Stavanger Cathedral

Stavanger domkirke
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Address: Haakon VIIs Gate 2 Stavanger, Norway
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Stavanger Cathedral

Church in Rogaland, Norway

Stavanger Cathedral (Norwegian: Stavanger domkirke) is Norway's oldest cathedral and the seat of the Bishop of Stavanger who leads the Diocese of Stavanger. It is located in the city of Stavanger in Rogaland county, Norway. The church is situated in the centre of the city, in the borough of Storhaug between Breiavatnet in the south, the square with Vågen in the north west, the cathedral square in the north, and Kongsgård in the southwest.

The church is part of the "Stavanger domkirke" parish in the Stavanger arch-deanery in the Diocese of Stavanger.


Statue of Saint Swithun in the cathedral by Stinius Fredriksen, 1962

Bishop Reinald, who may have come from Winchester, is said to have started construction of the cathedral around 1100. It was finished around 1150: the city of Stavanger counts 1125 as its year of foundation. The cathedral was dedicated to Saint Swithun, an early Bishop of Winchester and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. The church was initially the seat of the Diocese of Stavanger within the Roman Catholic Church until the Protestant Reformation.

Stavanger was ravaged by fire in 1272, and the cathedral suffered heavy damage. It was rebuilt under Bishop Arne (1276–1303) at which time the Romanesque cathedral was enlarged in the Gothic style.

In 1682, King Christian V decided to move Stavanger's episcopal seat to Kristiansand, in Kristiansand Cathedral. However, on Stavanger's 800th anniversary in 1925, King Haakon VII appointed Jacob Christian Petersen (1870-1964) to serve as Stavanger's first bishop in nearly 250 years.

During a renovation in the 1860s, the cathedral's exterior and interior were considerably altered. The stone walls were plastered, and the building lost much of its medieval appearance. A major restoration led by architect Gerhard Fischer in 1939–1964 partly reversed those changes. The latest major restoration of the cathedral was conducted in 1999. Scottish craftsman Andrew Lawrenceson Smith (ca. 1620-1694) is well-known for his works in Stavanger Cathedral.


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