Ringsaker Church

Situated along Gudbrandsdalsleden
Berit Stokseth
Ringsaker Church is one of Norway’s oldest and most beautiful buildings. The church is a stone basilica and the tradition is linked to st. Olav’s christening of Norway. The church was dedicated to St. Olav.



At the path

In Håkon Håkonssons saga it is written that the king built a banquet hall at the farm next door to the rectory. This close connection with the king’s estate tells us that we have to do with a very old church site. The first church must however have been made out of wood material. Many features found in the current church makes it likely that it was built somewhere around the middle of the 1100s. The church was made out of limestone, from a limestone quarry nearby.

Ringsaker Church is built like a miniature cathedral with a basilica and is transverse shaped. By mimicking the architecture of a cathedral, the church’s status was set. In 1594 it was added a spire to the old roman tower. The current spire was built in 1694.

In the choir stands the triptych, the church greatest treasure! It was the last catholic priest who also was a canon in the cathedral, Anstein Jonssøn Schonch, who gave the triptych to the church, It is made in Antwerpen around the 1530s. It is considered a highlight among the artworks from the late middle ages which is preserved in our churches.

Ringsaker was a power center and the area by the church and the rectory had an essential place in pre Christian-times. The carvings and stonebuilt fortress by Stein, Svendhaugen (one of the largest burial mounds in the community), and burial sites related to it gives truth to those assumptions. The saga’s tells stories of several important events happening here.

Among other stories it describes an event where five demi kings met on Ringsaker and there agreed to unite so they could fight against Olav Haraldsson, approximately around the 1030s. Olav was determined to christening Norway, he had therefore a strict rule, and those who went against him were severely punished. The tradition says that the church was built on the place where Olav overpowered the five kings. The church was most likely built in the middle of the 1100s and became devoted to st. Olav. The pilgrims had an important resting place here.

Several buildings in the area have an interesting historical culture. The main building in the rectory had a listed cellar which many people think decent from the middle ages, and the rest of the building is otherwise worthy of preservation.

Contact information for the Church office in Moelv: +47 62 33 07 70