To the Holy Island Church of St Mary’s.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is with a deep sense of humility we address you today on behalf of the Church of Norway in the year of our Lord, 1993, twelve hundred years after the assault by the Vikings on the Monastery of Lindisfarne in 793.
In Norwegian history the sacking of Lindisfarne is considered to be the beginning of the Viking period. As we well know, towns and sanctuaries were ravaged all over Europe the following two and a half centuries.
In return, our forefathers met Christianity on their travels. Equally important, missionaries from the British Isles risked their lives by traveling to the Nordic countries to preach the gospel.
After the death of King Olaf Haraldsson at the battle of Stiklestad on 29th July 1030, and his subsequent canonization as a saint of Christendon, the raids of the Vikings ended.
In the picture here above, from Nidaros Cathedral, St. Olaf is depicted with the lily of peace in his hand while his foot represses the power of belligerance. A replica of the head of this Olaf sculpture is given today to the Holy Island Church of St Mary’s from the parish of Nidaros Cathedral.
Nidaros Cathedral, where St. Olaf is buried, was a major goal for pilgrims throughout the Middle Ages. The picture above shows pilgrims making their way towards St. Olaf.
Pilgrimage is said to be the move towards a sanctuary with the openness to be changed in spirit and to search for new values. In the spirit of pilgrimage we approach today our Christian origins in England.
We commemorate the event of 793 and the sacrifices of the monks of Lindisfarne with contrite hearts. We honour the memory of St. Cuthbert, prior and bishop of Lindisfarne, and greet you in thanksgiving for the Chirstian heritage we were given to share.
We are united in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Together we stand today, facing the spiritual and ethical challenges of our time.
May our common memories of the past help us in this last part of the second millenium to walk the paths of the Lord into the future.
Presented in the setting of holy worship on 18th July 1993.
Signed by: Finn Wagle, Bishop of Nidaros, and Sven Oppegaard, Dean of Nidaros Cathedral