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My AHD (Assisting Husky Drive) » 01-31 a Botkyrka 1

Botkyrka Church

The village of Botkyrka, now suburb of Stockholm, was named for Saint Botvid. Botvid was born in Södermanland, Sweden and lived at the last of 11th and beginning of the 12th century.

He went on a trade trip to England where he was converted to the Christian faith. Saint Sigfrid of Växjö, Saint David and Saint Eskil sent him back to Sweden as a missionary. They preached mainly in the Mälaran Lake region.

According to legend, Botvid was killed by an ax while on a boat near Rågnö in the Södermanland archipelago. Around the year 1120 A.D., he was buried in Salems Church which became a draw for pilgrims.

He is displayed on Botkyrka Municipality’s coat of arms holding an ax and a fish. Botkyrka is the Swedish shortened version of Botvid’s Church.

There is also an artisian spring associated with Saint Botvid. According to medieval tradition, springs would always be found in connection to a saints death. According to legend, when Botvid’s remains were transported from Salems Church to Botkyrka, the casket was temporarily set down near the shore of Lake Bornsjön. A spring welled up in that spot and continues to supply clear water to this day.

The first church to bear the name on this site was a wooden structure built in 1129 AD. It was quickly replaced with a stone structure dating to 1176 AD. In the church is a copy of the tomb of Botvid’s brother Björn. who built the church. The original tomb is stored in the Historical Museum.

Originally named ‘Bothwidilia’ Church after the martyr and patron saint, Botvid, The wooden church was built by Botvid’s brother Björn on Hammarby farmlands near Lake Aspen in what is now Botkyrka.

It was replaced with a stone church of Romanesque style with round arch windows and vestibule. The new church was inaugurated in 1176 by Saint Stefan who was the first Archbishop of Uppsala and Vilhelmus, bishop of Strängnäs. There is nothing left of the original wooden church, but probably stood on the same ground as the current church.

Only nave of the original stone church survives to the present day. During the Medieval Age, the church was extended east, demolishing the original chapel. The sacristy and porch were added in the Middle Ages. The church tower was part of the original building plans but was built sometime between 1180 – 1249 AD. During the 1400’s the ceiling was fitted with four stellar vaults. It appears the vaults were never painted with frescoes.

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