The history of Maria Magdalena Church dates back to the 1350s when King Magnus Eriksson with the permission of Pope Clement VI had a funeral chapel built on the location and dedicated it to Mary Magdalene. When Gustav Vasa liberated Stockholm in the early 1520s, his troops led by Peder Fredag encamped in the chapel and suffered severe losses when the troops of Christian II of Denmark attacked from the city. This might have been one of the reasons Vasa had all churches, monasteries, and chapels on the ridges surrounding the city destroyed after the introduction of Protestantism in 1527, including the chapel of Mary Magdalene. However, his son King John III started the construction of a new church on the location in 1588. His death in 1592 caused construction work to halt, and the church remained uncompleted until 1634.
Both Nicodemus Tessin the Elder and the Younger gave the church its Baroque appearance. The spire of the former, however, inaugurated in 1676 and according to himself the most beautiful spire in Stockholm, was destroyed in a fire in 1759 together with some 300 buildings in the neighbourhood. Superintendent Carl Johan Cronstedt was commissioned to rebuild the church and had his task completed in 1763. An interior restoration was made in 1927 and the exterior yellow colour was ameliorated in 1986.
The church has a nave but no aisles. The painting of the high altar is the Adoration of the Shepherds by Louis Masreliez from around 1800. The pulpit, the Baroque design of Carl Johan Cronstedt, was inaugurated in 1763 and carries a medallion with the portrait of Mary Magdalene. The front of the organ was designed by Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz in 1774 while the present 50-stop organ is from 1927. A second organ was added in 1986 and in the choir is a third smaller organ.
The baptismal font dates back to 1638 and among the sacramental vessels which survived the fire in 1759, is the oldest effects of the church - a sacramental pan in copper with capital inscriptions. Among the epitaphs in the church are one dedicate to Christopher Polhem and another to Carl Michael Bellman. Under the church are older sepulchral chambers, the burial chapel of which today serves parishes of the Estonian-Finnish Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church.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.