Trinitatis Kirke, Denmark

Trinitatis Kirke Copenhagen 3
Trinitatis Kirke Copenhagen 3 (Photo credit: IbRas)

The Trinitatis Kirke or Trinity Church, in Copenhagen, Denmark, is part of the Trinitatis complex, which encompasses the Round Tower, a library of the University of Copenhagen and the Church. It has a long history, which celebrates a blending of the love of learning together with the love of God.

Trinitatis Kirke Copenhagen quire
Trinitatis Kirke Copenhagen quire (Photo credit: IbRas)

The history goes back to King Frederik II (1534-1588, ruler of Denmark and Norway, 1559-1588), and Tycho Brahe (1546-1601). Brahe was a Danish nobleman with a passion for astronomy. Frederik, who shared this interest, supported him – to the degree of building him two observatories on the island of Hven, between Denmark and Sweden. Here Brahe was able to develop his scientific method. The king often visited him, and shared in his discoveries.

Trinitatis Kirke Copenhagen chandelier
Trinitatis Kirke Copenhagen chandelier (Photo credit: IbRas)

Frederik’s son, Christian (1577-1648) – who ruled as King Christian IV over Denmark and Norway (1588-1648), was also interested in astronomy, but did not agree with Brahe and his methods. In fact they disagreed so vehemently that Brahe left Hven in 1597, and went to Prague. When he had died in 1601, his two observatories were demolished.

Trinitatis Kirke Copenhagen
Trinitatis Kirke Copenhagen (Photo credit: IbRas)

Now, with no observatory in Denmark, the king, known as an architect and builder, set about planning a new complex. His own astronomer advised him, and the site was chosen in the Latin Quarter of the city, near the University. His dream was to provide the students and scholars with a library, an observatory, and a church for the university – and that was what he set out to do.

Trinitatis Kirke Copenhagen interior
Trinitatis Kirke Copenhagen interior (Photo credit: IbRas)

In 1637 the foundation stone was laid for the complex. In 1642 the Round Tower was completed as an observatory, with a small planetarium. The actual Trinitatis Kirke was completed in 1656. Fire damage to the church in 1728 resulted in rebuilding in 1731. And then, to complete King Christian IV’s plan for the Trinitatis complex, the loft of the church was used as a library by the University of Copenhagen until 1861.

And so here indeed, for a prolonged period of time, there was an active functioning place for seeking knowledge of God and of His creations.

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