daTorvald MUSIKPRODUKTION HB
The Cathedral of Strängnäs
is one of the most beautiful and best preserved of the thirteen cathedrals in Sweden.
Strängnäs was an important cult centre as early as in pre-Christian times and it was here that the Apostle of Södermanland, St Eskil, suffered martyrdom in 1080. He was a missionary bishop stationed in a town called Tuna. This town was later given the name Eskilstuna after Bishop Eskil.
The interior of the Cathedral has undergone many changes. The latest more comprehensive restoration took place in 1910, when the whole interior got an Art noveau look. The pews, the organ front, the walls in the Chancel and the oil painting above the medieval reredos, all originate from this year. The High Altar is embellished with a reredos from 1490, made in Brussels and donated to the Cathedral by Bishop Kort Rogge. It is the largest reredos in the country and when fully opened, it reproduces the Passion of Christ in seven big and a number of smaller scenes. When the doors are closed, a series of paintings with motifs from the Christmas cycle of the ecclesiastical year appears. Completely closed, the reredos shows the Annunciation and the Last Judgement.
The organ was built in 1971 by Fredriksborg’s organ builders in Hillerød. It contains sixty stops, of which 27 have been preserved from an older, very famous organ (1860).
As early as in the end of the 16th century, the Cathedral was used as a burial church. King Carl (Charles) IX, Gustav Vasa’s youngest son, chose Strängnäs Cathedral as his last resting place, and several other noblemen followed his example. For this reason, the old Saint chapels were converted into burial chapels. The most remarkable one among these is the Gyllenhjelm Chapel, where Carl Carlsson Gyllenhjelm, the illegitimate son of King Carl IX, is buried.
The areas surrounding the Cathedral are old and when approaching the Cathedral from the city centre - along Gyllenhjelmsgatan with its old wooden houses - the first thing you see is the Lions’ Gate which marks the entry to the churchyard. On the right hand side of the gate you find the medieval Chapter House and to the left, the Printing House from 1701. The Printing House once housed the City Museum but was recently sold to the Diocese of Strängnäs. Roggeborgen, which no longer houses the College can be found below the Chancel facing Lake Mälaren. This medieval house is at present a library, called Roggebiblioteket (the Rogge Library) and has taken over the responsibility for the library from the Diocese and the College. Below Roggeborgen you find Lektorsgatan with the Bishop´s House in Renaissance style and the even older Pauline House.