The town of Lund is a rather small town in Scania today – but it does have one of the most impressive cathedrals anywhere in Scandinavia. The reason for such a large church in an average sized city bears witness of a long history where the town had a lot of religious and political influence in Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia.
The town became an important religious location in 1060 when Lund was separated from the Diocese of Roskilde to become an independent Diocese with its own bishop as a leader of the religious proceedings of the area. This was still the early era of Christianity in Denmark it was just a century since Harald Bluetooth had converted to Christianity and with him Denmark gradually changed religious views from the traditional Asa-Vane faith to the new Middle Eastern religion of Christianity.
In these early days of Christianity the Danish church was still a subject of the arch-bishop of Hamburg which was located in the German-Roman Empire. To be subjected to a foreign power was far from ideal seen from the Danish kings. So the kings lobbied the pope in Rome in the hope to create an independent arch-diocese in Denmark.
It took a while – but finally the Danish king lobbying were successful and Lund became the Archdiocese of Lund. Originally this new archbishop was not just the archbishop of Denmark – no he became the arch bishop of all of Scandinavia. So not only did the Danish king manage to get out from under the thumb of the German empire – he managed to put the rest of Scandinavia under his thumb when it came to the important religious matters.
The new situation let the Norwegian and Swedish king to lobby the pope to be able to create their own archdioceses. In 1152 Norway got their way with archdiocese of Nidaros and in 1164 Sweden also got their own archdiocese of Uppsala.
As a seat of an archdiocese Lund the old church of the city were no longer sufficient – the arch bishop needed a new magnificent cathedral so the elevated bishop could impress his local parish and any other religious person coming to visit him in Lund to pay respect. The current cathedral was consecrated in 1123 though this was only the crypt of the church and the alter wasn’t ready until 1145. The cathedral is large with a length of 85 meters and a width of 30 meters.
The original church was severely damaged by fire in 1234 but large donation was made for the repair of the church and it was restored. The renovation lasted pretty much the rest of the century and the church design were altered during the renovation. They also increase the original size of the church.
The churched sized being the seat of the arch bishop of Denmark when Denmark left Catholicism in 1536. Some of the splendor the church had in catholic days also left with the arch bishop but the church is still an impressive site n Lund and is clearly one of the main sights in Lund and all of Scania for that matter.