Ancient See of Roskilde in Denmark
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Suffragan to Hamburg, about 991-1104, to Lund, 1104-1536. The diocese included the Danish Islands of Zealand and Moen and the Prussian Island of Rügen ( Pomerania ). About 960 King Harold Bluetooth built a wooden church dedicated to the Holy Trinity at his new capital of Roskilde. Godebald (991-1021), Gerbrand (1022- 30), and Aage or Avoco (1030-48) were the first three bishops of Roskilde. Godebald and Gerbrand were both Englishmen. Scania (Sweden) was subject to Roskidle from 991 to 1021, to Lund, 1021- 30, and again to Roskilde from 1030 to 1060, when Scania was divided between the Diocese of Lund and the short-lived Diocese of Dalby. Bishop William (1048-76) began, and Bishop Svend Norbagge (1076-88) finished, with the help of King St. Canute, the first stone cathedral at Roskilde in 1080. The following year he enlarged the existing monastery of Canons Regular, and made it into a chapter with fifteen prebendaries. Bishop Svend also completed the foundation of the Benedictine Abbey of Ringsted begun by King Svend Estridssen. During the episcopate of Arnold (1089-1124) a nobleman named Peter Bodilsen led a popular movement in Zealand directed against the marriage of the clergy. About this time the skull of Pope Saint Lucius I (253-55) was brought to Roskilde cathedral, of which he became the patron saint. This famous relic was given a year or two ago by the Danish Government to the vicar Apostolic for Denmark. Other prominent bishops were Eskil and the Danish national hero Absalon. Absalon founded Copenhagen in 1168, and gave it to the See of Roskilde in 1191. The Island of Rugen was incorporated in the Diocese of Roskilde by papal Bull in 1169. On 25 June, 1170, Valdemar I saw his father St. Canute Lavard's relics enshrined and his own son Canute (VI) crowned on the same day in the Abbey of Ringsted. It was the first Danish coronation. In 1171 Bishop Absalon published the Ecclesiastical Laws of Zealand. Peter Sunesen, a former Canon Regular of St. Augustine, and a pupil of Abbot Stephen of Saint Genevieve's, Paris, and of Abbot St. William of Ebeltoft, succeeded Absalon as Bishop of Roskilde in 1191. He began the present cathedral of Roskilde about A.D. 1200, in imitation of the cathedral of Tournai, Belgium, where Abbot Stephen was bishop from 1192 till 1203. Peter Sunesen died in 1214. Bishop Niels Stigsen (1225-49) turned the canons of the cathedral from regulars into seculars. His successor, Jacob Erlandsen, the great champion of the claims of the Church, as against the State, who was Bishop of Roskilde from 1249 until his transition to Lund in 1254, founded schools for poor boys at Roskilde and at Lund, and greatly favoured the Franciscans. Bishop Olaf I (1301-20) added to Roskilde cathedral the lady-chapel, which was taken down in 1772 in order to make room for the ugly building in which the Danish monarchs are still buried. Bishop Peter (V) Jensen Lodehat, formerly Bishop of Vexiö (Sweden) and then of Aarhus, signalized his translation to the See of Roskilde in 1413 by forcibly removing the body of his benefactress Queen Margaret from Soroe abbey to the cathedral. On Bishop Peter's death in 1416 King Eric of Pomerania took possession of Copenhagen, which henceforward ceased to be episcopal property.
Bishop Jens Andersen (1416-31) refurnished the choir of the cathedral, which however was greatly damaged when most of the town was destroyed by the great fire of 14 May, 1443, during the episcopate of Jens Pedersen (1431-48). Consequently it was not till 1464 that Bishop Olaf Mortensen Baden (1461-85) was able to consecrate the restored cathedral and the Chapel of the Three Kings added to it by King Christian I. The same monarch founded the University of Copenhagen in 1479 in virtue of a Bull from Sixtus IV. Bishop Baden was its first chancellor. The last truly Catholic bishop was the learned Lage Urne (1512-29) who, like his predecessors for many generations, was also High Chancellor of Denmark. He managed to keep Lutheranism out of the diocese for the most part, and it was not till the time of his successor Joachim Rönnov, nominal Bishop of Roskilde (1529-36), that the deluge came. Rönnov had neither received papal confirmation, nor had he been consecrated. All episcopal functions were performed by the Franciscan Vincent Lange, titular Bishop of Gardar, Greenland. Although Rönnov had made great concessions to Lutheranism, he was imprisoned, like the other bishops, in 1536, and, unlike them, kept in prison until his death in the Castle of Copenhagen in 1544. The cathedral of Roskilde, the abbey churches of Soroe, Ringsted, and Skovkloster (now Herlufsholm), the five-towered church at Kallundborg, the unique fifteenth-century Carmelite Priory of St. Mary's, Elsinore (Helsingor), all of whose buildings are intact, which was the home of the Catholic controversialist Paulus Helix or Poul Helgesen (1480-1536?), and is not even mentioned in any English guide-book, these, the Romanesque churches of Zealand and Rugen, and many other buildings and works of art testify to the importance of the diocese before the Reformation. Of the institutions then existing, the chapter of Roskilde, dating from about 1080, and the chapter of the Collegiate Church of Our Lady at Copenhagen, each consisted of a numerous clergy. There were Benedictines at Ringsted, where, besides St. Canute Lavard, the holy King Eric Plovpenning (d. 1250) and good Queen Dagmar (d. 1212) were buried. The Abbeys of Esrom, Soroe, the home of Saxo Grammaticus the historian and the burial place of Absalon, and Skovkloster, formerly at St. Peter's Naestved, belonged to the Cistercians. There was an abbey of Canons Regular of St. Augustine at Ebelholt, and the Knights of St. John had a great house at Antvortskov. The Canons of St. Anthony of Vienne had a house at Praestoe. As elsewhere in Denmark, there were Franciscan, Dominican, or Carmelite convents, as well as hospitals of the Holy Spirit and sometimes leper-houses (as at Copenhagen and Kallundborg) in the towns. The Benedictine (afterwards Cistercian ) nunnery of St. Mary at Roskilde contained the body of St. Margaret of Oeleshove (Olsemagle) near Kjoege, who was beatified in 1176. Another famous local saint was St. Andrew, priest of St. Peter's, Slagelse, who rode from Jerusalem to Slagelse one Easter Day according to the thirteenth-century legend. On the Island of Rugen there was the Cistercian nunnery of Bergen.
Copenhagen is now (1912) the residence of the vicar Apostolic for Denmark and Iceland. There are about seven Catholic churches at Copenhagen, Jesuit colleges (of the German province) at Copenhagen and Ordrup, a house of Austrian Redemptorists, a community of Marists, various convents of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambéry ( Savoy ) including a novitiate, as well as convents of the (German) Sisters of St. Elizabeth and of the Assumptionist nuns. The Jesuits conduct schools (including a grammar school ) at Copenhagen and Ordrup; the Christian Brothers have one at Frederiksberg. The Sisters of St. Joseph and the Assumptionist Sisters keep secondary, and the former four elementary, schools, as well as an orphanage. The Sisters of St. Joseph and the Sisters of St. Elizabeth possess splendid hospitals. There is also a training-home for young servants (Mariehjem) at Copenhagen. At Roskilde there are a church with two priests, a school, and a fine hospital kept by the Daughters of the Divine Wisdom (Filles de la Sagesse). At Elsinore there is a church with a school conducted by the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. There are also churches at Kjöge, Naestved, Ringsted, and Slagelse. The Island of Rugen now forms part of the Diocese of Breslau, and is under the immediate superintendence of the provost of Berlin as delegate of the prince-bishop. There is a Catholic church at Bergen.
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