Norwegian Lutheran Church (Grytviken, South Georgia)
|Norwegian Lutheran Church|
The Norwegian Lutheran Church in Grytviken (built in 1913)
|Location||Grytviken, South Georgia
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
|Norwegian Lutheran Church (Whaler's Church) in Grytviken|
|Denomination||Church of Norway (Lutheran)|
|Dedication||December 25, 1913|
|Priest(s)||Rev. Kristen Loken (1885–1975) 1913-1914|
The church had a cameo appearance in the animated film Happy Feet.
History and architecture
The church consists of a single nave leading to a small altar. A small library is attached to the side near the altar. Inside, worshippers (and now visitors) are seated on long wood benches. The floor's dark wood planks contrast with the white walls and celling. A second floor is accessible from a staircase at the front entrance. From the second floor, visitors can view the nave or look outside.
This typical Norwegian church, one of the most southern churches on earth, was consecrated on Christmas Day in 1913. In 1922, a funeral service for Sir Ernest Shackleton was conducted in this church before his burial amongst 64 others in the church cemetery. The cemetery, located on the other end of Grytviken Harbour also holds empty graves for lost whalers at sea.
The church was heated by a stove at the front, though this was decommissioned during the last major refurbishment of the building on safety grounds.
There are two church bells that can be rung.
The church was led by Kristen Loken, from 1913 to 1914. Loken was born in 1885 in Lillehammer and was made Pastor of South Georgia and arrived in 1912 to take his post. He was responsible for supervising the building of the church building as well. Loken left his church in 1914 and was the only pastor for this church. Loken died in 1975.
Restoration and maintenance
After years of abandonment and weathering the harsh elements of the region (roof damaged in 1994), the church has been renovated by the keepers of South Georgia Museum and volunteers in 1996 - 1998 and now serves for occasional church services and marriage ceremonies.
- Trinity Church (Antarctica) located south of Grytviken in Antarctica
- South Georgia Museum - one of a few active structures in town
- Loken Pond - named for the church's only pastor
- Endurance (by Caroline Alexander. London: Bloomsbury. 1998)
- "Grytviken Church (Whalers Church)". Wondermondo.