Day of the Stamp – Skalholt and Holar stamps from Iceland

September 14th, 2013

Celebrating the Day of the Stamp, Iceland Post issued a block of stamps depicting popular historical sites of Iceland – Skalholt and Holar.

Skalholt is one of the most notable historical sites in Iceland. No less than 44 bishops served at Skalholt, 31 Catholics and 13 Lutherans, until the episcopal residence and school were transferred to Reykjavik around 1800. Many historic events took place in Skalholt, one of the most dramatic being the the execution of the last catholic bishop, Jon Arason, and his sons. For centuries Skalholt was a great cultural centre and a site of learning. In 1949 a society was formed to rebuild Skalholt and the church was consecrated in 1963. Many precious objects are preserved in Skalholt and some of them are shown on the stamp. Kristjan Valur Ingolfsson is the suffragan bishop of the Skalholt bishopry.

The Holar Cathedral is located at Holar in Hjaltadalur. The Holar bishopry was established in 1106 when the people in Northern Iceland wanted their own bishop to counterbalance the bishop in Skalholt. The present church is the seventh church in Holar, and the fifth cathedral. Among the objects and artifacts shown on the minisheet are a crucifix and church bells. Holar were for centuries the main cultural center of the North and for centuries the site of a college and a printing press. During the Catholic Era 23 bishops served at Holar while 13 bishop served during the Reformation. In 1990 it was decided by law that suffragan bishops should reside at the old bishopries and serve as parish priests. Solveig Lara Gudmundsdottir is the suffragan bishop of the Holar bishopry.

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