Focal Point of the Sacred Space,
Revised Edition
The Boundary Between Chancel
& Nave in Swedish Rural Churches:
From Romanesque to Neo-Gothic


By Anna Nilsen
Translated from Swedish by Martin Naylor
December 2003
Uppsala University Press
ISBN: 91-554-5742-8
278 pages, Illustrated, 8 " x 12"
$99.50 Hardcover


This work is concerned with the Swedish rural parish church, and specifically with the developments of it interior from the beginning of the 12th century until the end of the 19th. It focuses particularly on the boundary between chancel and nave, the most vital point in the church interior and the changes in the substance and forms of worship that have taken place over the centuries - opens up interesting perspectives in which the communication between chancel and nave, the two power centers or agents of the sacred space, plays a decisive role.

While architectural changes have also occurred at other locations in church interiors, it is here that, on an extended timescale, we find the most far-reaching transformations. This is the place within the sacred space at which its lines of communication intersect and produce changes as patterns of worship develop. The study shows that changes in the shape and appearance of the chancel-nave boundary can be attributed almost exclusively to developments in the content or conduct of divine worship. Only in a few cases can other causes be identified, and most of them are without significance for the sacred space as a whole.

Architecture; Religious History
Acta Universitatis Upasaliensis: Figura Nova Series, No. 30

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