Holy Cross Church, Bergen
|Holy Cross Church|
View of the church
|Denomination||Church of Norway|
|Previous denomination||Catholic Church|
|Diocese||Diocese of Bjørgvin|
Holy Cross Church (Norwegian: Korskirken) is a special parish church in Bergen municipality in Hordaland county, Norway. It is situated in the centre of the city of Bergen, just east of the head of the Vågen bay. The church is located at the intersection of the streets Kong Oscars gate and Nedre Korskirkeallmenning. The cruciform church is part of Bergen domkirke parish in the Bergen domprosti deanery in the Diocese of Bjørgvin.
The oldest part of the church dates back to the second half of the 12th century. The first church on the site was built around the year 1150. Holy Cross Church was first mentioned in Sverris saga from 1185. At the time of construction, the church was situated on the shore of Vågen, probably marking the southern border of settlement in Bergen.
The name refers to the True Cross (and not to its cruciform plan), and is rendered in English as "Holy Cross Church" or "Church of the Cross". This is because it was, as one of only a handful Norwegian churches, in possession of a relic from the True Cross. This relic was later stolen by the Danish king, along with several other relics from all over the country, during the Reformation.
Holy Cross Church was damaged in the fires of 1198, 1248, 1413, 1582, 1623, 1640 and 1702; the church originally had two towers, but one was destroyed in the 1582 fire and never rebuilt. It was originally built with straight rectangular plan. The church got its cruciform plan when transepts were added around 1615-1623.
The church was a parish church for Holy Cross Church parish in central Bergen from 1320 until 2002. In 2002, several urban parishes in central Bergen were merged to form the "Bergen domkirke" parish. At the same time, Holy Cross Church ceased to be a parish church. It was given over to the Church City Mission (Kirkens Bymisjon), and is now a special church in the urban parish. The church is an "open church" that is staffed every day so that people can experience silence or participate in the lighting of candles, conversation, community, attending church services, or listening to music. The Church City Mission focuses a lot on social work among the urban neighborhood as well as religious outreach.
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