Saturday, December 12, 2009

Angel at the Hamar Domen Kirke

July 12, 2009

Allow this to serve as your weather report from Norway: I’ve discovered it makes eminently good sense to carry my wallet in a Ziploc bag in my hip pocket. One likes to keeps one’s proverbial tinder dry. Actually I suspect that enterprising Norwegian shopkeepers will take kroner dry or wet. Swedish Nobel Literature Prize laureate Selma Lagerlof describes the divine character of Abbot Hans’ herb garden at Ovid Cloister in her story “The Christmas Rose”. In one of the few textual references that can be found describing medieval pilgrims enroute to the St. Olav’s Cathedral in Nidaros/Trondheim, almost lyrical mention is made of the magical aroma of an herb garden then grown near the Domen Kirke at Hamar. Its fragrances were described as so divine that they were enjoyed by pilgrims in boats on Lake Mjøsa waters arriving at the city. The herbs were collected by pilgrims returning from pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem for transplant/nurturing in their Norwegian homelands. In that spirit, an herb garden is maintained today near the Domen in Hamar. The cathedral ruins are today preserved from further weathering under a large glass shelter. Buttress foundations, remnant walls, and several intact arches suggest the majestic cathedral that once graced the spot. Beautiful modern Scandinavian wooden chairs are arranged in its interior to allow the visitor to rest and contemplate former architectural splendor. Kristin, my medievally dressed girl guide, offered to sing me a hymn, a moving description of the heavenly palace awaiting the faithful. The acoustics under glass were superb and Kristin’s musically trained voice angelic.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.