Bookmarks on this page: The Church / Botvids Well / Church bells and Runestones / G'psgolox Totem Pole / Pulpit and Organ / Sven X:et Erixsson / Botkyrka Monument / The Baptismal Font / Göta Country Road Bridge / Botkyrka coat of arms / Archbishop Anders Wejryd / Leave this page for the front page at

Botkyrka Church
Botkyrka Parish, Stockholm County, Sweden


IMG_3046cr.jpg (227074 byte)



Saint Botvid who gave name for the municipality of Botkyrka in the southern parts of Stockholm county, is one of only two guardian saints of the province or landscape of Södermanland (Sörmland) on the southern shore of lake Mälaren and bordering the Baltic Sea in the east and southeast. Together with Saint Eskil who gave name for the city of Eskilstuna a hundred kilometres to the west, Saint Botvid lived in this area sometimes between 1050-1120.



IMG_3042cr.jpg (313779 byte)
Botvid was born on Hammarby a few hundred metres west of the present church, and raised by honourable but heathen parents.
As an adult Botvid went for a journey to England where he was lodged by an unusually devoted and wise priest that taught him about Christianity.
Botvid was baptised in England and stayed another six months before returning to his native district.

By good example and useful admonitions he tried to convert the heathens at home to christianity.



IMG_3283cr.JPG (2104086 byte)



The legend continues about a miracle that came through Botvid, with the help of God, during fishing.
Despite bad conditions two boats became fully loaded with fish after only one catch.

Botvid bought a Slavic thrall or slave which was tought about Christianity and baptist. On the boat journey across the Baltic Sea, towards Finland to release the baptised thrall they stayed over night on the island Rogön. While Botvid were asleep the thrall took Botvid's own axe and murdered both Botvid and another fellow-traveller and dissappeared with the boat out of history.


IMG_3050cr.jpg (235537 byte)



When Botvid's body after a long search finally was found by his family on the island Rogön, the remains were brought back to his father's farm Hammarby. This was in the year 1120  and he was buried in Säby Church (today the Salem Church) for the coming nine years.
During this period an incredible amount of miracles began to occur at the grave.
At the same time Botvid's brother Björn began building a wood church beside their father's Hammarby farm and called it Botvidia Kirkia.



IMG_3040cr.jpg (309606 byte)



I wonder why Botvid took a detour to the island Rogön on his way to Finland?
I need two days only for the detour with my own boat today!
Maybe he wasn't on his way to Finland at all?



Journey_to_Finland.jpg (232261 byte)

A placemark at Rågön for Google Earth users.



There are voices claiming that the murder could have happened already in the year 1080, but then I can't figure out how Björn could have build the church and to me the whole story is overturned. So I'll stick to the first version.





IMG_3039cr.jpg (303140 byte)




In the medieval tradition, a well would always be found in connection to the death of a saint.

When the remains of Saint Botvid were carried from Säby Church (today's Salem Church) in procession led by the Bishops of Uppsala and Strängnäs to the new wood church Botvidia Kirkia, the casket was temporarily put down for the men to rest near the shore of Bornsjön.
While the men were resting a well poured up! 





I have been told the well is even today providing clear water at the rate of 5-10 liters per minute, and have finally found it myself.

At a bus stop there was a small wood sign that said "Källa" (well).
Then it was only 50 feet to walk.
The ground was wet all around the well. It seems to pour up water everywhere, but in the man maid pit the water looks like pickled herring stock, slowly moving around. The growing sea weed in the well clearly shows that it never freezes during winter. The well pours up just half a foot higher than the Bornsjön water level itself.



We leave the church for the well at the shore of Bornsjön ...

The lake Bornsjön is protected by law as fresh water reserve for Stockholm city, and no human activities around or in the lake are allowed.

Measures have been taken by the authorities to prevent contaminated water from the expressway nearby to reach the well, pond, and lake Bornsjön.

Lake Mälaren is normally providing fresh water to the capital and its surrounding municipalities.

Bornsjön is the reserve in case something should go terribly wrong with Mälaren, because there are all human activities allowed! :-)



Botvids Well (4).JPG (1271162 byte)

The well!
Very close to the road with the bus stop.
The bus stop sign and my car at the opposite side of the road are visable through the branches.


Botvids Well (12).JPG (629997 byte)

The bus stop with a wood sign down to the left.
This is one of the oldest roads of importance in the country.
Probably used long before the Battle of Hastings.
The old "Riksettan" Realm Road One, and prior to that called Göta Landsväg (Göta Country Road).



Botvids Well (0).JPG (1474285 byte)

Look close!


Botvids Well (1).JPG (910977 byte)
The water contains much minerals, maybe that's why it grows so well in it.



Botvids Well (9).JPG (1662533 byte)
The well is running directly out in the lake Bornsjön.
Salem Church and the Rectory across the lake.


This was a short detour, and now back to the church ...

Botvids Well (5).JPG (1504822 byte)
Look closer!



IMG_3041cr.jpg (420741 byte)

The bell tower was not finished until the very end of the 12th century. Today's main entrance in the tower is an almost modern idea from 1763. The previous one was in the weapon house.


Botkyrka Plan.jpg (269839 byte)

The first wood church was erected and innaugurated in 1128 or 1129. Replaced in 1176 by the stone church shown in the plans above.
The darkest walls, the left half of the long house is the oldest part of the stone church from 1176. The rest is extended during three centuries.

The stone church was inaugurated by Sweden's first Archbishop Stefan of Uppsala and Bishop Vilhelm of Strängnäs in 1176.


IMG_3043cr.jpg (455273 byte)

The weapon house, former main entrance to the church.


PA084007cr.jpg (292921 byte)

The church bells!
 The largest of the three bells with a weight of about 550 kg were casted by Medardus Gesus in Riga, Latvia, in 1620, and were ordered for the Cathedral in Riga.
But the Swedish Army happened to pass by...
Today it would probably be considered a criminal act, a war crime, and reported to and judged by the Haag Tribunal.
Botkyrka parish received the bell from King Gustav II Adolf together with an antependium and a chausable.

The middle bell was replaced (re-casted) in 1956, and the smallest bell in 1964. Both re-casted by Gösta Bergholtz in the town Sigtuna.


By the way, Don't we owe the Czech Republic for a silver bible too?




PA084020cr.jpg (435291 byte)

A runestone as a cornerstone in the tower! No one have managed to figure out the whole story told on the stone. :-)
The visible runes says: ... and Tove, they had this stone erected after ...

There is another runestone in the floor inside, face down. No one knows what that one says either.
Two more stones have been found high up on the outer walls.








Stolen church bells and silver bibles makes me think of something that doesn't have to do with the church, but more about giving things back to their owners ...


PA084011cr.jpg (352722 byte)

This is the largest window. 
It is covered from the inside, behind the altar piece. If I got it correct, to change the light flow in the church and make it easier to view the motifes and colours in the paintings in the altar piece.
The contours of the window are still visible inside behind the altar.


Chieftain G'psgolox's Totem Pole


Brought to Sweden from Canada in 1929, this Haisla totem pole has finally been returned to Kitimat, B.C.
(Lars Epstein/Associated Press)




Chieftain G'psgolox (pron. Gupsgolox) Totem Pole of the Haisla Indians in British Columbia is actually repatriated from the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm in early 2006.

In return for the sacred totem pole the Haisla tribe has made a new one for the museum in Stockholm.

Haisla on Wikipedia.

A placemark at Google Earth for the aluminium plant in Kitimat, with the village across the bay.


G'psgolox'sTotem080402.JPG (594043 byte)
This is the new G'psgolox's Totem Pole made for The Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm.
It has got a very good place in front of the museum, which also means in the park and entrance shared with both The National Museum of Science and Technology, and The Police Museum. The old police helicopter, a Bell Jetranger, actually stands on its own pole opposite to Chieftain G'psgolox's Totem Pole.
So close together, and yet so far away!


Totem: The Return of the G'psgolox Pole
Gil Cardinal
, National Film Board of Canada

You can watch this 70 minute long movie from the National Film Board of Canada, covering the poles history from 1872 till short before it really was repatriated in 2006!

It's a very beautiful and educational movie.
The length of 70 minutes might seem too long, but you can pause the film when ever you need to.
Give it a try, you won't regret it!


Totem: Return and Renewal
Gil Cardinal
, National Film Board of Canada

Now, a couple of years later, comes the next part that we really have waited for. 
Totem: Return and Renewal







Back to Botkyrka church again...





IMG_3130cr.JPG (249758 byte)

The pulpit in Gustavian style was donated by the Councillor of the Realm Joakim von Düben in 1780 and has his and his wifes Ulrika von Rosenheim alliance coat of arms depicted on the front. 
The previous pulpit was dated 1518.



IMG_3127cr.jpg (259896 byte)

The interior and colours are from the complete renovation that was done in and around 1928.

The benches installed in 1903 replaced the benches that actually was inaugurated on Whitsunday in 1546, the very same day Martin Luther died.

I have previously said that the latest renovation was a gentle one in 1977, aimed to be a fine tuning of the renovation in 1928. But since the organ was replaced, the gallery extended, the interior repainted, I believe the statement has to be revaluated to be a quite extensive renovation instead. 
I'm sorry it took me so long to realize this myself.
It's probably because the interior is so good looking, and I thought it was because people was careful, that fooled me! :-))

By the way, the carpet with the theme "Jacob's Ladder" in the longhouse alley, was created by Barbro Nilsson in 1977.


IMG_3133cr.JPG (263238 byte)

The medieval altarpiece is probably the most valuable possession still placed in Botkyrka Church.
It's from the time when Gustav Vasa was crowned, and Sweden became a sovereign state!

The altar depicts scenes of the history of passion and the crusifixtion.

Jan de Molder in Antwerp in Flanders created the sculptural parts of the altarpiece around 1525. An anonymous master of Antwerp created the doors.

How and why the altar piece came to Sweden and Botkyrka Church is unknown, it may even have been purchased. ;-)

King Gustav I became so delighted of this altar piece that he offered 300 dalers for it, but the inhabitants in the parish refused him!
Queen Katarina Jagelonica however, managed to get it for the Riddarholmskyrkan in Stockholm.
 Her husband King Johan III is said to have returned it safely to Botkyrka where it has been ever since.


IMG_3139cr.JPG (248908 byte)

This organ housing was designed by the architect Olof Tempelman in 1810 and replaced the first instrument donated by Lieutenant Bengt Ribbing at Hallunda Farm in 1774. The present mechanism was installed by Åkerman & Lund in 1977 and has 3 manuals and 36 pitches. Five of them were added in 1992 by Nye organ builders.
The company Lars Norgren Åkerman & Lund Orgelbyggeri AB as it actually is called since 1974, was founded in 1860 and is the oldest organ builder in Sweden.

The old instrument was moved first to Huddinge, the neighboring municipality and parish, and later moved to the island Gotland in the Baltic Sea.

Listen to this very organ and Botkyrka Church's own organist Rune Karlsson playing,
Basse de Trompette.
Festival Finale.

In case you need RealPlayer click here!


IMG_3877.JPG (271380 byte)


IMG_3876.JPG (275548 byte)


IMG_3874.JPG (254196 byte)


The weapon house has been decorated with paintings by the "born in the neighborhood artist" Sven X:et Erixsson (1899-1970), during the 1928 renovation.  IMG_3875.JPG (251501 byte)


PA084021cr.jpg (444954 byte)

The Botkyrka Monument.
It is most likely a monument over Saint Botvid's brother Björn, son of Sven and Bänkfrid at Hammarby, who built the first wood church.


IMG_3140cr.JPG (371399 byte)

This north window was designed by Einar Forseth and originally placed in the south wall. It was made as late as 1953.
The window depicts a scene of a part of The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7. 

Einar Forseth is perhaps best known for creating The Golden Hall consisting of 18 million golden tiles in Stockholm City Hall.



Worth to mention is that most of the invaluable artifacts in the church is replaced by replicas such as the most unusual so called The Botkyrka Monument outside on the churchyard.
The church also has a complete alarm system, with hidden cameras, connected to a surveillance central.

Central heating with indoor climate control is installed since long, so there is no need for extra clothing even at early Christmas-morning services.


IMG_3251cr.jpg (205302 byte)

The baptismal font in limestone was a gift in 1904. It replaced a medieval font that was spoken of as "old and useless" already in 1702. Plans to buy a new font were not realized until 1787, and a simple tin font purchased from Strängnäs is nowadays stored in a closet somewhere. :-)
The picture is from September 2005 when our friends son Alexander were baptised! An enchanting and memorable event depicted in a slide show here!


IMG_3134cr.JPG (178612 byte)

On the south wall beside and above the altar and baptismal font.


And, just a little cute bridge I want you to know about!

Nice to know, so to speak!

IMG_3028cr.jpg (286218 byte)

A remaining part of the Göta Country Road.
From the time before the Battle of Hastings.
In the middle of our shopping mall!
Our Henrik checks it out, but the new Scania truck is interesting too!
The stone bridge was built in the 1890:s, probably to leave a permanent placemark in the nature since the importance of the road was lost since long, prior to this it was made of wood.


Gota Road Bridge.jpg (154714 byte)

Göta Country Road Bridge


IMG_3035cr.jpg (234718 byte)

The main road through the Swedish realm, even before the realm got its name.

The area has probably been populated for at least 7,000 years! We have some knowledge, fragments, from the last 3,000! Tops!



Botkyrka Overview.jpg (291452 byte)

 There are short stories about the places shown in the picture above at

Finally, These are just a few fragments out of almost a thousand years of history.
The facts were found in encyclopedias and in documents and leaflets published by the Swedish Church.
Some information found was so poor that I may have coloured it a little.
Some things I do just know, but I can't tell how I got to know, or why.
Consider this while reading!

Have fun and enjoy a part of our little corner of the world!


Botkyrka coat of arms.



I don't think I have mentioned it before. But, The Swedish State Church began as a Roman Catholic Church and was reformed during, I think, the first half of the 16th century to the Reformed Lutheran Church, and as if this wasn't enough the church was separated from the Swedish state as late as around the turn of the millennium.

Wonder what reforms will come next?

Well, Maybe it wasn't a reform that the previous Archbishop could have been succeeded by his sister, if she not had been beaten by another younger brother, that finally lost in the election to a third non related person!
But it was for sure fun when it happened during the Archbishop election in 2006.
We live in a small country! :-)

Anders Wejryd Arch Bishop.jpg (197168 byte)
This is Sweden's present Archbishop Anders Wejryd on election day in 2006.


An aerial view from Eniro. Do try the function "Utsikt" to the left of "Flygfoto". Then you can view the church from four different angles. I promise you won't regret it!

You can take a peek just to get an idea of where on earth you just have been!

Google Earth users will find a useful placemark here.


PA084048cr.jpg (235794 byte)

This is the first glimpse of Botkyrka Church a visitor to Stockholm will get arriving from south on the expressway E4/E20.


PA084037cr.jpg (218173 byte)

But first, right after the Salem exit this view will appear on the left side. It's the Salem Church on the small cape in the lake Bornsjön.
A 360 degree Panorama of Salem Church


To front page at