Grip Stave Church

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Grip Stave Church
Grip stavkyrkje
Grip stavkirke.jpg
Grip Stave Church is located in Møre og Romsdal
Grip Stave Church
Grip Stave Church
Location in Møre og Romsdal
Grip Stave Church is located in Norway
Grip Stave Church
Grip Stave Church
Grip Stave Church (Norway)
Coordinates: 63°13′11″N 7°35′38″E / 63.2197°N 7.5939°E / 63.2197; 7.5939
LocationKristiansund Municipality,
Møre og Romsdal
DenominationChurch of Norway
ChurchmanshipEvangelical Lutheran
StatusActive during summer
Founded1470 (1470)
Functional statusPreserved
Architectural typeChurch
StyleMøre type stave church
DeaneryYtre Nordmøre
DioceseDiocese of Møre

Grip Stave Church (Norwegian: Grip stavkyrkje) is a historic stave church in the fishing village of Grip in Kristiansund Municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. It is located on the small island of Grip about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) northwest of the city of Kristiansund in the Norwegian Sea. The church is part of the Kristiansund parish in the Ytre Nordmøre deanery in the Diocese of Møre.[1][2]

With only one nave that is 12 metres (39 ft) long, 6.5 metres (21 ft) wide, and 6 metres (20 ft) high, it is one of Norway's smallest churches. The priest no longer lived in the parish after the year 1635, but regularly visited the island. Grip has been an annex to Kristiansund parish since 1967.[3]

Located in a now deserted fishing village, the church is only used in the summer season, when both summer residents and tourists attend services every third Sunday, led by a priest from Kristiansund.


The church was built in about 1470 at the island's highest point, about 8 metres (26 ft) above sea level. The church is of the Møre type, being structurally similar to the larger Kvernes and Rødven stave churches. Because of the barren nature of the island, there is no cemetery on the church grounds, and bodies had to be buried elsewhere, in the cemetery of Bremsnes Church, over 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away over open sea.

It underwent major modifications in 1621 when the walls were replaced, and a flèche was added. Today's windows were installed in the 1870s, and at the same time both a weaponhouse and a sacristy were added. During restoration work in 1933 a new foundation was added, and the exterior walls were panelled. All this rebuilding is why the exterior does not resemble the more typical Norwegian stave churches.

A proposal of relocating the church in 1972 did not materialize. In 2007, the roof and spire were restored and some of the panelling replaced.[4]



The altar is a triptych from Utrecht in the Netherlands, dated to about 1520, with a central sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, flanked by sculptures of Saint Olaf of Norway and Saint Margaret the Virgin, locally known as St. Maret.

According to legend, the triptych is one of five altars donated to Norwegian churches by princess Isabella of Austria after being escorted by Erik Valkendorf, Archbishop of Norway, in terrible weather en route to her wedding in Copenhagen with the Danish king Christian II in 1515. Other altars were donated to the churches of Kinn, Leka, Hadsel and Røst. The five altars are referred to by art historians as the Leka group. Four of the altars have survived intact to this day, but Grip has the only complete altar in the original church.

Despite having sculptures of three saints, the altar survived the protestant reformation of Norway in 1537. The altar was restored in 2002.[4]


A new pipe organ from the Netherlands with 270 wooden pipes was donated in 2006, which due to humid weather conditions will only be installed in the church during the summer season. The rest of the year, the organ is in use in Kirkelandet Church.


The church also has a small altar cup from 1320, a 16th-century double-sided painting on canvas, murals from the 1621 modifications, and two votive ships.



  1. ^ "Grip stavkirke". Kirkesøk: Kirkebyggdatabasen. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
  2. ^ Store norske leksikon. "Grip Stavkirke" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2010-11-22.
  3. ^ "Grip" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2010-11-22.
  4. ^ a b Church of Norway. "Grip kirke" (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2010-11-22.

Related reading[edit]

  • Leif Anker (2005) The Norwegian Stave Churches (Oslo: Arfo Forlag) ISBN 978-8291399294
  • Roar Hauglid (1970) Norwegian Stave Churches (Oslo: Dreyers Forlag) ISBN 9788209106020

External links[edit]