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Living with uncertainty
Finally. After a break of a few years, February 2024 is once again the time to gather for the North European Cathedral Conference. The last conference was held in Dublin. Since then, Trondheim has on two occasions planned for a conference and had to cancel due to the pandemic.
We have lived in uncertain times and continue to do so with an ongoing war in Europe and accelerating climate change. What does it mean for us as individuals, as a church and as cathedrals? What is our task in situations of change and uncertainty?
Living with uncertainty is also the theme when NECC now gathers again. This time in the diocesan and university city of Lund in southern Sweden, near Copenhagen and with a view towards the continent. Lund is expanding with increasing population. A completely new district with the large research facilities ESS (European Spallation Source) and Max IV is emerging.
Lund Cathedral's 900th Anniversary and Its Significance for the Future
Lund has a long history, not least ecclesiastically. In 1103, Lund became the archbishop’s seat. On June 30, 1123, Archbishop Asser consecrated the cathedral's oldest altar, located in the cathedral's crypt, to John the Baptist, all the prophets and patriarchs. In 2023, the Cathedral's crypt celebrates its 900th anniversary. A reason both to give thanks for background and roots and to look into the future. In the crypt there are mysterious stone sculptures. The legend of the giant Finn is connected to one of them. The giant who helped build the church but when his name was revealed, and he lost the eyes of the priest that he was supposed to get as a reward, got so angry that he decided to demolish the whole building. However, he forgot that giants cannot stand sunlight. When the first rays of the sun filtered in through the windows in the east, he turned to stone. Before the transformation was complete, he managed to shout out what he thought was a curse: "This church will never, ever be finished."
The Blessing of Perpetual Renewal and Faith: A Church That Will Never Be Finished
The curse turned out to be a blessing. A description that is true of the building, there is always something to renovate. And an exclamation which gives meaning to faith and theology. Thanks to the fact that the church will never be finished, there is room for new generations to make their contribution. Space to face change and live with the uncertain.
The situation we live in, in the world today and the giant's outburst in the legend is the starting point for the conference in 2024. We will take part in the research that has been done on the cathedral's material and immaterial cultural heritage for the jubilee. Inspired by experiences in the cathedral's long history, we look ahead. The days will include music, newly composed for both organ and choir. But also taken from one of Scandinavia's oldest missals, Missale Lundense, which was discovered in a library in Bratislava just a few years ago. The dialogue through art and with society and cultural life is highlighted. An example of this dialogue is the cathedral's participation in shaping the new city district that is emerging. We gather around questions about the contribution of cathedrals in uncertain times and how we are a church that will never be finished.