Home » Uncategorized » The Miracles of Saint Olaf of Norway: An interdisciplinary approach. Part 4

The Miracles of Saint Olaf of Norway: An interdisciplinary approach. Part 4



Conclusion- The Further Adventures of Saint Olaf

The Church of St. Clements, where Saint Olaf was finally translated to, was rebuilt by a later successor to the Norwegian throne, Olaf Kyrre.  A stone building replaced the second Church of St. Clements.  In the modern cathedral the foundations of this stone edifice are traced in stone.  They correspond with the line of the middle aisle of the chancel and the inner part of the octagon (Beckett 271).  The ashes of St. Olaf would rest on the High altar for five hundred years, gaining more and more rich trappings. 


Figure 1. Statuette of St Olaf on display in Þjóðminjasafn Íslands.


During this time St. Olaf would develop a far reaching cult in northern Europe.  Niðaros would become a major pilgrimage point in the medieval world, causing it to further expand.  The Norwegian Church utilized the presence of a Norwegian acknowledged saint by consolidating their power from that of Archbishopric in Hamburg-Bremen. During the Reformation in the sixteenth century the altar goods associated with St. Olaf’s reliquary were sent to Denmark [the kingdoms were joined y this time].  The ashes themselves remained on the altar.  During transit to Denmark the majority of the rich altar goods were lost at sea, while the rest were stolen by bandits on the land.  In 1564 invading Swedes translated the ashes to the small Swedish church at Skatval.  St. Olaf’s remains only remained there until 1565, however, before they were reacquired by the Norwegians and returned to the Cathedral where it was placed in a brick vault.  A later Danish king ordered the vault to be filled up, and now modernly no one is exactly certain where St. Olaf’s ashes are.  The closest anyone’s guess is in or near the church built in his honor.

The miracles of Saint Olaf bear a remarkable resemblance to miracles of other saints of his era- a fact touched upon by recent research. However, because of the applicable areas of preservation, and their correlation to the places acknowledged as being associated with St. Olaf, much more information than is discussed in the medieval sources is available.  There are many pieces of information discovered during the research of this work that absolutely require presence in the region to give closer classification to the archaeological material.


Works Cited

Beckett, S. 1915.  The Fjords and Folk of Norway.  London: Methuen and Company.

Bridges, E.M. 1975.  World Soils, second edition. Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press.

Foth, H. and Schafer, J. 1980. Soil Geography and Land Use.  New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Lindow, J. Scandinavian 123:Spr. ’04. lecture notes.

Oftedahl, Chr. 1980.  Geology of Norway. Trondheim: Universitetsforlaget.

Sylte, T. 1966.  The Rivers of Norway.  Oslo: Dreyers Forlag.

Sturluson, Snorri, arr. Jonsson, F. 1925. Heimskringla.


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