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Eidfjord church.

Eidfjord church. Prospectus by Catharine H.Kølle. Undated.

The old stone church at Eidfjord has an open position on the terrace at Lægreid. In a diploma from 1310 it transpires that Torgeir on Sponheim donated a gift for the erection of the church in Eidfjord. Thus we can assume that the church was under construction at the time. The elements in the style confirm such a dating.

The medieval church with pointed arched windows and door openings, has originally had a rectangular opening in the west gable, perhaps evidence that sail and mast of the war ship was stored in the church loft.

Torgeir on Spånheim was not the only one to provide funds for the construction of the church. Best known is the woman called “RIKE-RAGNA” (Rich Ragna), who still has her gravestone standing in the church, east of the entry to the chancel in the south wall. Here we see that the kneeling Ragna gives a model of the church to the apostle Jacob the elder, to whom the church is dedicated. The inscription says: “Here: Rests Ragna: Asolfridsdottir: Is: This: Church. Let: Construct” (at left).

On the graveyard wall, just south of the gate there is a slate slab with 52 cut bowl depressions. The slab is called “The corpse stone”. In the old days it was an established custom to place the coffins here before they were carried into the graveyard.

The rare chancel division wall from the Middle Ages has been rebuilt and decorated in the 1600s. The pulpit is from 1613, the Christening font from 1680. Lack of funds prevented the plans for the expansion of the church, decided on in 1893 in accordance with the drawings by Blix, from being carried through. This ensured that Eidfjord and West Norway had a unique authentic cultural monument from the Middle Ages.

  • Panel from a chancel division

On this panel from a chancel division we see one of the key symbols in church art: the unicorn and the deer. The unicorn is a symbol for Maria and the Virgin birth, the deer is a symbol of christening. “As the deer thirsts for the fresh water, thus my soul thirsts for The Holy Spirit”.

  • Rike-Ragna's" gravestone

"Rike-Ragna's" gravestone, Eidfjord church (Riksantikvaren).

  • Kolltveit, O. (1953) Gjestgjevarar i Eidfjord: gjestgjevarstaden på Lægreid. Hardanger. S. 1-13.
  • Skaar, K. (utan år) Eidfjord kyrkje.