Bjärka-Säby Castle

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Bjärka-Säby slott
Bjärka Säby.jpg
Front facade of the main building
General information
Architectural style Baroque
Country Sweden
Coordinates 58°16′14″N 15°44′20″E / 58.2706°N 15.7390°E / 58.2706; 15.7390Coordinates: 58°16′14″N 15°44′20″E / 58.2706°N 15.7390°E / 58.2706; 15.7390
Construction started 1791
Completed 1898
View from South.

Bjärka-Säby Castle (Nya slottet Bjärka-Säby) is a baroque style château located south of Linköping, in Östergötland County, Sweden. In Bjärka-Säby there are actually two castles simply called the old and the new castle of Bjärka-Säby. The old castle dates from 1632. The new castle is owned by the Pentecostal Church Out of the castle's common life, meetings and retreats an ecumenical community has been born,[1] though not a monastery as stated in some articles.[2] This community, Ekumeniska Kommuniteten i Bjärka-Säby (EKiBS), is a community with its members living scattered around Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries but having its main gatherings and heart at the castle of Bjärka-Säby.

History[edit]

Group portrait of the castle servants in 1909.
The barn, probably in 1909.

Bjärka-Säby Castle was built for Swedish diplomat and nobleman, Germund Louis Cederhielm. The building was based upon plans from a prominent Swedish landscape architect, Fredrik Magnus Piper. Construction started in 1791 and was completed just before 1800. The surrounding landscape was design in the manner of a traditional English park. The palace was subject to renovation in 1894-1898 based upon plans of architect Agi Lindegren (1858-1927). His work differ from Piper's design and resulted in a Baroque appearance.

Proposals for a restoration of the interior were advanced principally by Sigurd Curman, secretary of the Swedish National Heritage Board. Between 1920-1921, Eric Fant, architect at the Nordic Museum, conducted renovations reflecting the manor's origin in the late 1700s. The exterior has been allowed to retain the appearance resulting from the Agi Lindgren-based conversion.

Since 1980, the château has been owned by Sionförsamlingen i Linköping, the Swedish Pentecostal movement's church in Linköping. From 1996 on there are people from different denominations living a common life at the castle, praying, working and studying according to a simple rule. Out of this common life of prayer together with the visitors at retreats and seminars given at the castle a need for something "more" arose and this gave birth to the independent Ecumenical Community of Bjärka-Säby with its members scattered throughout Scandinavia though regularly returning to the castle.[3]

Inside the castle hangs portraits and icons of Hedvig Ekman, Gustaf Aulén, Nathan Söderblom and Bridget of Sweden, as well as traditional icons from the Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox tradition and icons painted by members of the community. The castle at Bjärka-Säby also has a patristic library, as well as a side chapel that was built in the 18th century, as a result of the devotion of the Pietist Lutheran Hedvig Ekman.[4]

The current spiritual leader (preces) of the Ecumenical Community of Bjärka-Säby is Peter Halldorf.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Not So Secular Sweden by Matthew Milliner". First Things. Institute on Religion and Public Life. June 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Rules of the community apply both to celibate and married people" (translated from the community's website)
  3. ^ Website of Ekumeiska Kommuniteten i Bjärka-Säby (swedish)
  4. ^ "Not So Secular Sweden by Matthew Milliner". First Things. Institute on Religion and Public Life. June 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014. Then past a well-stocked patristic library, down another enormous flight of stairs, and through a foyer. I take one last look through the window at the rolling lawn lit by a full moon. Staring down at me is the portrait of a Pietist Lutheran, Hedvig Ekman, who married into this family in the late eighteenth century. Behind her head the artist painted a faint hint of gold threatening to become a halo, indicating that through her, holiness entered the household. Because of Hedvig’s devotion, a beautiful chapel was appended to the castle. 
  • This article is fully or partially based on material from Nordisk familjebok, Germund Louis Cederhielm and August (Agi) Lindegren.
  • Edman, Victor (1999) En svensk restaureringstradition, (Stockholm: Byggförlaget) ISBN 91-7988-186-6
  • Karling, Sten; Lindegren, Karin (1981) Fredrik Magnus Piper och den romantiska parken (Stockholm: Royal Swedish Academy of Arts) ISBN 91-86208-00-4
  • Åman, Anders Sigurd Curman: riksantikvarie - ett porträt (Stockholm: Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, Bokförlaget Atlantis, 2008) ISBN 978-91-7353-220-4

External links[edit]