Symbolism within St Peter’s Church, Malmö.

This is a 14th century church that was damaged during the reformation when the interior of the building was whitewashed as it was thought to appear too Catholic.

I found myself exploring a wonderful gothic church in Sweden, when I realised that I was surrounded by prolific death symbols carved into tombstones and memorials. I have nearly reached the end of my course in Death Religion and Culture, but my interest in death symbolism is ongoing.

One of the many skull carvings.

Currently the church looks stunningly beautiful and parts of the walls have been cleaned to reveal the medieval frescos on the walls.


Highly decorated vaulted ceiling.

Despite the age of the church it has been updated with a fantastic new organ and has the most welcoming atmosphere of any religious building I have been in for some time.

Modern organ pipes

The church has been celebrating it’s 700th anniversary this year. Within the floor there are many worn tombstones, many with medieval symbols of death. Here are a few:

Many of the carvings are worn as they are on the floor.
Notice the frog and the snake.
The hourglass can be seen in death’s hand.

Set into the beautiful white walls are some of the original memorials, which also have similar symbols:

Heaven & Hell are represented in this carving.
A closer view of the above picture.

The font dates from 1601.

The inside of the font has carvings within the silver lining.

I felt very privileged to be able to see such religious history still on display and a glorious building still being used for worship.

The altarpiece is made of oak.
Floral decoration at the end of a pew.

 


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