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Sankt Petri church

S:t Petri church was consecrated on 27 November 1966 by Bishop Martin Lindström and is the work of the architect and Doctor of Technology, Sigurd Lewerentz. The idea of a church in Åby, as Klippan's centre was then called, was already conceived in the 1890's. No decision, however, was reached. The question was raised again at the end of the 1940's by the Rev. Ax. Malmberg. This led to the forming of Klippan's Church Foundation, a supportive union which, with Åby Sewing Society, have together collected over the years considerable funds to resolve the question of building a church. Occasional church services were held in the so-called church Assembly-Hall, which, however, had to be abandoned in 1948 due to "serious cracks in its structure". The services were then moved to Klippan's Burial Chapel at the New Cemetery, an all but satisfactory solution. After some years the services were transferred to the school hall. In the 60's the question of having a church in Klippan had come to a head. At the church induction and episcopal tour of inspection in 1960, the question was brought up for discussion. In December 1960 Erik Arlock and Carl Uddling, later to become churchwardens of St. Petri, presented a motion to the Church Commissioners requesting an investigation for a suitable site for a Parish Hall with a place of worship or a so-called small church. After much discussion the Church Commissioners decided that the site designated for a church in the town-planning of 1915 should be presented as a gift to Klippan Parish. In the beginning of 1962 architect Sigurd Lewerentz undertook the task of creating the future church. The Ante-Chamber In front of the church lies a forecourt, somewhat like the slope to the church in the old days. The ante-chamber is bounded towards the park by a slope of blackthorn bushes. In front of it, there is a shallow pond in which the various architectural structures are mirrored. A little fountain plays on the surface of the pond. The sculpture "The Bowls of Grace" by the sculptor Christian Berg was added thanks to a donation on the 10th. anniversary of the church. The Disposition of the Church Edifice is simple. The very heart of the edifice is formed by the church building itself, which is enclosed by a perpendicular building with rooms for parish work and administration. The varying angles of the roofing and the half-timbered character of the bricklaying are intended to give the illusion of a Scanian village. Connecting on to the place of worship are two wings. One is the belfry, which besides the four churchbells, houses the sacristy, the churchwardens' room and the choirs' assembly room. The other wing houses the porch, a chapel for performing the marriage ceremony and waiting-room. The Youth Club under the Church Assembly Hall has its entrance from a sunken light court. The Nave is built according to " circumstantes", the idea of the central place of worship. Around the monumental detached altar, the measurements of which are determined by the "Golden Mean", are grouped priest, organ, church-musicians, choir and churchwardens. Behind the altar are the clergy-bench, (clerus-bänken), the bishop-chair (catedra) and the pulpit. The bishop-chair may well be the first one in an evangelical church after the Reformation. The bare altar calls out for the Lord's Holy Communion. It is at its most splendid when set for Holy Communion. A cross of wrought iron stands on the floor beside the altar and has a monogram of Christ with five red stones, reminding us of the five wounds of Christ. The cross is designed by the sculptor Robert Nilsson.  At Holy Communion, the priest stands behind the altar turned towards the congregation  ("versus populum"). The layman who participates in the service by reading, inter alia, texts, has their place marked in the floor. The floor slopes slowly down to the altar "to help the doubtful towards the communion table" (Lewerentz). The pulpit and the altar are built up with the dark-brown brick from Helsingborg. The organ is supplied by the Danish organ-builder P. G. Andersen. The christening font is located at the entrance of the church. From a large mussel shell brought from the Indian Ocean, the christening-water drops into a chink in the floor. The serene dripping is to remind us of God's neverceasing Grace that one receives in the christening. The nave rests on and is built around a cross, the T-cross or Antonius-cross, a construction which the architect allows this symbolic function to have. In this place of worship hangs a mobile tapestry, designed by "X:t", Professor Sven Erixon and woven by the textileartist Barbro Nilsson. It has two sides, which the artist describes thus: "The Passion side. One sees at the top the crown of thorns with the nails, forming a face. The five drops of blood stand out in red against caput mortuum in the background. This is shaped like the trunk of a tree. The other side, the Resurrection, is more radiant in colour, and there one sees at the very top IHS signifying the triumphant Christ, over a meadow, imperceptibly fading into a firmament filled with red, black and golden footprints. The red and black ones symbolize the hardships of life and the golden ones are in direct communication with the sign in the sky, IHS." The architect achieves mysticism, the sublime, creative atmosphere by allowing a soft light to filter in through windows, which are directly stapled and pointed to the outside of the bricked  walls. A remarkable effect is achieved by this: that there is no glass in the openings. The Belfry has four bells bearing apostle-names:  Petrus, weighing 2646 lbs., turned in E, Paulus, 1543.5 lbs.,in tone G, Andreas, 1102.5 lbs., in tone A, and Tomas 661.5 lbs., in tone C. The bells are donated by Klippan's Finpappersbruk, Åby's Sewing Society, Klippan's Church Foundation and Klippan's KFUK (Young Women's Christian Association). The bell-verses are written by the poet Bo Setterlind. The Bells of St. Petri PETRUS: All earthly flees its glory disappears but the Lord´s rock remains forever ANDREAS: All might has no grace on earth towards darkness shines the starry image God´s love stronger than death PAULUS: Fear not the final hour when thou shalt leave all behind torn from thy foundation to become another reation TOMAS: Faith is a rare pearl to win and to cherish it has within a celestial light a force to flourish In the belfry is the sacristy with preparatory altar and at its side a piscina, into which the wine remaining after Holy Communion is poured out to trickle down into the consecrated earth of the church. On the altar is an ivory crucifix, made by the sculptor Christian Berg. On the  opposite wall of the sacristy hangs a  painting of Petrus, a work of the artist Erik Olsson, a member of the Halmstad Group. The Church Porch is an intimate room with double-arched brick ceiling and original windowlighting. A bricked bench divides the room to the chapel used for the marriage ceremony, the Andreas chapel. An altar thrusts out of the wall. A model of a ship, the symbol of Christ's church, hangs from the ceiling. There is a waitingroom within the Andreas chapel.       The Assembly Hall The architect Lewerentz' great feeling for material is omni-present in the whole building. All wood is, for the most part, unplaned and natural. All flooring, with the exception of the floor in the Church Council's room, has glazed klinkers in varying shades and combinations. The leading of light in the Church Assembly Hall is also of interest. The lower windows in the main hall cast their light over the flooring but also afford direct contact with their outside surroundings. The floor and ceiling slope slightly giving the room splendid dimensions. The Church Council room is one of the most beautiful rooms in the whole complex. The bricked ceiling is arched in two transversal barrel-vaults. At one of the windows the architect has formed two meditation benches of brick designed perfectly for sittingcomfort. Here the lamps are designed by Lewerentz's contemporary, Asplund. A thick bricked wall leads the visitor from the waitingroom to the Parish Registrar's Office. The waitingroom also communicates with two parlours. Other offices, some intended for youth work, are now used for the everincreasing fiscal duties. Moreover, the Assembly Hall houses club rooms and confirmation rooms. St. Petri Church in Klippan has, ever since the consecration in 1966, roused great and welljustified attention. It is the aim of this booklet to give in word and picture a description of the church and its architect, Doctor of Technology Sigurd Lewerentz. The Architect Architect Sigurd Lewerentz was 77 years old when he was asked to create St. Petri Church. One may think it a bold decision to call on a man of that age for such a demanding task. But age turned out to be no disadvantage. On the contrary. He had, behind him, many years of collected experience, which he could now draw on. Full of life, knowledgeable, original, independent of all architectural traditions and styles, with the understanding of what is essentially christian, he set about his task.He put all his artistic passion into  this task. What he creates is not the product of a drawing-board. The placing of every brick is determined directly by himself on the spot or indirectly by the instructions he gave to the artisans. Much in the building can seem to be improvised, but actually everything is carefully thought out. Before the altar, pulpit and bishop-chair were built up, models were made and thoroughly tested. The watchful eye of the architect constantly followed the work on the site. The building-committee therefore decided in full confidence to leave the building of the church entirely in his hands and not call in an inspector. Reticent, almost timid, the architect went about his work, often reserved towards the many architects and others who turned up while work was going on. He was, however, open-hearted and easy-going towards the master-builder Helge Lindgren and the workmen on the site. A more and more close relationship developed between them as the work progressed. At the consecration of the church Bishop Martin Lindström made the observation: "A renowned architect has with all his being built here a hallowed room of magestic weight".
Sankt Petri Church

A masterpiece of Sigurd Lewerentz

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