The Old Cathedral is undergoing restoration

In January 2024, the restoration of the old cathedral began after a year of preparation. The last major restoration of the old cathedral took place in the 1700s, first by Frederik Kiærskiold and then by the king's chief architect, Laurids de Thurah.

The ongoing restoration is expected to take place over the next two years. During this period, the old cathedral will not be accessible to visitors.

Funding from several foundations ensures the cathedral's restoration. The restoration of the old cathedral is made possible thanks to substantial support from the following foundations:

Aage og Johanne Louis Hansens Fond
A. P. Møller Fonden
Augustinus Fonden
Den filantropiske forening
Det Obelske Familiefond
Hoffmann og Husmans Fond
William Demant Fonden
Slots- og Kulturstyrelsen 

Mini-documentary about the old cathedral

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Restoration in the 1700s

The creation of the inventory was Laurids de Thurah's work, carried out from 1725 to 1750. The then owner and Thurah's later father-in-law, Kiærskjold, asked the young architect to design the new furnishings for the church, which were to replace those likely severely deteriorated from the Catholic era. Notice the mighty and very beautiful altarpiece.

The peculiar black draping of the east gable is painted velvety and envelops the altar, so the impression of a flat gable wall almost disappears. The altar rail is an extremely beautiful woodcarving.

The Medieval Cathedral

The episcopal see at Børglum was established around 1060 during Svend Estridsen's Diocesan Reforms. In a historical source from 1103, the Børglum Episcopal See appears under the name 'Birgila'.

The cathedral was particularly magnificent during its heyday, and its construction did not lag behind the cathedral building of the time. In the Middle Ages, the cathedral was also a monastery church organized by Premonstratensian canons. Børglum Kloster Cathedral was dedicated to the Virgin Mary during its time as a Catholic cathedral.

The old cathedral that still stands today is the youngest of the three cathedrals that have been at Børglum. The current church has been tentatively dated to have begun around 1170. Danish brick architecture is believed to have started on Zealand, but when Zealandic brick architecture spread to Jutland, another brick architecture already existed. The old cathedral belongs to this Jutlandic brick architecture. Except for one place in the church, there is no sign of Zealandic brick art in the old Cathedral.

The Three Cathedrals

It is estimated that before the current church, there were two predecessors, one built in granite that replaced the first wooden church. Before the church that still stands today, there was a stone church, which was the predecessor. There are traces of this stone church in granite stones in the area and incorporated into the current church. These stones were not made for the space they are incorporated into but were recycled from an earlier church construction. This stone church is estimated to have been built in the 1100s.

The oldest wooden church is estimated to be from the 1000s, when the episcopal see at Børglum was established around 1060.

Main Monastery in the North

Børglum Kloster was the main monastery in the north for the Premonstratensian Order in what is called Circariae Dania. This Circariae included a total of 10 monasteries distributed in present-day Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Scotland.

For this reason, the leader of the monastery was called the title 'Præpositus,' which can be directly translated to 'Supreme Leader.'

Cathedral Chapter

The churches at the episcopal sees functioned as cathedrals and were therefore subject to many diverse ecclesiastical activities, which required many priests to serve. Attached to all cathedrals were a priesthood, also called cathedral chapters.

About the Cathedral Chapter at Børglum Kloster, Premonstratensian Order church historian Norbert Backmund writes the following:

"The cathedral chapter was the richest and most important in the whole kingdom, which could rejoice in having Jurisdiction over its own property and being equipped with a brilliant school. It was the true center of Christian culture in Denmark."