Norwegian Lutheran Church (Grytviken)
|Norwegian Lutheran Church|
The Church in Grytviken, in 2004
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 Løken (1885–1975) 1913–1914|
Grytviken Church, also known as the Whalers Church, and as the Norwegian Lutheran Church, was built in 1913 in Grytviken, South Georgia. The church was part of the Church of Norway for a century from 1913 to 2013. It was formally handed over to the United Kingdom in 2013, and is now part of the Anglican Communion Diocese of the Falkland Islands.
The church had a cameo appearance in the 2006 animated film Happy Feet.
History and architecture
The Neo-Gothic church was pre-built in Norway and erected in Grytviken by whalers led by Carl Anton Larsen around 1912–1913 and consecrated on Christmas Day 1913. 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.
The 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 approximately 700 metres (2,300 ft) to the south on the other end of Grytviken Harbour, also holds empty graves for lost whalers at sea.
The church was led by Kristen Løken, from 1913 to 1914. Løken 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. Løken left his church in 1914 and was the only pastor for this church. Løken died in 1975.
The Grytviken Cemetery, associated with the church, is located about 700 metres (2,300 ft) away to the south. It predates the church, first accepting whalers' graves before 1902. It holds 64 graves, including nine victims of a 1912 typhoid epidemic, Ernest Shackleton (1874–1922), the ashes of fellow polar explorer Frank Wild (1873–1939) which were interred in 2011, and Félix Artuso, an Argentinian submarine officer who was killed in the 1982 British recapture of South Georgia from Argentina.    
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
- Løken Pond – named for the church's only pastor
- "Restored church near Antarctica holds 'first service in its 105-year history'". London: The Church Times. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
- Endurance (by Caroline Alexander. London: Bloomsbury. 1998)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
- Pat Lurcock. "Cemeteries of South Georgia: Grytviken Cemetery". (see here for Wild Island website info including author credit])
- Ernest Shackleton's grave, at Wild Island website
- Frank Wild's grave, at Wild Island website
- Marine killed Argentinian in Falklands war blunder
- Félix Artuso's grave Archived 2014-01-06 at the Wayback Machine., at Wild Island website
- Freedman, Lawrence (2005). The Official History of the Falklands Campaign: The origins of the Falklands war. Routledge. pp. 13–14. ISBN 0-7146-5206-7.
- "Grytviken Church (Whalers Church)". Wondermondo.
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