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CHURCHES OF THE FAROE ISLANDS

‘Church’ in Faroese is:

‘Kirkja’

phonetically spelled (kir-kja) 

Arrive on any island in the Faroe Islands and you will undoubtedly see a church. Arrive by sea, and the church will likely be your first sight. This is simply because churches in the Faroes were usually constructed and placed strategically so that sailors and sea drifters could see them from the water. This serves as an example of how the church has long been the uniting local cultural center of the villages. This still holds true today.  

Today more than 80% of Faroese are members of the national church. The rest, for the most part, members of other Christian congregations and independent churches.

FAITH IN THE FAROES

It is said that the Faroe Islands were first inhabited after the year AD 600 by Irish monks who came to pray and live close to God in peace. Other sources suggest that the islands were inhabited long before and that the Christian Celtic faith was prominent on the islands, including after the landman period around AD 800 when Norwegian emigrants and Vikings - most likely along with Scots and Irishmen - settled here. 

It is possible that both Vikings, with their belief in Norse gods, and settlers of Christian Celtic faith have lived and worked together on the islands during the Viking Age. The Celtic religion, with its distinctive features and values - such as tall crosses and a closeness to nature - later emerged with the Catholic faith and, eventually, with the Protestant church. 

The remarkable churches of the Faroe Islands: 

  • 62 churches still stand scattered around 16 of the 18 islands
  • Nearly every second village in the Faroes has managed to build its own church
  • Uncover unique architectural styles, exceptional handicraft, special furnishings, alter cloths, needlework and oarnaments, organs, altarpieces and relics, each particular to the 62 churches. 
  • In the 62 churches, there are 662 voluntary clerks (2021) 
  • There are additionally at least 300-400 other volunteers that carry out various practical work
  • 11 out of the 62 churches are listed and described in our leaflet (2022), read or download below. 

With 62 churches scattered around 16 out of the 18 islands, each carrying a name with enormous importance to its location and history, each church has its own unique story. This is why we have produced a leaflet describing 11 out of the 62 churches. This leaflet is an entryway to the stories of eleven remarkable churches that all have regular opening hours (see more below on how you can be respectful when visiting).

Read or download our latest brochure, Churches of the Faroe Islands, here (also available in Faroese here). 

Churches of the Faroe Islands leaflet, 2022

BEFORE VISITING THE CHURCHES

Churches house our most joyous and sorrowful occasions. Be mindful and respect all private arrangements when visiting. We advise you don't attend private arrangements unless invited. You are welcome to join a regular service uninvited: 
 

  • Always keep your voice down
  • Avoid using flash photography
  • never eat or drink inside a church
  • always be seated for an entire service
  • be fairly well dressed
  • After your visit, you can donate a minimum of DKK 20 for the upkeep and maintenance of the churches, as churches are run by voluntary individuals
  • Sit back, listen & enjoy!  

The Sunday services last approximately an hour and are usually held at 11.00 or noon. Find more detailed information at the regional tourist information.