Runer og kirken
Christianity was established as the official religion in Norway soon after the year 1000. Runic inscriptions with a Christian content appear from an early date. Most runestones from the late Viking Age are in fact Christian monuments. Many have crosses and Christian prayers for the soul of the deceased.
A number of runic inscriptions from the Scandinavian Middle Ages are found carved on the walls of both stone and stave churches. Most are graffiti, but sometimes more official inscriptions occur, such as the recording of the consecration of the church. Runes are also found on church furnishings such as baptismal fonts.
This display contains a brick from a church in Oslo from about 1300 with the runes ariak. The brick was part of a larger frieze containing the angel Gabriel’s greeting to the Virgin Mary from the Latin prayer: [Ave M]aria g[ratia plena], ‘Hail Mary, full of grace’. Two of the bricks have been reconstructed.
1. ‘[Ave M]aria g[ratia plena]’/‘Hail Mary, full of grace’. Brick from Oslo. C. 1300.
2.‘+ Andrés P(riest). + Farmaðr.’ Bell clapper from Askim Church. 1200s/1300s?
3.‘Símon Priest had [the ring?/the runes?] struck ...’ Door-ring from Fister Church. 1200s/1300s?
4. ‘... me ...’ (mainly unreadable). Key (originally a door-ring) from Eid Chapel. 1200s/1300s?
5. ‘(That) man carved these runes who is called Ketill Sveinsson at Ábý. Þormóðr held me when he marked me. Ketill the smith.’ Mounting for a hinge on a door, supposedly from Tuddal Church. 1200s/1300s?
Photos: Eirik Irgens Johnnsen © Museum of Cultural History