Børglum Abbey was originally a royal farm which dated back as far as 1000, if not earlier. In 1086 King Canute IV fled from his residence at Børglum when the peasants revolted against him. The royal residence was burned to the ground but rebuilt sometime later.
At some point between 1134 and 1139, the royal estate at Børglum was granted to the church to become the new seat of the bishopric of northern Jutland, also known as the bishopric of Vendsyssel, previously established at Vestervig. Bishop Self (or Sylvester) of Vestervig became the first Bishop of Børglum (Vendsyssel) in 1139, and Børglum remained the seat of the diocese until the Reformation.
It is unclear exactly who first established a monastery there, but it seems possible that the Augustinians previously settled at Vestervig had moved to Børglum by 1134. In the 1180s the Premonstratensians, or White Canons, were established here, as a daughter house of Steinfeld Abbey near Cologne in Germany. Børglum then in its turn became the mother house for all Premonstratensian monasteries in Scandinavia. The abbey quickly became prominent, perhaps with the help of royal patronage, and set up a seminary, where many noble families sent at least one of their sons to study. The Premonstratensians expanded the abbey and its church during the time of Bishop Troel.
Some time before 1220 the Bishop of Vendsyssel made the abbey his episcopal seat. The abbey church became the cathedral of the bishopric of Vendsyssel, or Børglum, and the canons took on the additional role of the cathedral chapter. Besides being the biggest landowner in North Jutland, the bishop was ex officio part of the State Council which advised the King of Denmark on domestic and international policy. This further enhanced the reputation of Børglum Abbey, making it one of most influential religious houses in Denmark.
The abbey church, later also cathedral, was built as a typical Romanesque basilica and formed the eastern range of the monastery. It is believed that the builders modelled its construction and decoration on Viborg Cathedral. It was built of granite, obtained locally. A flat timber ceiling and the absence of windows would have made it dark, but the massive walls would have prevented the cold winds and storms off the North Sea, just a few miles to the west, from penetrating the building.
Hans Christian Andersen wrote a version of the old folk legend 'The Bishop of Borglum and his Men' which recounts the murder of Bishop of Borglum, Oluf Glob, and several companions by his nephew, Jens Glob, in front of the altar at Hvidebjerg Church on Thy Island in 1206.
One of the annual events for which Børglum was famous was the market on or near St. Bodil's day, June 17. Bodil's sacred spring which was a religious site back in Viking times was believed to have healing power. In 1500 a fire destroyed much of the old abbey church and a new church was begun, but in the later Gothic style with high arched ceilings. Work was slow, but by 1520 the choir and nave had been rebuilt and work had begun on the transepts to join the two together. The Reformation in the 1520s and 1530s brought the reconstruction to a halt.
Børglum Abbey was dissolved when Denmark became officially Lutheran on 30 October 1536. Its assets reverted to the crown and it became a royal property once again. The abbey church continued in use as the cathedral church for northern Jutland until 1554, when the Lutheran bishop moved the episcopal seat to the Budolfi Church in Aalborg. The vast Børglum Abbey estate was broken up and sold off or given to noble families. The abbey's main building became a large manor house and the outbuildings were either demolished or converted to farm use.
Without constant attention the buildings began to deteriorate; the church especially fell into total disrepair. A local nobleman, Godslev Budde, received permission from Frederik II to demolish the incomplete transepts and enclose the church in the original basilica form.
As a manor house, the former abbey buildings at Børglum have survived to modern times. The church continues to serve as the local parish church.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.