Religion plays only a minor role in daily life for most Danes; however, church rituals of baptism, confirmation, marriage and funeral services remain very popular.
Church-approved congregations also conduct civil registration of births, deaths and name changes (kirkeboger). Furthermore, these congregations are exempt from corporate and property tax, enabling their members to deduct membership fees from their taxes.
Churches in Copenhagen
Churches in Denmark are an iconic feature of Danish architecture and are essential parts of its history. Tourist attractions, churches can be found across Denmark in most cities and towns and serve as venues for weddings, baptisms, confirmations and funerals as well as being visited regularly to pray or meditate or simply relax.
The Church of Denmark is the state church in Denmark and is founded on Lutheranism. As such, it belongs to several international church bodies including World Council of Churches, Lutheran World Federation and Porvoo Communion. Furthermore, its leadership is guided by National Council of Churches in Denmark (NCCD). Through NCCD leaders from different Christian denominations can come together for dialogue and cooperation while sharing experiences as they discuss diakonia, mission and theology openly and respectfully with one another.
Religious liberty in Denmark is guaranteed by its Constitution, with no interference by the state in church activities. Non-Christian religions enjoy many privileges including legal weddings and cemeteries of their own. Furthermore, they are exempt from corporate and property tax, can receive donations from lottery funds as well as receive means from them directly. Likewise churches can tax-deduct membership fees and gifts received from members.
Although most Danes are members of the Church of Denmark, only 2.4% attend services on an average weekly basis; however, churches remain popular venues for weddings, christenings and funerals and also experience increased church attendance during special events like Christmas Eve.
Churches in Denmark serve as an essential source of information about births, deaths and changes of name (vital records) for its citizens; these vital records are known as kirkeboger in Danish. Prior to 2002-03 they were recorded locally but now sent directly to a central registry; family historians can use these vital statistics as an essential source for family tree research.
Frederiks Kirke is commonly known by its nickname of Marmorkirken and stands out among Copenhagen’s architectural offerings. With its neo-baroque Marble Church (officially Frederiks Kirke), its impressive dome – inspired by St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and boasting Scandinavia’s largest church dome – can be seen across Copenhagen. Additionally, Marmorkirken boasts some stunning wall paintings as well as larger-than-life statues depicting religious figures like Theologians, Reformers and Prophets that can also be found within its walls.
The church was designed by architect Nicolai Eigtved for King Frederick V to commemorate his 300th jubilee as a member of the House of Oldenburg and was completed in 1740. Construction initially started on October 31, 1749; however due to Eigtved’s death in 1754 the project stalled for 150 years until completed again by another architect.
Carl Frederik Tietgen was an influential 19th-century financier who purchased the church ruins and square in 1874 to revitalize their project. Ferdinand Meldahl designed its finished form which opened in 1894 due to financial constraints preventing his original plans to use marble; instead, Meldahl decided on using limestone.
Visitors of the church can climb to the top of its 95 meters high spire for an exquisite panoramic view of the city below. While it might take some effort, the view alone makes the climb worth your while!
Inside of the church stands an exquisite organ from Erik Mollers Tegnestue A/S built during the 19th century, boasting pipes and pedals painted white, blue and red – considered among Europe’s most beautiful organs.
Tietgen wanted this church to serve as both a memorial to both Danish royals and Grundtvig’s philosophy, so he filled its interior with statues of prominent figures from Danish and international religious history, making the interior just as impressive. Everyday wedding bells can be heard chiming at this church! Additionally, its interior boasts impressively decorated gilded altars and intricate wooden benches. You might hear bells chime from wedding ceremonies hosted there! Open daily and free to visit!
Trinity Church can be found in Copenhagen City Centre. This artistic neighbourhood is famous for its museums and gardens. Additionally, tourists frequently visit Trinity Church; you can even participate in guided tours of this church!
In the 17th century, King Christian IV ordered that a church be constructed under his direction and included as part of a complex that also featured a library and Rundetarn (round tower). At that time, religion played an essential role in uniting faith and science.
Recently, the church was in trouble and desperately in need of care and restoration. Particularly its interior required extensive care as John La Farge’s incredible murals were being damaged by pollution and sunlight while its 10 stained glass windows also required attention. To preserve these treasures, conservation specialists stabilised and cleaned surfaces in Central Tower while stained-glass experts cleaned and releaded all windows.
After its renovation, the church has been transformed into an impressive cultural center with modern facilities. Additionally, there is an art gallery and concert series available for visitors to enjoy.
Today the church boasts an Esbjerg choir of approximately 50 boys and girls who sing classical church music both domestically and abroad. Additionally, the church serves as an invaluable partner with the Royal Danish Academy of Music; their students frequently participate in church services and concerts for valuable experience for future professional careers.
In Denmark’s Lutheran church during the 17th century, Protestant reform movements such as Martin Luther’s Bible translation and reform movement’s Small Catechism and Augsburg Confession exerted influence. Later, Pietism — which promoted personal religious experiences — brought further influence and resulted in missionaries and orphanages being established across Denmark.
Though legally controlled by Denmark’s King Christian X, the Church remains an autonomous organization with considerable independence. Organized into dioceses led by bishops, and with an approximate budget of $27 Million supported by donations and tithes from its membership and donations from around the world.
Church of Our Saviour
Church of Our Saviour, situated in Christianshavn district, is one of Copenhagen’s most beloved churches, best-known for its corkscrew-shaped tower with external spiral staircase. From its perch on top is spectacular views across Copenhagen; construction began between 1682 and 1752.
Tessin painted the interior of this church and it is widely considered among the most beautiful in Denmark. The altarpiece depicts Jesus in an emotional scene with angels surrounding him; its frame a replica of Borromini’s facade on San Carlo church in Rome reflecting Roman influence in its construction.
Notable aspects of the church beyond its interior include its tower and carillon. Northern Europe’s largest, it plays melodies every hour from 8 am until midnight – Monday through Sunday without charging an entrance fee!
Visitors to the tower can climb it for an impressive view of the city from its 90-meter-high viewing platform, though its approximately 400 winding steps may be challenging for some people and require physical fitness and comfortable shoes – for those needing extra support there is also a handrail available to provide extra support.
As they climb the tower, tourists can witness an ancient bell with bullet holes from a Royal battle from 1801. Additionally, this bell serves to indicate when the church rings its musical carillon for services.
The Church of Our Saviour, Denmark’s first Lutheran church to accept Protestant Reformation in 1617 and one of its oldest, remains an immensely popular destination among tourists and locals alike.
The church has drawn widespread condemnation for its anti-gay stance, which it asserts stems from Christian teachings that God abhors homosexuality. Furthermore, they provide on their website an extensive document that denounces homosexuality as genetic trait.
In 2009, a church orchestrated a takeover of Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), alleging it held pro-gay agenda. Furthermore, they added to their website an announcement declaring homosexuality to be sin against God.