Stockholm Cathedral - History and Facts | History Hit

Stockholm Cathedral

Stockholm, Stockholm County, Sweden

Stockholm Cathedral is a pretty medieval site believed to date back to the 13th century.

Peta Stamper

30 Apr 2021

About Stockholm Cathedral

Stockholm Cathedral is a medieval building known as the ‘Storkyrkan’ or ‘Great Church’ and is the city’s oldest church. When Stockholm became a diocese made up of 3 previous smaller parishes, Storkyrkan became its official cathedral.

A Lutheran church since 1527, Stockholm Cathedral has been the site of several royal occasions including the 19th century coronation of Oscar II and the 2010 wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel.

Stockholm Cathedral history

While first mentioned in 1279, the consecration of Stockholm Cathedral was noted as 1306. The church’s early history is unclear as there are few remaining written sources. It is possible the church was preceded by another church or took a long time to build.

Nevertheless, 1306 would be an appropriate time for the church’s founding as Stockholm itself was founded in the mid 13th century and the church is believed to have been founded by Birger Jarl, a Swedish statesman who played a major role in establishing Sweden.

During the middle ages, the church’s patron saint was Saint Nicholas like many other cities belonging to the Hanseatic League. The church was also dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Eric, remaining the only parish church of Stockholm until the 1590s.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, the church was rebuilt and embellished as a way of Swedish monarchs and Stockholm’s citizens to demonstrate their influence. For example, King Magnus IV and his wife made a donation to facilitate the building of several new chapels.

However, by the early 16th century the Reformation had reached Sweden and transformed the church: Catholicism was abandoned and Lutherism adopted. The state confiscated much of the silver from the church and in 1520 under Christian II the building was fortified, reflecting the political tensions preceding the Stockholm Bloodbath a year later.

Sometime in the 18th century the outer facade underwent a modernising Baroque face-lift and saw the addition of a tower spire. The church became Stockholm Cathedral in 1942 when the new Diocese was formed.

Stockholm Cathedral today

Located at the central and highest point within Stockholm’s old town, Gamla stan, Stockholm Cathedral remains the historic epicentre of the Swedish capital. Inside, visitors can see the unique objects including the immense Saint George and the Dragon sculpture (1489) and the legendary Vädersoltavlan (1535).

Today, a range of religious services and concerts are held and there are guided tours on Tuesdays at 11am except during the summer season.

Getting to Stockholm Cathedral

The closest public transport stop to the cathedral is Riddarhustorget bus stop serving buses 3 and 53, a 2 minute walk from the cathedral. Alternately, from Gamla Stan metro station on subway lines 13, 14, 17, 18 and 19 is a 7 minute walk.