The precise date of the Braaby Church's construction is not known but it was first documented around 1370 when it consisted of the current Romanesque nave and a smaller chancel, both built of limestone blocks. In about 1500, the tower, porch and north chapel were added with decorations consisting of belts of brick and limestone. The present chancel was constructed in c. 1570. After Steward of the Realm Peder Oxe had built nearby Gisselfeld Manor in 1556, he received Braaby Church as a gift from King Christian III. The church remained in the ownership of Gisselfeld until 1967.
In 1880, a vault was constructed in place of the wooden ceiling. The tomb headpiece in the nave adjacent to the north chapel is from 1695. It is decorated with a skull flanked by volutes. The cornice bears 14 ancestral arms with an inscription stating: 'The nobleman Adam Levith Knuth of Gisselfeld and Assendrup who was born 1 March 1648 in Meklenburg and died 13 January 1699 has completed this tomb and memorial for his soul's eternal rest and his corporal remains.' It is headed by a large carving bearing the family arms surrounded by symbols of war.
Below the memorial windows, there is a carved depiction of a young woman with wavy hair sitting in a wooded landscape. She is caressing a dog with her left hand while she hushes with the fingers of her right hand. The inscription from Proverbs 11, verse 12, reads 'But a man of understanding remains silent.' Below the memorial, there is a crypt with the coffins of Knuth, Sophia Ulfeldt of Orebygård (died 1698) and her daughter Countess Hilleborg Holck (died 1724) who was Knuth's longstanding fiancee. A batch of letters was found in her coffin which might explain why they never married but out of respect for the deceased they have not been read.
The rood screen (1695) bears Knuth's arms with a black kettle hook. The painting on the altarpiece is by Constantin Hansen (1833). The pulpit is from 1862. On the north wall of the chancel there is an epitaph to Peder Oxe who died in 1575. It was completed before his death and although he was buried in Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, the date of his death has been added. The epitaph states that Braaby Church has been moved to Gisselfeld. This never happened but he was so convinced that his plans would be carried out and the church would be moved stone by stone that he included it in his epitaph.
Gotland limestone has been used to make the font from the later part of the 12th century. It is akin to the font seen in Bornholm, though the decorations are different; these are inferred to be by an artist of Zealand. The bowl of the font has decorations made in relief. They depict the Three Kings and Saint Anne holding the baby Jesus. Also seen in the relief are other scenes of an angel restraining a hunter, a deer, a cross turned towards the hunter, satan in the form of an ape, and horses saddled but without the riders, the central horse carrying a falcon. The plinth also has relief decorations of a bishop, two snakes being nursed by a woman, a snake, and also of a book with a cross and griffin.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.