Contact: Maria Löfgren
Skänninge became in the 1200's a spiritual center for the whole of Sweden and held the great Synod in 1248. The church began to have more influence in the country and it was time for a stronger bond to the Pope in Rome.
The pope's envoy, Cardinal Bishop William of Sabina, visited Skänninge where Birger Jarl, the Archbishop, bishops, priests and other nobles gathered. This meeting took important decisions concerning the Swedish clergy.
Priest could not marry. Existing connections would be dissolved and children of priests were no longer heirs after their fathers. Sweden's bishops would also obtain copies of the Catholic Church's current legal rules, issued by Gregory IX. The significant role played by Skänninge is likely due to the proximity to Bjälbo with its prominent Bjälbo dynasty and the city's two convents.
During the late 1200's many Germans immigrated to Sweden. The original Church in Skänninge, hallowed to all Saints, was not good enough for them. Therefore, a church was built with urban character, after German pattern, just a stone's throw from the old. Swedish-born locals gave the new church the name "Garpe Church." Garpe was during the Middle Ages, a common nickname for Germans.
Skänninge was however a significant market town with immigrants help. Olaus Magnus call Skänninge for "Götaland capital" in his work from the 1500's. An exaggeration, but it still gives an idea of the city's former importance.
The church belongs to the style of the North German early gothic.
The church owns a famous organ made in 1772 by Lars Wahlberg and Anders Wollander. The altarpiece is a copy of Heemskrercks famous painting in Linköping Cathedral.
The church holds two baptismal fonts - the older from around 1300 and the younger from 1951. There are also a large number of interesting epitaphs from 1600 - and 1700's and gravestones from the Middle Ages.
Skänningeparish 0142-834 30
Contact Mjölby /Skänninge Tourist Office for the guidance of the Church 0142-850 03
Handicapped: Yes on the Main Square
Handicap entrance: Yes