Stockholm

German Church

IMG_1368The German Guild was founded in the Gamla Stan district of Stockholm in the 14th century on the site of what is now the German Church of Stockholm (aka Tyska kyrkan, Deutsche Kirche, or St. Gertrude’s Church). Over the years, the building was expanded, a steeple was added and some reconstruction was done after a fire destroyed the spire in 1878. (Hmm, a couple of thoughts: If churches are houses of God, can He collect on a fire insurance claim if a church burns down? And, would He be guilty of insurance fraud if He files for and collects on a claim that resulted from an act of God?)

The interior of the church is square and rather small compared to the more grandiose churches of Europe. As far as I could tell, there wasn’t a lot of padding on the inside, outside or between the walls, so I suppose that means that the exterior was also squarish and rather small compared to more grandiose churches, but I didn’t notice those traits until I got inside.

IMG_1376I don’t know if this is always the case, but when I was there, the interior was rather dark and dank. Unless you’ve been there or you go sometime, you’ll have to take my word for the darkness and dankness. My iPhone, which is also my trusty camera, decided to lighten the pictures more than what my eyes were taking in while there.

Isn’t technology grand? It’s there to help you. And it does that even when you don’t want to be helped because the “help” undermines the point you’re trying to make. There are days I miss my old, trusty, easy to use Instamatic camera. Then again, it’s difficult to post paper prints to the Web. I’ve tried, but they obstruct what’s displayed behind them on my screen. Tradeoffs. Everything’s a tradeoff.

IMG_1371Inside the church, I looked up to see a boldly subdued (if that makes any sense to anyone but me) vaulted ceiling. Or was it an arched ceiling? Or are arched and vaulted synonyms? Or are neither vaulted nor arched the right words at all? I’m a complete ignoramus when it comes to all things art-, architecture-, design- and/or church-related. And I don’t have any plans to become much more educated on those topics any time soon. Sorry. There’s a glimpse’s worth of part of the ceiling in one of the photos posted here. Take a look at it and let me know how someone with a modicum of knowledge about architecture would describe it.

IMG_1370There was lovely carved wood paneling on portions of the wall. Yeah, “lovely carved wood panelling” is about as descriptive as I can get about that sort of thing. Did I mention my art-, architecture- and design-ignoramus qualities? Well, here’s another example of them shining through. Again, sorry about that.

There were a few stained glass windows on each of three sides of the church and a single one on the fourth side. You might have guessed that there were stained glass windows without me telling you because, what’s an old European church without stained glass windows? (No, that wasn’t a trick question. An old European church without stained glass windows is an old European church without stained glass windows. The point I was trying to make was that old European churches without stained glass windows are rare enough that you can probably assume that there are stained glass windows in one unless you are told otherwise.)

IMG_1375One corner of the chapel contained a couple of roped off, nicely upholstered chairs positioned in a conversational arrangement on top of a classic woven area rug. Just to be clear, they weren’t in an office off to the side or in an apse. They were in the sanctuary. Don’t ask me what they were doing there. They didn’t fit with the image I have in my mind of what would normally go on in the chapel of a solemn church. Instead, they looked like they were waiting for a couple of refined, elderly ladies to sit down, have Earl Grey tea served to them on a polished silver tray, drink it in quaintly patterned china, and engage in casually civilized chinwags.

Then again, I’m ethnically Jewish and religiously atheist, with an emphasis on the atheist part. What the hell do I know about what normally goes on in the chapel of a solemn churches?

No, that was not a trick question either. I know close to nothing about it. Maybe one of you can fill me in on whether elderly ladies sitting down in nicely upholstered chairs for tea and friendly chinwags is a regular part of church services. Then again, I’m only imagining the elderly ladies, tea and chinwags, so maybe the furniture had another purpose.

Been there? Done that? Do tell.