The Hospital of the Holy Ghost(Helligåndsklostret), also known as Aalborg Kloster, is a former establishment of the Order of the Holy Ghost in Aalborg, Denmark. It was the hospital of Aalborg from 1431 to 1953 and is one of Denmark's best preserved medieval establishments. These are the oldest buildings in north Jutland, and the former hospital is also the oldest social institution in Denmark.
The hospital was founded in 1431 by the wealthy Lady Maren Hemmingsdatter with the gift of a large house, adjoining land and an endowment as a 'House of the Holy Ghost' (Helligåndshus), common in Denmark at that period, a charitable institution of a religious nature for the care of the sick, old and poor. In 1434 the house burnt down and the present buildings were built to replace it.
On 20 August 1451 it formally became a part of the Order of the Holy Ghost, a hospitaller order which had originated in Montpellier, France, with the aim of caring for the sick, the old and orphans. The Aalborg hospital specialised in the care of lepers. It was a double house, with provision for both male and female religious. It gained high status within the order, the prior in Aalborg being the grand master's deputy in Scandinavia.
The monastic complex when completed in 1500 consisted of four ranges round a quadrangular garden with the magnificent church on the south side, and separate wings for the male and female religious. It was constructed in late Brick Gothic style.
The work of the hospital was paid for with income-producing farms, mills and fishing rights scattered throughout northern Jutland. It even owned its own brick works. The hospital was also authorized to send out 'gatherers' who solicited donations of food, cloth, money or goods for the benefit of the sick poor.
During the Reformation in 1536, the Hospital of the Holy Ghost was dissolved. Its important function as a city hospital was still needed, however, and the city just secularized it: most of the religious simply gave up their religious status and continued doing the same work for the poor. Also, the Order of the Holy Ghost made extensive use of lay people in its hospitals, whose status was unaffected. The hospital continued to operate here until 1953.
The church was another matter. After the Reformation, Aalborg had three large churches without religious organisations to provide for their upkeep, and the townspeople did not want the cost of their maintenance. It was therefore decided to demolish the hospital church and the Vor Frue Church, leaving St. Budolfi Church as the city church. (The tower of the hospital church remained standing until 1880).
For 300 years the grammar school of Aalborg was also located in the buildings. During the Second World War, Denmark's first resistance group, the Churchill Club, was established here.
Today the buildings contain a retirement home with independent apartments for the elderly, as well as meeting and exhibition rooms. There is also a chapel where services are held by clergy from the Budolfi Church, now the cathedral of Aalborg. The present Aalborg Kloster is directed in its social care functions by a board consisting of the Bishop of Aalborg, a representative of the North Jutland Region, the mayor of Aalborg, the Chief of Police and two other church representatives.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.