swedish il gesu

The church on Kvarholmen, that we can visit today, is called a cathedral, although since 1915 it is not a capital of diocese – now it is located in Växjö. The church on Kvarholmen was built in three stages during the reign of three Charleses, so for the inauguration it was called the Church of Charles. The construction started in 1660. The consecration took place in 1682 and was conducted by the bishop Henning Schutte, although the church was not fully ready until 1703.

Kalmar Cathedral


Nicodemus Tessin the Elder, one of the finest Swedish architects, was responsible for the church’s project. It was finished by his son, Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. The Elder was inspired by Il Gesu, St Agnes church and Santa Susanna church in Rome. The Kalmar cathedral is a baroque church based on a latin cross with apses from the eastern and western sides. The copula was intended, but never built. On conjuctions of arms of the cross and apses towers were built. Three bells, taken from the medieval church, were placed in the southern tower. The facade is richly ornamented with pilasters. Granite and limestone were the construction materials. The vault, portals and window openings were made from brick. The southern and western portals are still compatible with the general church’s style, the northern one was replaced in 1834. The cathedral went through several renovations, starting with 18th century.

The altar and pulpit are considered to be the most interesting parts of the interior. The altar was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and carried out by Caspar Schröder in 1712. It is made from three parts, which together represent the idea of one God in three persons. On the top there is glory with the Holy Ghost as a dove, surrounded by angels. The paining in the altar was probably made by David von Krafft and it’s a copy after Charles Le Brun’s The Descent from the Cross. The altar is flanked by two 18th century sculptures – on the right side, with carnucopia, stands Grace and Faith on the right side.

The pulpit is probably a war trophy, made in the middle of 17th century by Baltazar Hoppenstedt. On the top of the pulpit stands Resurrected Christ among sleeping soldiers. The whole is surrounded by women’s statues, representing strength, wisdom, mother’s love etc. The corpus is ornamented with the scenes from Passion of the Christ. Pulpit rests on the shoulders of St. Christopher.

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