Frösö Church is the oldest remaining church in Jämtland, which began construction shortly after the year 1200. However, it is not the oldest that we know of, as another church was also found on Frösön.
The Västerhus chapel was already built in the 11th century or around the same time as the runestone text speaks of the Christianization of Jämtland. It is believed that Västerhus was the gathering point for Frösön’s Christian congregation during the early days. Excavations of Frösö Church have shown that it was built on top of one of the old Viking Age sacrificial sites.
There is no reason to assume that the Christian faith replaced the pagan religion immediately. Perhaps this was the reason for building the church in this particular location – as a final blow to a belief system that did not disappear as quickly as the rulers wanted.
From the oldest medieval church, nothing remains except for the walls and two objects: a reliquary, used to store saint bones and perhaps other objects considered to possess special powers, and an altarpiece that had been moved and is now on display in Handöls Chapel.
Excavations have shown that the church, except for the sacristy, was of the same size from the beginning. The church tower partially collapsed in 1722 and was finally demolished in 1768. It was replaced by a freestanding bell tower in 1754, which had the characteristic onion-shaped dome for Jämtland.
In 1898, a severe fire occurred after an attempt to solder a lightning conductor to the church’s roof. In this fire, among other things, the church’s unique wall paintings were destroyed, but they managed to save a baptismal font from 1698, the altarpiece from 1708, and the pulpit. The interior of the church has largely retained the appearance it had after the renovations in 1930.
Today, Frösö Church is one of Sweden’s most popular churches for weddings. It also serves as a pleasant destination in itself, and during the summer there are guided tours and a café in the Sockenstugan. From its high location, there is a miles-wide view of Lake Storsjön and the surrounding mountain world.
Source in Swedish: Frösö kyrka (froson.com)
Församlingens egen webbsida: Frösö kyrka – Frösö Sunne Norderö församling (svenskakyrkan.se)