Stavanger tied to history of St. Svithun Cathedral

The foundation of Stavanger are however tied to the history of the Cathedral. The year of Stavanger`s foundation has been set at 1125. The Cathedral was named for St. Svithun. St. Swithin or Swithun (died 862) was an english bishop of Winchester from 852 to 862 and patron saint of Winchester Cathedral from 10th to the 16th centrury.

According to later chroniclers, St. Svithun was spiritual adviser to Egbert and Ethelwuf, kings of the West Saxons. The first Christian influence to coastal Norway came mainly from England. Stavanger became a bishopric in 11th during the periode of King Sigurd Jorsalfare (1090-1130). Jòrsalfarier comes from old norse language, meaning someone that have been a colorful Pilgrim to Jerusalem (Jòsalir, Jòrsalaborg).

By the 16th century Stavanger was the most important town along the Norwegian coast. By the Union of Kalmar (Sweden) the three Scandinavian kingdoms were made a single unit. Norway became a province of Denmark and Lutheranism its official religion. In 1682 the bishopric was transferred to Kristiansand starting on a downward trend. The administrative organization of Stavanger until the end of the middle ages took place mainly in the churches and the bishop`s recidece.

The Black Death, the plague, devastated the town. The plague which had swept through Norway and the rest of Europe in the 14th century, killing up to one-third of the population. The subsequent general decline affected religious administration, social conditions, populations and buildings.

Michael Holmboe Meyers history-guide of Stavanger.

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