Friday, February 4, 2022

2021 November: Awesome Art, Magical Music, Flickering Firelight

It's Day Three of our daughter Michelle and her husband Andy's visit to Sweden.  So fun to show them things we have enjoyed here in Stockholm. . . . art, music, and thought-provoking cemeteries with flickering candles.  Click to enlarge the photos.

We love the Deutsche Kirche (the German Church) of the German Parish of St. Gertrude of the Church of Sweden in Gamla Stan, with its incredible stained glass windows.  This one depicts a Swedish family going to church.  Although Sweden is a very secular country, there are still many who believe in Jesus Christ.  In fact, most Swedes pay taxes to support the Church of Sweden.  They can opt out, but most do not, even members of other churches.  They want to make sure all bases are covered just in case! 

And of course, we like anything to do with farming.  This family is working together to produce food for their table.  I wonder how many people know where their food actually comes from?

Another gorgeous stained glass window.  Beautiful when the sun shines through.

The family that prays together stays together . . . and the family that eats together is bonded in love and good food.  So important to sit down together and eat a meal as you discuss the events of the day.

The birth of Jesus in stained glass is a lovely reminder that He came to earth as a baby, grew in stature and wisdom, taught His gospel, suffered and bled for our sins and weaknesses and sorrows, and was resurrected the third day that we too might live again.

Here's a close-up of the lovely Nativity stained glass window.

Paintings are everywhere.  This one is just above our heads on the underside of the balcony (see photo below).  Not sure how anyone normally sees it.  We have visited this church several times and this is the first time that I noticed these paintings.  Very dark under here so I had to look in my phone camera to actually see them.

The paintings in the previous photo are underneath this balcony!  Interesting to think of the artist painting all these pictures that no one sees!  The pictures on the side of the balcony are visible but your eye is always drawn to the stained glass paintings.  I would have liked to examine all the paintings in greater detail.  Another time . . .

The Nobel Museum is all decorated for the announcement of the Nobel prizes which took place on October 4-11, 2021.  The prizes will be awarded at a banquet on December 10.  LeRon and I were actually in the museum when one of the prizes was announced, but it was all in Swedish.  But interesting that we were there.

Of course we had to stop at our favorite art shop in Gamla Stan.  Michelle and Andy have the same art addiction that LeRon and I have.  Good choices!  One an oil and the other a water color and both depict typical Swedish scenes.  Andy's ancestors are from Sweden.  Gabil (pronounced gaw-beel') was pleased to do business with our family.  Actually we have given him a lot of business and have brought many missionaries to meet him.  He does great work!

We've popped in to the oldest church in Stockholm, Storkyrkan (the Great Church), also known as Stockholms Domkyrka (Stockholm Cathedral) or Sankt Nikolai Kyrka (Church of St. Nicholas).

LeRon would LOVE to play this organ!  He had contact information for the organist but never had time to contact him.  Apparently, you can book time on the organ.  Maybe another time . . .  Below is a short video of a choir that was performing for All Saints Day.

The acoustics in this building are marvelous.  Nice that there was a choir performing today for All Saints Day.  We happened to pop in just as they were ready to start the concert so we listened for a bit.  Then as we were leaving, the organist began playing on that beautiful organ.  Click below for a very short video.  The longer, and better, one was too long to post.

Above:  We left the Storkyrka and headed back into the streets of Gamla Stan.  Every Saturday, the Hare Krishna parade through the streets, singing and dancing.  Fun to see (and hear) their enthusiasm.

Today, 2021 November 7, is All Saints Day.  From the 700's, All Saints Day has been a Christian celebration that honors the saints of the church.  In Sweden, it is less of a Christian celebration and more of a commemoration of lost loved ones.  It is celebrated each year on the Saturday between October 31 and November 7.   We're here at Storkyrkogården, the largest cemetery in Stockholm.  Flickering candlelights everywhere.

There is a very reverent feeling here in this cemetery as you think of the thousands of deceased loved ones being honored today.  

Flowers and wreaths are placed, along with candles.  Heather is a lovely shrub that does well in the cold so you see a lot of heather.  We named our first daughter Heather.  I remember her saying one time, "I'm just a shrub!"  Yes, but a beautiful one.

I don't know why we didn't think to bring candles for LeRon's brother Eugene who passed away in 2018.  Or for our parents, who have all passed away.  Maybe they were all looking down on us from heaven.

So interesting to see people reverently placing candles for their loved ones.

Even with dogs and children running around, the atmosphere was one of peace, reverence, and remembrance.  This dog reminds me of our beloved Honey.  We hope to see her again in the next life, along with our cats Blackie, Digory, and Drinian.

I watched this young woman for a very long time as she held the candle, watching the flickering flame and thinking of her loved one.  

So good to see children learning respect for their deceased loved ones.

Storkyrkogården (or Woodland Cemetery) is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  This building houses the Woodland Crematorium with its three chapels.  The reflection of the building in the water is lovely.

Last look at the candles and the lovely heather.

We ran into Syster Brighton and Syster Owens with our dear friend (and unofficially adopted daughter), Helene as we were leaving the cemetery.   They were there to honor their loved ones.  Helene was honoring her aunt who died in Andorra not so long ago.  Andorra lies between Spain and France and is the 16th smallest country in the world with an area of 468 square kms and a population of about 77,000.  I bet you've never heard of it!

I never could get a good picture of the cemetery where you could see actual graves with the candles, so I snatched this from the internet.

Now it's Sunday, November 7, and we are ready to go to church at the Stockholm Ward here in Taby.  Thank goodness for translation devices because we definitely don't know Swedish.

The missionaries came over, as usual, for our Sunday night singing and eating.  Elder LaRose, Elder Hancock, Elder Brown, and Elder Gilbert.  Right now there are only 4 missionaries who live above us.  Sometimes there have been up to 7 or more.  Makes for a full house when they all come.

Michelle must be taking the picture.  LeRon at the keyboard, Andy relaxing in the chair, and Elder LaRose, Elder Hancock, Elder Brown, Elder Gilbert, and me (Syster Torrie).

Selfie with all of us.  Not sure why LeRon is squatting.  I'm sure he could have stood behind me.  Oh well.  Fun times and happy memories.  So glad Andy & Michelle shared it with us.  More posts to come.  Next up will be our trip into Denmark to see the Christus statue and the Carl Bloch paintings.

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