The Frederickschurch - FR 337-38 - Ausgabe: 14.09.1998
do not know with certainty how many churches there have been in the rural
district of Nes nor when the first church was built there. The first church
which is mentioned in written documents was built in the period between 1679
and 1691 while Jacob Christensøn Klinte was the parish priest in Eysturoy.
However, it is unlikely that this was the first church in Nes. There is written
proof that there has been a priest in Nes since 1541, which makes it natural to
assume that there was also a church there at the time. In the first entry in
the Account Book, dated 4 March 1691, the following is stated: “I have had the
Church built….”. This may give us a hint about the construction date.
From the accounts, we can see that it took seven years before the church got
its steeple. The reason was probably that there was not enough money to build
the steeple. The costs connected with the building of the steeple were around a
third of the total building costs. The reason for the relatively high costs for
the steeple is that it consisted exclusively of wood, whereas several of the
external walls were made of stone, which was easier and cheaper to acquire.
This church stood until 1761.
The following year a new church was built. This time, the building material was
wood. It is possible that this is the first wooden church outside Tórshavn. A
wooden church was built in Tórshavn in 1609. When the church was demolished in
1843, all reusable material was transported by boat to the rural district of
Saltnes, where a new school was built.
The present church in Nes was built in 1843 and stands on the same site as the
previous churches. It was built while Christian Benedictus Garde was priest in
Eysturoy and the rural dean on the Faroe Islands.
In days of old, the Parish of Nes stretched from the rural district of Nes to
the rural district of Skipanes. Today, the Parish comprises the rural districts
of Nes, Toftir, Saltnes and Æðuvík.
As a result of the heavy population growth in the Parish since the turn of the
century, and, in particular, since the end of the Second World War, the church
in Nes gradually became unable to accommodate the churchgoers of the Parish,
and a larger church was required in the region. Much consideration was given to
the location of the church. Great importance was attached to the church having
a central location, the church being visible and to it being possible to hear
the church bells from as far a way as possible. For several years, an attempt
was made to find the completely right location, and in the first half of the
eighties, collection of funds for the new church was commenced, and the
building work was completed in 1994.
The new church - the Frederickschurch, Fríðrikskirkjan in Faroese - is named
after Frederik Petersen, who was the rural dean in Nes from 1900 to 1917. He
was born in the rural district of Saltnes, where his father, Jóhannes Petersen,
was a teacher and parish clerk at the church in Nes. In addition to his work in
the church, Frederik Petersen was also active in Faroese politics. He was a
member of the Lagting (the Faroese Representative Council) for several years,
and he also represented the Faroe Islands in the landsting for several years.
In 1906, Frederik Petersen was one of the founders of the Faroese party
Sambandsflokkurìn (equivalent to the Danish Liberal-Democratic Party), of which
he was also the leader until his death in 1917.
Frederik Petersen was also a good songwriter. Among his best-known songs are
“Tiðin rennur sum streymur i á” (Time passes like a current in the river)
(1882), “Deyði hvar er broddur tín” (Death where is thy sting) (1900) and the
Faroese version of the Christmas hymn “Merry Christmas' (1891). Frederik
Petersen also translated the Lord’s Prayer from Danish into Faroese (1892). He
was made a Knight of the Dannebrog in 1907.
For several years, the rural dean on the Faroe Islands had his seat in the old
Parish of Nes. For more than half the period in which the Faroese rural deanery
lasted, the rural dean lived in Nes. One of the best known rural deans on the
Faroe Islands was Heini Havreki, who was the rural dean in the period 1557-1566
and thus the first rural dean on the Faroe Islands.
The architect behind Fríðrikskirkjan is Høgni Würdig Larsen (b. 1951) from
Tórshavn. After graduating from the College of Architecture of the Academy of
Fine Arts in 1979, Høgni W. Larsen studied for a year at the Technical College
in Helsinki in 1981 and then studied for a year at the Nordic Institute of
Social Community Planning in Stockholm in 1982. When the Parish of Nes offered
an architect contract for open competition for a new church in the rural
district of Toftir on Eysturoy, Høgni W. Larsen was one of the participants.
The requirements for the church were that it had to be able to accommodate
400-600 people and that the building costs could not exceed DKK 15 million. Out
of 29 entries, a unanimous committee of judges chose Høgni W. Larsen’s project
as the best. As can be seen from the comments of the committee of judges, the
church is modelled on the old traditional Faroese church and kept in a pure
style. In connection with his participation in the architect competition on
Fríðrikskirkjan, Høgni W. Larsen set up the design office Arkitektavirkið c/o
Høgni W. Larsen in 1992. In addition to the design office, Arkitektavirkið also
contains a studio and a large workshop. The stonework for the altarpiece,
Communion table, pulpit and baptismal font in Fríðrikskirkjan was carried out
at this workshop by Høgni W. Larsen himself.
The church is composed of three construction members. The supporting structure
is white-painted reinforced concrete, whereas the supporting roof structure
consists of white-stained laminated wood. The internal walls of the nave
consist of white-painted gas concrete, whereas the altar wall is white-painted,
plastered reinforced iron. The floor at both ends of the church is of
Portuguese slate, whereas the interior of the church and all other rooms have
solid merbau floors.
fixtures and fittings of the church were also designed by Høgni W. Larsen. The
altarpiece, Communion table and pulpit are made of black Swedish granite and
brass, whereas the baptismal font is made of Faroese columnar basalt and brass.
The altarpiece weighs around 6 tonnes and the Communion table around 3 tonnes.
Høgni W. Larsen also designed the church’s unique chandeliers, lamps and
candlesticks, which are made of brass.