Today’s HDR pictures are captured inside Maria Magdalena kyrka. On the first you can see the altarpiece and on the second a broader view from the middle of the church. Below the picture you can read a summary of the church’s and its parish’s history.
The Maria Magdalena church is the oldest church at Södermalm, the south district of central Stockholm. The church’s early history is poorly documented but it’s known that in the early 1350’s the king Magnus Erikson, with the permission from the Pope, built a funeral chapel at the location of the present church. He dedicated this chapel to Mary Magdalene, Maria Magdalena in Swedish. This chapel was later destroyed after the protestant reformation in 1527. By order from King Gustav Vasa all churches, chapels and monasteries on the ridges surrounding Stockholm were destroyed. The reason for this was probably that enemies, loyal to the Danish King Christian II, had used the chapel for attacks against Stockholm.
The population in Södermalm grew rapidly in the late 1500’s but they did not have any church. King Johan III therefore decided to build a new church in the same location as the destroyed chapel. The construction of the new church started in 1588 but was halted after the King’s death in 1592. It was not until 1625 before the construction work was completed and the church was ready for services. In 1654 the population in Södermalm had grown so much that the parish was split in two, the eastern part formed the new Katarina’s parish, and the western part remained as Maria Magdalena’s parish. But it was not long before the Maria Magdalena church again was too small to accommodate all worshipers. The church was then enlarged two times in the later part of the 1600’s. The architects behind the original construction and the enlargements of the church in Baroque style were Nicodemus Tessin the Elder and his son Nicodemus Tessin the Younger.
In 1759 the church was destroyed along with 300 other buildings in Mariabranden, a large fire at Södermalm. Superintendent Carl Johan Cronstedt was commissioned to rebuild the church, a task he completed in 1763. The church’s exterior now got its present Rococo appearance except for the new tower spire that was not put in place until 1824. The church’s interior got present appearance a major renovation in 1926 under the supervision of the architect Lars Israel Wahlman. One year earlier the Maria Magdalena parish had been split in two when the new Högalid’s parish, with its newly built church, had been formed in the western part of Södermalm.