Photo: Lisbeth Eriksen
There have been several churches in Flakstad prior to the current church which was completed in 1780. Bishop Nannestad (1748-1750) describes, after his pastoral visit in 1750, the church as a low, tar-covered building. The roof was covered with stone, but completely destroyed by storm. The old tar-covered church received a new altarpiece in 1765, which was later transferred to the church of 1780. Flakstad Church is listed with the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. A church being listed implies that it is defined as worthy of preservation and holds national value.
In a chronological listing of the country’s old churches, the oldest church on the site “Fløgstada kirkja i Vargfot” is mentioned. Vargfot is an old name for Flakstadøya. In 1740, Flakstad parish became its own parish priest office. Before that time, the church was an annex to Buksnes, whose personal chaplain – “Huuscapellan” – served it. Chaplain in Buksnes, Thore Drejer, became the first parish priest in Flakstad in 1740. Johan Fredrik Pfeiff was appointed in 1760. Under him, the current church was built. Flakstad Church is a prime example of the architectural style and decorative art that characterizes the furnishings, which we call the “Friis period”.
Flakstad Church is a timber church, a cross between a longship with a transept and a regular cruciform church. The placement of the tower is a distinctive feature of several churches built during this time; on the church roof at the crossing. A peculiarity of churches built during this time is the high spire which at the bottom ends in an onion-shaped dome. There have been two major restorations after the church was built in 1780; the first in 1872 and the second and last in 1938. The way the church stands today, it can be said with certainty that it appeared in 1780.
The sacristy is located at the eastern end of the church, so the priest enters the choir through a door behind the altar. In the choir, it is the altarpiece that attracts attention. The Holy Communion is the main motif and the Ascension of Christ is the top piece. The altarpiece is flanked by Moses and Aaron. During the restoration in 1938, the altar rail, the bell chair, and the choir partition were attempted to be restored to their original state – when the church was built in 1790. In the choir, there are two bridal chairs in gilded leather – given to Flakstad Church in 1948 by Signe Krystad. The two pewter candlesticks on the church altar, modeled after a 17th-century candlestick, were donated by Anna Krystad. The baptismal font is believed to have been made in the second half of the 18th century due to its design and decorative painting (marbling). Due to the design and the decorative painting (marbling), it is assumed that the baptismal font was produced in the second half of the 18th century.
The pulpit was painted by Godtfried Ezechiel, commissioned by the then parish priest Pfeif, and given as a gift to the old church, in the year 1766. The pulpit is very rich in Christian symbols. From the canopy with the dove, and through the evangelists with their symbols (Matthew: angel; Mark: lion; Luke: ox, John: eagle). The organ in Flakstad Church was specially made in 1980 by organ builder Eystein Gangfløt, Fredrikstad, has 16 voices, and is an instrument that is adapted to the church space.
Flakstad Church is listed with the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. Being listed means that the church is defined as worthy of preservation and holds national value. The church is an iconic building, beautifully situated in the open landscape of Flakstad, and is well worth a visit.
The Boat of Lights in Flakstad kirke
In 2019, the job of finding a suitable solution for candle lighting in the church began. The churchwarden approached the Blacksmith in Sund, and the result was a beautiful light boat, shaped like a Nordland boat.
The light boat was inaugurated in the fall of 2021, and has become a candle lighting place the congregation is very proud of. Many thanks to the Blacksmith in Sund for beautiful craftsmanship, imbued with wit and humor – just as the blacksmith is known for.
Opening hours og tickets
Open church during the following times (July 3 to August 4, 2023):
Monday from 11 am to 3 pm Wednesday from 11 am to 3 pm Friday from 11 am to 3 pm
Entrance to the church NOK 60 per person. Children under 12 years free.
Location: Flakstad Church