The Parish of Gustaf Vasa
Established when the Parish of Adolf Fredrik was divided in 1906, the church was inaugurated 10 June the same year. Several architects had submitted proposals for a new church. The castle architect Agi Lindegren’s idea of an Italian Neo-Baroque central church was chosen. The fundamental plane of the church is that of a Greek cross. In the Chapel of Luke, to the left of the high altar, there is a glass cross whose shape is inspired by the architecture of the church.
The dome rising above the cross intersection is 60 m high. The church has
1 000 seats, which makes it one of the biggest parish churches in Stockholm.
The most important ornament is the high altar from the 18th century.
The altar is the biggest Baroque-style work of sculpture in Sweden. It was
originally sculptured for the Uppsala Cathedral by the sculptor Burchard Precht. The inauguration took place in 1731. It arrived at Gustaf Vasa from Skansen, where the Nordic Museum had stored it for a few years. It is modeled after the Ignatius-altar from Il Gesú, the main Jesuit church in Rome. The
central motif is Jesus Christ crucified, with the background of a bas-relief
depicting the heavenly Jerusalem. In the lower part, the institution of the
Eucharist is depicted on a bas-relief. The side groups show allegoric depictions of the victory of Faith over the lack of Faith (to the left) and the victory of the Gospel over heresy (to the right). Above the reredos, Precht has placed a
reproduction of the group of clouds above the high altar in the Saint Peter Church in Rome.
The marble pulpit is designed by the church’s architect. The original font, which is
located at the northern pillar by the short staircase, was sculpted by Sigrid Blomberg.
The Corner Chapels
The four corner chapels have been designed for different purposes. Located in the Chapel of Matthew in the north-eastern corner of the church is the little church for the children, created by the churchwarden and stage designer Tor Svae. The Chapel of Mark in the south-east provides room for having after church coffee and gatherings of different kinds. The Chapel of Luke, to the left of the choir, is reserved for private devotion, and in the Chapel of John, to the right of the choir, the regular services during the week, and occasionally other services, are held.
The Ceiling Paintings
In the dome, the artist Viktor Andrén has painted the Transfiguration of Jesus, Matthew 17:1-8. In the arms of the cross, Baptism, Communion, Law and the Gospel are represented. Depicted in the corner fields of the arms of the cross are the four Evangelists, whose names were also given to the four chapels built in connection with the restoration in 1966.
The organ of the church is one of the country’s most famous. It is partially built after the composer Otto Olsson’s intentions. Olsson was an organist in the church between 1907–1956. The organ has been built in several phases, and today it has 75 voices divided on three manuals and pedals. It has a so called late-romantic timbre and represents a style of Swedish organ design of which there are not many well-preserved specimens left. In 1982-1983, the organ went through
The Choir Organ
This instrument, which was inaugurated in May 3 1992, was built by Grönlunds Orgelbyggeri in Gammelstad. Grönlunds is recognized as one of Sweden’s leading
organ makers and have delivered instruments to the churches of Hedvig Eleonora, Adolf Fredrik, Engelbrekt and Immanuel, and to the concert house. The organ in Gustaf Vasa has 14 voices, divided on two manuals and pedals. With its classic timbre, it becomes an effective compliment to the big, late Romantic organ.