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Svalbard Kirke

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Being a pro­per sett­le­ment, Lon­gye­ar­by­en does of cour­se have a litt­le chirch. Sval­bard Kir­ke is, as the name sug­gest, not just Longyearbyen’s church, but takes care of all peo­p­le in Spits­ber­gen, inclu­ding tho­se living in the other sett­le­ments and sta­ti­ons as well as visi­tors. The­re is a cha­pel in Barents­burg, but no church, so Sval­bard­kir­ke is the only church in Spits­ber­gen. The ori­gi­nal church was built within 50 days in 1921 and it was sanc­ti­fied on 28 August 1921.

The Sval­bard Kir­ke is in a nice loca­ti­on, in Skjæringa, the oldest part of Lon­gye­ar­by­en, a bit on her own and with a nice view over Lon­gye­ard­a­len.

Lon­gye­ar­by­en was evacua­ted in 1941. The priest took pre­cious and sanc­ti­fied items with him to Eng­land, so at least they sur­vi­ved when the church was des­troy­ed when Lon­gye­ar­by­en was bom­bed by a Ger­man fleet with the batt­le­ships Scharn­horst and Tirpitz in 1943. The base for a new church was laid in 1956, but con­s­truc­tion work did not real­ly start befo­re 1957 and the new Sval­bard Kir­ke was sanc­ti­fied in 1958. This is the one that is stan­ding in Lon­gye­ar­by­en today and hop­eful­ly for many, many years to come.

Ever­y­bo­dy is wel­co­me to the church at any time, regard­less of belief and reli­gi­on. The door is never locked (but, just to make sure the­re are no misun­derstan­dings – the church is not a place to spend the night for free). The­re will not be many churches in this world who offer ser­vices such as a gun safe and a litt­le sou­ve­nir shop. You take your shoes off in the ent­rance, some­thing that is com­mon in many public buil­dings in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. You can dona­te to the coll­ec­tion by cre­dit card, and if you lik­ed your visit, then you can docu­ment this on Tri­p­Ad­vi­sor. Very modern.

The­re are church ser­vices on most Sun­day mor­nings at 11 o’clock. The­se are held in Nor­we­gi­an, but ever­y­bo­dy is expli­ci­te­ly wel­co­me. In addi­ti­on, the­re are more or less regu­lar public events such as con­certs. Being a modern insti­tu­ti­on, Sval­bard­kir­ke has a web­sei­te whe­re infor­ma­ti­on about events is published.

The lar­ge main room is not only the nave, but the for­ward part is used as a “church café” and it is a nice tra­di­ti­on to meet peo­p­le over a cup of cof­fee after a church ser­vice.



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last modification: 2019-02-10 · copyright: Rolf Stange