culture and religion, and created a framework for the stories of the gods. Still, his viewpoint was Christian: Christianity is valid, multi-deism is not. See all the dreadful things that happened under multi-deism. We are so much better off now.
5.  History is what is sifted, written, persuaded

a. What we were taught.

Vikings suddenly and without cause began raiding Europe, say in 790 AD.  Up and down the lengths of the rivers:
  •  France, 
  • Russia (the Volga, that route largely to develop trade down to and beyond the Black Sea), 
  • attacking in Britain and Ireland the unguarded monasteries and conducting atrocities, slaving, conquering much of Britain and ruling it (King Canute) for a time, 
  • back at the monasteries, taking riches, engaging in great commerce ventures throughout the Mediterranean, down the Volga past the Black Sea, returning the next year, and on and on from about 780-1150 AD.
Is that so?  A sudden explosion, or was it a response to equal and even worse exploitation over centuries of cultural invasion.

b. Vikings - What we now know about motivation: was the culture really just callousness. What did Charlemagne do, culminating after 30 years in the slaughter of Saxon Wood, Sachsehain, at Verden.  That was 782 or so.  After 30 years of warfare, forced conversions, killing off of cultures.  That would put the start of Charlemagne's campaigns to colonize the north at about 752.  Enough is enough.

Ask what motivated them to raid?  Charlemagne, stupid. The Pope, stupid.  Is that it? Who dares say.

Put the records together. Were the Vikings triggered into aggression because the Charlemagne-type Holy Roman Emperor-Type Christian conquerors were invading their lands and forcing conversions?

At first the Vikings did hit the monasteries, LIndisfarne was the first;  so a religious connection makes sense.  Convert or die?  And they refused to convert, for the longest time, until they had to, or die. Is that it?  They had no formal "religion" or word for it, but their culture embraced law and morality.  Was that system better?
No wonder the Vikings hit the monasteries.

Barbarism was not in the killing - the Church had done that for centuries of invasions into the north and west; and then came Inquisitions and Crusades.  See

Barbarism is in pretending that other people's killing is worse than your own.  Historian's agenda.  How is a people represented. Why. Here, look at the retaliation angle, not the barbaric ferocity. Lindisfarne - retaliation. Viking target not only for religious retaliation, but for loot.

c. .  Retaliation as the Motivation; then when it paid so well, go back and do it again.
Of course the Vikings hit the monasteries.The monasteries were rich and undefended - look at what a monastery could hold.

d.  Ask what the real purpose of all that converting was.

The institution and the Holy Soldiers got rich from it. Souls?  A peripheral smoke-screen, judging from the methods used to convert.

How did the church get so rich? Were the Norse, includind the Danes, correct in the assesment that the invasion of the Christians was simply military; and responding in kind as long as they could.
  • Consider the process of and motivation for developing religious ritual, and building in opportunity.
An abbot or monk or priest attending a death and administering last rites had an easy sell:  you are going to hell, mister, unless you donate this and that and that, and so they did. The Church controlled the process. Only the religious had access to writing materials, so just sign on the dotted line. X goes here. See the records of the Danish Cistercians, Abbey founded at 1153 at Esrum.  By the 1500's they owned 300 farms plus churches plus highly lucrative mills.  Thank you, death bed. Is that so?  See
Medieval Wills and Inventories:

Fair use quote: Emphasis added, Medieval Writing site:
"Wills were not used to dispose of the family real estate, as theoretically that was not the legal prerogative of the owner. The legal heir was designated by the crown, and the process could be full of political machinations. Wills were used to make donations to religious bodies such as monasteries, for the benefit of the owner's immortal soul, and to specify the nature of their funerary monument and funerary commemorations."
Further, in England wills had to be proven in Church courts. Medieval Writing site. Medieval Wills and Inventories: Guess who won.  The "inspeximus" was a specially proven will, a certified copy by a person especially trusted.  For substantial persons, the original will would be verified by the seal of a higher up clergy, even an archbishop, and five others. What was needed for mere farmers?  See an example of a portion of such a will at
Medieval Wills and Inventories:

Clever. See  The name "extreme unction" was generally used by the end of the 1100's, so this Abbey was right on time to benefit financially. Go to the site, Our Lady's Promise: It takes so long to justify the reasoning for this new sacrament that allowed, even required, the Church to be present at death. From the convoluted reasoning,  it is reasonable to suppose that its use (particularly as it extracted property in practice at the same time, to save the soul), is and was not justified at all.

Just handy. Persuasion tactics. Who would resist donating property to the church, if eternal damnation were the alternative. My sins not forgiven?  Where do I sign. See details of the ritual itself (that of course does not refer to the ancillary benefit of property donations in extremis)  at

Vikings? Barbaric? In the sense of being foreign, yes.  In pejorative behavior? No. So of course Vikings aimed for monasteries.  Not only was Viking religion and culture being invaded and Germanics killed by the new Religion-Meisters, but how else could the North people fight back? They did not roll over easily. And monasteries were wide open. And they kept refilling their coffers.

6.  Control of reading and writing  enriches the religious and military invaders and colonizers

Examine Wills. Examine the role of property in culture and status. A Will, a form of writing that establishes in some areas who gets what, and easily includes donations to a religious sect when that sect demands presence at death (not just to save a soul, but see that papers are signed in time).  For the individual, illiterate or not, a Will give a sense of conclusion, continuity, a sense of time and place.

Who controls the will? The one who controls writing. If the testator cannot read or write, who is to say what was really agreed. Enter, the religious authority with the clout of damnation if the poor sick soul does not donate.

Old wills served a different function from ours.  Old wills could not dispose of anything at will.  Pun. That made the role of the church all the more overpowering in dispositions.
  • One of ours, in name only (similar first and last name, to some old deceased) Johannes Widingh 1376 .  The worldly goods of Johannes Widingh are recorded in perpetuity in the Hamburg records from yes, 1376.
Johannes Widingh 2011

Seeing an old will is its own satisfaction.

Keep a people ignorant and illiterate and on the run, and the colonizer-invader wins. Learn to read, and you can protect yourself, to a degree. So get your own records and see if you don't feel more rooted, less vulnerable -- all is kept -- and only a small processing fee and postage. Go and ask. See

  • The point is not just the fun of finding it, and a name (even if no relation at all) recognizable to an uncanny degree over 600 years later, but seeing a Truth:  A culture with writing has records. And the person with writing skills has power over the one who has not, particularly in transmission of goods and donations.  What is being signed for?  Who knows.

This will appears formal, but we see no seal, or signature of Johannes Widingh.  See the example of a very formal one with special certification from England at

7.  Vikings - Resources

No writing.  No respect. No look at invader causation (us). Just call them marauders, pirates.  See  No wills. Leaders arose and fell back as needed. Far less hierarchy than the Franks and Popes were imposing from the south. Although Vikings had no separate word for "religion", their customs and practices were based on long-standing tradition and belief. See arild-hauge site.

a.  Viking laws.  Even the word is Viking. See
b.  Viking society as self-regulating. Read the customs, emphasis on personal honor, use of vengeance at carefully chosen times, to uphold honor, daily life. To attack persons outside the law area was no crime. See
c.   Danish runes.  There were 16 until about 800 AD. Then more were added, and later, influenced by the Latin alphabet, see 
d.  Influence and place.  See

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bjernede, Inside: Round Church, Rundkirke, Interior. Saint Mary of Egypt, Mary the Harlot, Mary Magdalene

Round Church. Medieval.
 Bjernede, Inside.
Symbols, Saints.  Crusades?
And the Last Supper.

Issues Overview
I.  For the exterior of the medieval round church at Bjernede, and the churchyard, see
II.  For the interior, a basic question for us is whether this is a Templar-built or otherwise Crusader-purposed (including to accommodate pilgrims who could not get to the Holy Land) church, Templar-inspired (being round is not enough - the Roman Pantheon is round) or not Templar at all. And Last Supper issues.
Start with this third party video. It shows the upper level that was accessible only by a narrow stone spiral staircase.  That staircase was concealed behind a tightly shut big door with a distinctive cross on it (Crusade-related?) no sign or invitation to open.  We did not do that, so the video:  Martin Pavon, Photographer, at 
III.  We begin with the ground level, the worship level/ Do the symbols and art suggest that Bjernede is a Templar/Hospitaller/other Crusade-related church. That was common with other round churches, as is believed about the several round churches on the Danish island of Bornholm.   Clues: Crusader crosses, a Golden Chalice detail in a painting, crescent, Eastern Orthodox in Saints' dedication, perhaps ritual areas above and below the worship level.
Round churches in themselves are not necesssarily Templar or Crusades. And ordinary traditional rectangular shape churches may be. See this Swedish example of a Cross Church, Forshem Kirke, at  Scandinavians may or may not have participated actively in crusades, but structures were set up as a kind of pilgrimage-equivalence (Cross Churches) for donations and penance while remaining in one's own country, see Forshem site.
What might persuade one way or another about Bjernede. Is it copied from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, also known as the Church of the Resurrection (is that an eagle in the photo above, itself a symbol of the resurrection?), round and the dates fit.
A.  Topics Overview
1. Crusader Crosses, hidden defensible spiral staircase to ambulatory above; someone else to look up placement of windows against sun, moon shine
2.  Structure - granite first, then brick on upper - does not look Templar issue
3.  Seating.  Hierarchical toward a priest station. Obviously not original.  Is contrived to squeeze a round setting with all the pillars in the way, to an artificial priest-in front hierarchy setup. Better to have left it a round church.
4.  People in paintings -- Dedication to St. Lawrence (note crescent on his hat); and St. Mary; but which St. Mary?  Mary of Egypt?
4.1  Woman at the Last Supper, painting Tryptych.To us, clearly a woman, with female headdress on, to Jesus' left. Is that a medieval married woman's headdress? No hair showing, prim.  Looks like it. Research ongoing.
4.2  Woman in large painting:  St. Mary, as in dedication?  If Mary Mother of, why the smudged face. Disguise, or to deemphasize her role in an emerging male church. Is the eagle for Resurrection; or to suggest John.
We believe the painting instead is Mary of Egypt, Saint Mary the Harlot (not Mary Magdalene), Mary of the Desert, Patron Saint of Penitents. Her story takes place in Jerusalem and eastern environs. What does she carry -- music? Scripture to be sung? For Mary Mother of Jesus, could be Magnificat; for Mary of Egypt, she sang the Nunc Dimittis. See notes. Also painting of a 1691 family: The skull and hourglass:  Masonic?
4.3 Saint Lawrence - the Gridiron
5.  Furnishings - Impregnable poor box; or donation box; or for safekeeping. Is that for donations or goods for safekeeping while the person was away? See also the doors where the crosses are found, the width of the planking, pulpit
6.  Tryptych -- More on the painting of The Last Supper.
6.1  See the focus on the Gold Chalice - put that in context, if you like, of Templars, Holy Grail, or not.
6.2  See also what appears to be a woman at the Last Supper, part of the group, with head-covering, very close to Jesus. Is it Mary Magdalene at the Last Supper, at Jesus' left hand, at a round table. See notes below. Is this so?
6.3  Mystery figure #1, last supper. Need better photograph. Is it there?

6.4  Mystery figure #2, partially unclothed. Ewers nearby? Youth, whom Jesus loved? What did Danes understand, believe, why?
B.  Templar question. 
After seeing the crosses and the grail-form chalice in the painting,
 and other elements,
  • Ask if this second floor balcony area, and lower area, was used for purposes other than regular mass.  Is it for rituals, whatever, because it is so hard to see anything from there, up or down. Do go to Martin Pavon's video at .
  • We are not differentiating between Templars and Hospitallers here, except that it is Templars who are associated with the Grail, secretsl and we find some details of both.
A.  Topics
1.  Crusader Crosses
Start inside with an interest in crosses, and what they might say about the mindset or faith of the commissioner of this find building, Sune Ebeson, or Ebesen, in 1170 or so.  What elements of non-Roman Catholic doctrine, as that later developed, are missing;  what elements of either Eastern Orthodox faith (the Great Schism was recent - in 1054, and the Crusades began immediately after, in 1065 by Rome's branch alone; and Knights Templar activity ongoing in that context until 1314, when the dismantling and securing of whatever they had went underground. Hospitallers? Did they also have to dismantle?
Holy Grail (is that a shape, a circular concept like roundtable for living on a higher plane, not a "thing"), mere regular riches, secrets, none of the above. See the Round Churches Roundtables site above. Some early churches were martyria in the middle east, octagonal in shape, see  This however is not octagonal.
For an overview of Templar elements in known Templar round churches, such as in England, go to around page 308 ff and before.  Find analyses of axes, many symbol and ritual discussions, including sun, moon. Beyond the discussion here.
1.1.  This looks like a Cross Formee.
The Cross Formee is one of the crusader crosses, see That site shows all the crusader crosses used  by crusading states from the 12-15th Centuries.  This is different from a Maltese.
The entire door shows that the vertical axis is not just continued down the length of the door, but is an equal-sided cross.  Even the midline of the door just below the cross has a different linear design to separate it from the cross above.   Some illustrations of the Maltese Cross show indentations, making a kind of 4 arrowhead pattern aiming in to the center from the axes. Is that necessary, or just one of the variations?
The round knocker is for ritual use, as the door handle that actually opens the door is there at the left.
1.2  This looks like a Cross Ancree, or Cross Moline, a Forked Cross, other names. 
All doors were tightly shut in the church, no invitation to enter and explore.
Crusader crosses are intersecting equal arms, equal horizontal and vertical axes, and what is behind?  The online video of this 1170 church, see sune Ebbeson's work at, photographer Martin Pavon, shows stairs, and upper chambers.
The Cross Ancree has a more pronounced curl at the end of the forked axis end, than the Cross Moline. A Maltese Cross, however, is like four arrowheads facing in to the center, each arrowhead itself in a pointed V shape at the end, wider there than at the center.
There are little anchor hooks that curve on the Moline and Ancree at the end of the axes, make both variations different from a Maltese Cross.  Do see the History of the Maltese Cross site for the crosses used by the Order of St. John of Jerusalem prior to the 15th Century, see
This cross ancree door is strongly reinforced. There is the same patterned exposed stonework inside and out. I think this was interior. The knocker would signal the participant in the ante room that the time has come to come out, or some such. Outdoor ritual knockers can provide the same service.
2.  Structure.  Granite, many colors, interior.
3.  Seating reconformed to put priest in front.  Awkward. Contrived. When was the round format altered to the cruciform, hierarchical all eyes in one direction, to the priest?
First, there is a Roman Catholic cross on the inside over the door now, with a hanging Christ, long vertical axis, shorter horizontal axis.  That would be later than the building of the church, is that so?
Seating.  It just doesn't work in a cruciform format.  The entire arrangement of seating and ritual places is awkward and contrived, with seating requiring awkward angles of neck and poor eyeballs just to see.  One's nose touches the pulpit.  That is Matthew and Mark there, however.  You can't miss that.
This shape of round is far more suitable for the older in-the-round services, rituals.  Matters would have been conducted in the round, and turned later for reasons of ideology into an axis dominated structure. It jars. See what looks like an original and untouched round church structure in Austria near Lienz at
We see that most of the Danish round churches on the Danish island of Bornholm also have added transepts. See Osterklars Kirke, photographs by Sara Hindenmark, at  The music is awful.  Have they also put altars in them, turning the orientation from the round to the hierarchical? We would like to see whether those were original, or came later when the Roman authoritarian doctrinal version of life became entrenched. See also Henry Lincoln's 1979 documentary cum speculation on round churches, Templars, beginning with findings at Rennes le Chateau, France (Languedoc), and Bornholm, and elsewhere, and moving on to a multi$ industry in Templar objets, see
At least in Austria, where we saw a round church structure later turned into an axis-dominated one, they had the sense to remove the round walls and reconstruct the square inside.  See Martinskirche, Martin's Church, Linz (not the same as Lienz), Austria, at
4.  People in the church
4.1  Identifying figures - St. Lawrence, Saint Laurentii, other?
Where to start in identifying figures. This looks like someone of high clergy status with the incensor; but look at the hat. Our conclusion will be that this is indeed St. Lawrence, and that he is not carrying an incensor, but it takes a pursuit.
Saint Lawrence is one of the two saints honored by this church. There are a number of symbols that help in identifying him, or parts of his story.  Are there other St. Lawrences.  It cannot be the Archbishop Olaus Laurentii because he died in 1438.  
  • The breastplate.  Gridiron.  Look again at the symbols.  St. Laurentii of this church often bears a symbol of a gridiron, the method of his martyrdom. See  This figure bears a gridiron on his chest..
Get closer. Yes!  We vote for this as the old martyred St. Lawrence.  Look at the breastplate.
Lawrence is said to have said at one point, "You may turn me over.  I am done on this side."  See site. 
  • But there is also a crescent on the headdress.
On his hat is a crescent moon, or perhaps a horn symbol.  For Templars, the crescent moon is part of the iconography, and as a symbol predate the actual formation of that group.  This is not to argue that this particular crescent is a harbinger of Crusader symbols, but it would tie in the Church figure to the later effort, is that so? The crescent is also part of the symbolism of the old Mithra, and the form is incorporated in Roman Catholic iconography, see
The crescent, or horns, are common symbols in many cultures. Mithraism, for example, was the old State religion of Rome, and it was long in dying out, and horns were part of that ritual. Paul of Tarsus -- Tarsus was a central part of Mithraism, and there are many carryovers from Mithraism to Christianity. See
Still, a crescent, if seen as the moon and not pagan horns, is a problem. These are generally female symbols.  How does that figure into a Christian theology unless this man so predated Rome that he continued to carry the older, non-Christian symbolism. See the mindserpent site:  the crescent became a symbol of cosmic conception. And, the female at one time in evolving Christianity (these aspects later deemed heretic and stamped out) was part of the trinity, even the godhead. See gnostic sources, example, truth is the mother, knowledge the father, etc. See also, 
Perhaps the crescent means that, as the elvis.rowan site indicates, history is not clear that St. Laurentii was a citizen of Rome.  If he were a citizen, he would have been beheaded, not roasted alive.  But was he beheaded after all?  Nothing is corroborated. And the "incensor" may just be instead just Laurentii carrying his own coals.
4.2  The smudged woman.

Saint Mary - Other saint?  We know that this church was raised in honor of St. Lawrence and St. Mary, see, but which St. Mary? There is a large painting of a woman in the church, but it looks like  no madonna we have seen.
a.  Mary Mother of Jesus?  We think not.
This painting of a woman is prominent in Bjernede Church. But the usual corroborative symbols are not there for this to be Mary Mother of Jesus.
  • Garment colors, often blue for Mary;  here green gown and a red cloak (those colors sometimes indicated leprosy, see; or blood of sacrifice, remission of sin, etc. Also, later, prostitution
  • It appears that someone tried to smudge the face.  Is that so that it would look male, and not be Mary at all? 
  • Even the gown does not show a female top particularly (not determinative, many sizes); 
  • The bottom of the gown also is odd.  Is that just bad restoration, or did someone try to make that look more masculine as well, and end up making it look even more female -- leg lines clearly shown.  
  • The figure is carrying what looks like music - and to mind comes the Magnificat, but that is speculation.  
  • What is that eagle at her feet?
    • Does that eagle persuade us that this woman is really St. John? The eagle is not a gryphon, because there is no body of a lion. St. John is represented by an eagle. If this is John the "beloved disciple" -- this looks cross-dressing. And not male where it counts.
  • There is no halo, as would appear for a saint. Or has it been also smudged out?  
  • The pose carries no clue as to her role.  As to Mary and Motherhood, this is not a madonna, not a grieving mother. Is there another Mary? Bottom line: There would have been a large representation of a saint to whom the church was dedicated, and this is the only candidate we see for a Mary. The issue becomes, which Saint Mary. Mary Mother of.
Close up:
  • Look closer. Smudge, smudge.  The smudges may try, but do not succeed in turning this woman into a man, even with a mustache. If the smudges mean that someone made an effort to purge women from church prominence, as doctrine later required, that might explain it. That concept of the diminution of women's roles would apply from dogma as it evolved in an institution increasingly male-worshiping.
  • If it is Mary Mother of, then the and the eagle can symbolize the resurrection idea, but that is a stretch. See  This one does not even look like an eagle. It looks all white.  Then again, a double headed eagle, facing in opposite directions, is a Templar symbol, so is this one of what would otherwise be a pair.  
  • Why the defacing if this is intended to make a woman look more like a man.  Is it because Rome;s evolving doctrine excluded women in such a prominent position. Check Rome's purchase receipts for smudgepots.
b.  We think this is Saint Mary the Harlot.  Saint Mary of Egypt.  Saint Mary of the Desert.
There is indeed another Saint Mary - not Mary Magdalene, not Mary the mother of James etc; but Mary the Harlot, known in the Coptic Church particularly, 4th-5th Century, who was also known as Saint Mary of Egypt. She is a patron saint of penitents, one who became a hermit and lived her life events mostly in Palestine. .  See  See FN 1
There are many versions of her story, each with inclusions and exclusions that support the ideology being fostered.
  • 1275 Roman version.  See the Roman Catholic The Golden Legend, Lives of the Saints, Story of St. Mary of Egypt at   She went to Alexandria at age 12 says versions that follow this line, and prostituted herself, then to Jerusalem and the salacious life commenced. [If we ask why this church is dedicated to her, the crusader connection may help explain how the idea of this particular saint got to Denmark.]
  • 635 Orthodox version. Her life story was written hundreds of years earlier, however, by St. Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem in 635 or so. Find it at the Orthodox Christian site, Russian Orthodox, at  That early version also contains the salaciousness but puts it in a context of a total story including about the priest Zosima, who had his flaws as well.  Both come across as sinners. When a version was put into Latin as part of the Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine, Archibishop of Genoa in 1275, the emphasis is more on her sinner side, not the sinnership also of the men around her.
  • In this version,  Mary is a woman from the desert, see Images of her with a robe worn toga-style, a sinful woman now penitent.  But she becomes the vehicle for the salvation of the priest who was directed in a vision to go seeking grace in the desert.  He did, and found Mary, and learned.asked Zosimas the priest (that would be St. Zosimas of Palestine, see to lend her his cloak to better cover herself, and he did. 
Is that the red cloak in the painting: Zosimas' cloak for modesty.
  • In this version, She had powers, levitated, "knew" things, and Zosimas the priest became her disciple. She also could walk on water. And she spoke the Nunc Dimittis while taking the sacrament.  Is that a book of scripture she is carrying. In those days, couldn't the language of the people be used, and not just Latin? So the script that looks like music could be something else. She had died by the next time he visited, a year later, and a lion helped Zosimas bury her, not an eagle. As to her carrying music here, if the painting is late in time, there are operatic allusions to her, including in Goethe's Faust. She is in Ben Jonson's Volpone. See
  • In this next version, Mary is a pure girl who studied the scriptures under the tutelage of an uncle, named Abraham the Hermit, a holy man relative, each in adjoining cells (she was an orphan), then she was seduced by a monk. See  She became so distraught at the evil she had done with him that she lacerated her face with her nails. There explains the mess that looked like smudges, or bad restoration.  She did that to herself. How could she have let herself be so despoiled, etc. So she left, went to another land, changed clothes, and entered a brothel [word "stabulum" also can mean a fixed abode, or hostelry, says site note; translators pick and choose what fits the agenda?].  Meanwhile, the uncle missed her, had visions, sent someone for information, got it, went in disguise to her himself, and ate and drank with her and "rescued her soul from the deeps."
  • She is not Mary Magdalene.  Mary the Harlot, Mary of Egypt lived about 370 CE.
So, Mary the Harlot it is. 
She raked her own face with her nails, was seduced by the monk (it took a year for him to succeed, pure girl as she was), regretted having been seduced, self-blamed, either went into the desert or into an inn to live, or a brothel, was found by those who had visions where she was, and why they needed to go to her, and she ended up saving them. Or at least, one of them.  Applause, Mary the Harlot.  Applause.
Wikipedia at offers more salacious details of Mary's early life -- hardly living in a cell with a holy man uncle on the other side of the wall -  in the era that followed her life, it became important for theologians to demonize women, place them beneath the superior blessed male.  So, down she went.
4.3  Painting of Family from 1691 (date known from enlarging this to death)
What are they holding? The rectangle above the skull and bone looks like an hour glass. What happened to these people?  We do not see a record of the Plague here at that time.  It looks like they are blessing the little one; one adult holds a rose. 
A clue is the center bottom skull, bone, and hourglass.  Those are Masonic symbols, that even found their way into Dan Brown's book, The Lost Symbol, see The Lost Symbol, google book, author Dan Brown, page 155
There are also other sites for the symbolism but without the ability to vet authority, suggest you search independently. Skulls and bones and hourglasses also, of course, appear in non-Masonic contexts, How to discern?
 5.  Bjernede Church furnishings, accoutrements
5.1  Poor box or safe for donations, valuables
Not just a poor box. This appears too iron-clad, literally, to be a mere poor-box that the priest would check weekly and use for whatever.  Yet it would be portable as a safe, for taking to a common collection point. Ordinary clergy, or perhaps Holy Orders holding goods and papers for pilgrims, for literal safe-keeping, and then return' or reversion to the institution if no-one comes back.
.Poor-box,  for charitable donations; or property receptacle, to be held for returning crusaders? Bjernede Kirke, Bjernede Round Church, DK
 Well locked. It looks like the property or coin or documents would fall through a hole below for further safekeeping/
5.2  Pulpit
Matthew and Mark are on the pulpit, photo at top in the seating section. They are identified by name.
6.  Tryptych, with Golden Chalice featured;  and Woman at the Last Supper by J's side.  Additional figure?
This Tryptych, a three part and still possibly folding presentation of a Biblical event, with Patrons on either side: routine.

6.1  The Chalice.

A gold Chalice is at the center of this Last supper view, pre-Leonardo
There is a prominent, and held-high, chalice of gold. There is a general buzz going on in the group, and somebody is pointing at the Chalice so we are sure not to miss it. Reading a narrative into the prominence of this golden Chalice, it does fit in the context of crusades and a mysterious holy grail that was handily thought of as a Thing.  The Templars found and took that Thing, or that idea, or the riches spiritual or material that it represented, somewhere. 
A Grail allusion right here.
6.2  The Woman at the Last Supper.  
What is that figure to the right of J? The figure is wearing a head covering, it looks like a married woman's head covering, all the hair covered; and she is is very very close to J.
  • Mary? Mary Magdalene? Is that you? The figure to the right side of J, from our viewpoint in front.
  • Look  back at the gnostic (excluded from the canon as heresy) Gospel of Philip,, and the imagery of bride, bridegroom, and the stories of a marriage having occurred between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, all suppressed as were other gospels depicting the female as part of the trinity, wisdom, possibly totally false (the church said so and banned them and the men took over)  but a popular theme and we will never know.
It is not John.  We see John in front of Jesus, fast asleep and paying no attention to all this at all, his head down on the table..  So this figure with the headdress cannot be argued, as it has been in the case of a possible Mary in Leonardo's Last Supper, that the figure some see as Mary really is just John, the Beloved. Here we have both Mary and John in the same picture.
It is not even clear that John was the beloved disciple; see the references to the youth whom Jesus loved,!/2012/03/vetting-lexicons-thayers-joseph-henry.html
It is not Judas. We think we see Judas, in front, with his coins held carefully behind his back. Or is that another figure showing at the angle there.  Add them all up:  all the heads and we have Jesus plus12 people there, including Mary Magdalene. Who else?  This was long before DaVinci interpreters looked at his ambiguous presentation. Look even closer.
Does the painting now need protection? Do we hear the church saying: We can't have Mary at the Last Supper there, nosirree, and not with a married headdress. And certainly not so close, can we, even if she was. We don't care what really happened. We have our dogma to protect. Get rid of her. Now.
This woman, we think of as Mary, is indeed wearing a head covering,  None of the other figures wear a head covering like that.  That is a lot of fabric, not just a cap.

6.3  The mystery man, lower right, behind what may be Judas?

It looks like another figure. Not sure.

6.4   The second mystery man, lower left, unclothed beneath

Counting:  Do we now have 12 disciples?  Count. Yes. Jesus 1, 12 others. But that includes Mary Magdalene.  And who is the one seated, partially unclothed as shown in this enlargement.
 John is asleep elsewhere. Who is this?

Maybe we are getting too close. Look at the figure above and to the left of the wine. He wears no clothing, lower half.  Buttocks. Bottomed out?  Have to get to the bottom of that. And whose feet are whose. Feet and bottoms, for heaven's sake.  That is really weird.
On the other hand, stories get sanitized to fit the demands of dogma.  Look back at the references to a young man, the youth whom Jesus loved, summarized at the Thayer site lexicon above.  The word could have meant a person also in a servant or assistant relationship, is that why the ewers are next to him?  Disciple meant "learner" -- need we get hung up on a particular 12?
B.  Templar Questions
Templars or not, what explanation is thee for the crosses and the focus on eastern saints like Mary of Egypt (born in Egypt, even with all the variations on her story).  Gnostic interest in dualism, the female in religious structure. Even Hospitallers, who  also became a military order combining role of Knight and Monk, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem is one of those. See discussion at
This set of ideas will take a return trip.  A better camera, time to explore, now that we know what we are looking for. Go to the upper levels. Open the doors, poke around like any obnoxious tourist. Why did we hesitate to open closed doors?  Mother's manners.
 In the Martin Pavon video of the other level, at, watch for the part with a cross etched in the wood scaffolding framework. Nothing is ever clear. It does show which door to open, however, we think.  In old tales, open closed doors and find who knows what.
Need to go to the island of Bornholm where several Templar Churches are located.
FN 1
Consider.  The Golden Legend was written in about 1275.  That puts the Roman Catholic version a hundred years after the church at Bjernede was dedicated to here. So this church and the crusaders would have relied for their knowledge of Mary upon St. Sophronius.
Ask whether the idea of penitence, emphasized in the Orthodox, is overwhelmed by the idea of what she did -- sins of the flesh -- emphasized in the Roman.  Did she prostitute herself? And how much was that an element, if she did.  Example of issue: Another version of her story says that "stabulum" or "brothel" also means simply fixed place of abode, see below. See the Golden Legend side translated into -- is it Arabic? at Why not translate the Sophronius?
The role of the focus on her salacious life, rather than the total context and relationship also with Zosima. The 1275 version operates to discredits her as an inspired human being and turns her into a victim of her carnal lusts.  Earlier versions did not have her a slave to lust.  Somebody needs to do a comparison of the Patriarch of Jerusalem version in 635 against the Archbishop of Genoa version in 1275. Is it just a matter of leaving parts out, or are there other changes. It looks more like parts just left out.
She is in the Orthodox calendar for observances, but not the Roman Catholic. She is honored by special events in Crete (Wikipedia site below) so would have had connections with Crusaders going East. How could they miss her.
Her story is a touching one, but details vary with the teller and translation.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bjernede Outside: Round Church. Bjernede Kirke. Bjernede Rundkirke

The Round Church at Bjernede, Zealand, Denmark: The Outside

Bjernede is near the town of Soro on Zealand.  The round church was built in 1160, thanks to one Sune Ebbeson who was a governor to Valdemar the Great, Valdemar I. See family history at 

 The "bishop's hat" on top came later to the cone roof. This was the time of the Crusades, and some may argue that this was a church inspired by, or fostering, or actually used by Templars - Hospitallers, based on symbols, architectural points, see a Norwegian site laying those out, at 

Find a picture there of interest, of an old church (as a search for it, we looked up a Swedish "Cross Church", Forshem, there, for its Templar elements), then cut and pasted to a translator.  Clicking on English does not translate the whole site at once. I cannot vouch for the site, but offer it for others' vetting.  It is a site of interest either for past or ongoing Templar interests, neither or both..

1.  Inscription, dedication

The inscription at the exterior door indicates the dedication:  To Saint Mary and Saint Lawrence.

Lawrence? Lawrence was a martyr of 257 AD who was told to give over the riches of the church, according to a popular story; so he gave the riches to good stewards; then presented  a collection of the poor and downtrodden as the real riches. Beheaded, most likely; but there is a more gory popular tale, not corroborated, see Why would Sune Ebbeson dedicate this building to Lawrence? So far, we see no particular connection to Scandinavian conversion. Where did Lawrence live?  I believe Italy.

2.  Structure

The church is a round tower, two-stories inside, open; with side transepts on two adjoining sides.  The view from the front shows a clearly round church -- stroll around back and see a totally different configuration - two transepts.  One looks original, and one looks tacked on.  Note the upper windows, and check this site for a possible significance for the double arch.  In some Templar-type churches, those line up with the sun or moon at certain times of the year, for ritual purposes. Is that so? Scroll down at  

2.1  Round church - not enough in itself to be Templar, but interesting possibility.

Round churches traditionally are said to be defensive structures, including Bjernede, see Castles of God, Fortified Religious Buildings of the World, by Peter Harrison 2004, Defensive purpose, round church structure.

  • In Harrison's book, defense against the Wends is cited.  But the Wends were not just another tribe on the rampage against Christian incursions.  Wends were a prime target of the Pope's Northern Crusades - Crusader interests again -- see Wends and the Pope's Northern Crusades.  What other purposes, if any, underlie it?  Perhaps none. Still, see the history of the Wends -- the Templars or their religious army equivalents were themselves on the rampage there, see  Merely citing a defensive purpose and generally saying "Wends" does not detract from a now more likely than ever Templar, or at least Teutonic Knights function or interest.
 moving from Germany north to Scandinavia where the Wends were being pushed.

The round architectural style is old (Rome's Pantheon, Charlemagne's octagonal-round chapel), and came more into style for churches after the crusades. Connected to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in style, even if just as copycat possibly.

Some round churches are truly round: no transepts jutting out.  What is the significance of the shape.  See

There is a cluster of round churches on Bornholm, an island of Denmark accessible by ferry; and those suggest a Templar tradition.
  • Who is a scholar here, and who is repeating wishful, adventure-thinking?  See  Assuming a grain of truth between the series of round churches here and in Europe, see this round church in that context:  of the same era, in this early orthodox era. 
  • If there is a connection between those going to and returning from Crusades, from the time soon after the Great Schism in 1054, where the Roman Christians split from the Eastern Orthodox Christians; to the first Crusade in about 1065; through Rome's western Christians slaughtering even Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Sack of Constantinople in 1204 (about 35 years after this Church was built); and through the murder of the Templars allegedly completed with the burning of Jacques deMolay in 1314, and subsequent and earlier flights of Templars and alleged riches and the Grail with them, supposedly;  that puts this church in an active crusading and east-west conflict period and open to those influences. 
  • As to Templars and crusaders going and coming, there would be a strong influence of eastern Christianity brought with them.  The exposure at least was there. If Templars favored Rome's rival, Orthodox and other eastern ideas, in any way, would Rome long tolerate it? What happened to the round churches. Were they ever Templar, part of a network to safety, concealment. Enter, Hollywood.
  • A Templar or other secret society connection would explain the anomaly noted at, that rites at the lower level cannot be seen from the upper, easily; and the upper level is also only accessible up a spiral clockwise stair, very narrow, so that noone in armor could ascend.  If they did, their right arm, presumably the sword arm, would be pinned to the center of the spiral, leaving only the left arm free to wield.  That was a customary defensive construct in castles and churches, and appears here.  See video by Martin Pavone at
Look at the shape in that context, East and West in collision, lines not firmly drawn.

So, can we explore the shape as more than mere architecture choice.  Explore the shape as an expression of a mindset of the builder, a belief system that reflect pre-Roman Church Latin or an alternative to Roman Church Latin-dominance ideas (brick Gothic expressed the Roman emerging idea, these are earlier Romanesque from an era of no division:  no hierarchy imposition yet? vet the idea.  See that and other historical considerations, unanswered, a theorist merely recording theory points, at  FN 1. Or not.

For now, stay what is seen.

2.2  The shape of the cross

Equal-sided crosses can be the Prussian Iron Cross, that later became a symbol of Fascism; the Maltese Cross, with its inward aimed arrowheads; a sun-wheel or ring cross, see Celtic crosses;  see

This church shows a theme of the Greek cross with its equal sides. See it at  It is the most ancient cross -- ans suggests by that that the crucifixion was not central to Christianity at the outset at all.  That emerged as doctrinally important later, and then the cross itself became the kind of cross that a crucifixion would probably take place upon:  a long vertixal axis for the body, a shorter horizontal axis for the aris.

The equal sided cross, however, is more easily accommodated in a circular shape, so that reinforces the idea that the circular was earlier as an idea for Christianity before east and west so split, than the later Latin Roman big church with the long aisle etc. Is that so?

Door symbols here do not look Roman Catholic.  This is an interior door, included here because of the cross, but also to show that closed doors, that an ordinary tourist would not touch, can hold back on so much of interest.
  • This equal sided cross is not inscribed in a circle, and has two scrolly forked ends.  See it and variations, called the Forked Cross, at All Crosses, 
  • To be a  Greek cross, would the ends have to be plain?  
  • The crux of this church, pun intended, is behind the closed doors like this one.  
  • Behind, we now learn, is a staircase, a narrow defensive stone spiral stair, to the upper level.  See the video at
  • See if you find there some more corroboration for the idea that this, like other round churches in Denmark and elsewhere, have crusader and even Templar connections.

The doors like this were all closed when we went inside, so we did not know that behind at least one was a staircase leading to an upper level where all is laid out for non-usual mass reasons.

And we had no idea we could open the doors (we hesitate to barge around) and go up.

Other people have, however,
  • There are also multiple circles.  Those may just be decorative; or represent, according to this site (giving both traditional Christian and other non-Christian origins) the female principle and power, sun disk, sacred hoop, unity, infinity, and gnostic elements. Scroll down to the circle at Symbols and Their Meaning at

3.  Construction.

Here:  What was the timing of adding the second transept?  One does look out of place. Need to look up the evolution of church architecture. Sune Ebbesen began the church in granite, then switched to brick, then a new building material coming into fashion in Denmark at that time, as the techniques improved.

There are two transepts. This one, all brick with a stair-step facade, does not look "of a piece" to the main building.  There is no flow to the joins. Tacked on?  Did a later vestry suddenly want an entryway for the pamphlets and sign-up sheets? And a coat rack?

4. The churchyard

4.1  Burials

Who is buried where is addressed at   The inscriptions are not preserved, out under lichen, and hard to read.  We saw no information tracts inside the building.

Our interest is in the pre-Roman hierarchy influences that are suggested by a round church, equal-sided cross. Is there ground for that interest. This one, for example, looks not like a Christian cross, but like the Sun Wheel, or Odin's Wheel.  See it at this site illustrating cross shapes: All Crosses at

This cross is inside a circle. The quartered circle, or sacred circle with equal lines pointing to north, south, east, west, is not Christian in origin, and has strong pagan roots, although it was later adopted -- particularly by Celtic Christians, think Irish. See it as the sun cross, at The wording on the stone is illegible, enlarge and tinker as we try with contrasts.

Found in the burial yard were some very old graves, see the medievaldanishfamilies site above.  Two men, perhaps not Ebbe?  That would be a Greek Cross, except for its placement within the circle. Is that so?

The lettering shows deaths in the 17th Century. The little rectangle encloses ,

4.2  A Place for Bells

Is this a belfry?  Probably not. Belfries originated as watch towers, a place to go for safety.  Bells were often located there, to give warning.  This garden level church bellhouse would not, then, be a belfry, but used similarly:  mark the services, and even danger.  See

Why would having bells be a "horror to the heathens?" That is said not in connection with this church, but another. See  See overall discussion of modern vs. old worship at

5.  Materials, timing, symbols. 

Ebbe began in granite, ended in brick.  This stair-step facade on the churchyard gate house, as to style, in that area looks new.  The little bishop's hat on top of the roof, the little tower part, is very new:  it was added in 1892.  Adding a bishop's hat is a further way of distancing from any whiff of the Orthodox. Another equal-sided cross is suggested by the window at the top near the roofline.

5.1. Is transept the right word for those appendages?

The window also echoes the style on the main round tower. This is an amateur talking. Move closer to get the trees out of the way. The join looks all of a piece.

5.2 Practicality

A window at the end would also be needed to light up that section.

6.  Eastern influences.

We assume that Rome converted all of Europe to Christianity, but that is not so. It was fight all the way. Even Constantine rejected what Rome was doing, see the Cyril and Methodius site below.

The earlier Orthodox (before there was the Great Schism) missionaries included Cyril and Methodius, in the Slavic areas to the Baltic, see; and Ansgar, Apostle of the North, also had an orthodox background, we understand.  The violence of the Holy Roman Emperors, including Charlemagne, did not get this far, but word did most likely.  Do what Rome wants.

The original transept here could fit an Orthodox-slanted tradition, see; that would leave for later years the need for a convenient rain-shielding entryway.

Brick peak roof addition. Fake.  Take it off. This is supposed to be a round church.

See other round churches:  they mostly follow an axis inside as that Greek cross, equal arms, creating an easy circle form. Add an entry and all is well.  It was later that the Roman or Latin cross took over architecture, as Rome tried to diminish the influence of the Orthodox after Rome left the Orthodox in the 11th Century, is that so?  But Orthodox had been at work in Scandinavia long before that, before the Schism, so a Greek cross would have been a natural.

The good guy transept, that fits;  is on the right.  The bad new guy, with the stair-step facade that doesn't fit, is on the left.  Is that so?  That is brick gothic, much later than the Romanesque of 1170. Doesn't match at all. Is there a brochure on this, or are we just wrong here? Who has the series of footprints, floor plans? Find a photo showing that odd transept more clearly, at


This is to keep ideas in one place, not necessarily recommended reading for anyone else.
FN 1  A History aside. Look again at the meaning of the shape of the round church. Can it be seen as a protest against the hierarchy, authoritarian set-up of the Roman version of Christianity elsewhere. A nod to the other branch known to the Scandinavians through the Slavs, the Orthodox.
  • What was Norse culture. Why do we patronize multi-deists as "pagan". We have the trinity -- a thinly disguised multi-deist system. They say there was human sacrifice. Was there? Was that event as bad as persecutions of Jews, Inquisitions, Crusades East and Crusades North, Witch-burnings? The Norse had a functioning centuries' old self-sustaining tradition. Where to find Christianity-history that is not an agenda, proselytizing, painting all the saints as saintly and all the men as good-looking, etc. Start with the BBC -; but even that is assuming a superiority to the Christian.
Challenge the BBC.  Scandinavians did not adopt Christianity easily. The first missionary came in the 700-800's.  Conversion took until about 1200 for Scandinavia.  BBC, even your account is rosy false. How can that be? Where is your narrative of Charlemagne against the Saxons;  and the Northern Crusades.
  • Needed as we wind down this great (to us) trip to Denmark:  A neutral statement of the multi-deist culture of the northern people: how were they worse than the Inquisition, the persecutions, the witch-burnings, etc?  We need a good norse advocate. What did they gain by conversion except entry into the dubiously "superior" world of moneymaking and powergrabbing by making churches into institutions.   They had a more egalitarian culture than ours, did fine. Is that so? It was merely force and not merit, that turned the tide. 
So, when there is a round church, that suggests ties to the oldest Christian roots and ideas of egalitarianism, might that have come through an early church Orthodox influence, before the Great Schism? Or is it happenstance. Nobody seems to know. See

What is Orthodoxy had won over Rome instead of Rome prevailing over the rest of Europe?  Rome had militance and administrative skills; and the exclusions of Mithraism (no women allowed).  Paul's home town was a center of Mithraism. None of that is merit in belief.  That is force.
  • Was there an influence of the Orthodox in the 12th Century in Scandinavia, or at least a hesitation in adopting everything Roman.  Round churches fostered either the informal service of the earliest times, in the round; or providing with the transept a place for the iconostasis, where parts of the service took place away from view.  The Orthodox had been in Scandinavia, Cyril and Methodius' ideas including services in the native language (hated by Rome) came up through the Slavic areas of the Baltic, and had at least some influence until the Pope's Northern Crusades 1231-1282 or so (see  
  • Why the aversion to the West? It appears that the Viking raids on Christian monasteries began not long after Charlemagne's slaughter of the Saxons and forced conversions of other Holy Roman Emperors.  Scandinavia wanted no part of this religion. Who wouldn't lash out? See the dates outlined and connection suggested at  So Western Roman Christianity in that sense asked fo r it.  They started killing off any who would not convert, or re-convert if they had been already Christianized by the Orthodox, according to Rome's standards. See Charlemagne in the Saxon lands: word spread. 
  • And it got worse, with the Northern Crusades. Any Prussians targeted by the Teutonic Knights, for example, were already Christian -- converted by the Orthodox.  But this site does not mention that, see;  this one does, and heavily (properly so) see
  • See also timeline at
  • The Greek cross idea of equal distance between worshippers and whoever led the service, also in the early church had signified the equality of all before God, men, women, rich, poor -- as J himself had practised. The Latin-Roman sect after the Schism with the Orthodox changed architecture and doctrine that entrenched a hierarchy idea in Christianity -- the Roman or Latin cross with its huge vertical axis, and little horizontal.