Sorø Kirke

Church in Sorø

Interring several Danish royals, this church within the Sorø Akademi grounds has a simple, harmonious interior brightened by medieval frescoes and lightened by a 13th-century Gothic ceiling. It was originally built as part of the 12th-century monastery Sorø Kloster, in part to act as the mausoleum of the Hvide clan, the family of Bishop Absalon who, as one of Denmark’s most significant medieval statesmen, had established the Cistercian order here in 1161. Absalon himself is buried behind the main altar.

In a display cabinet to the right of the altar are the ivory crosier, gold-and-sapphire ring and silver chalice with which Absalon was interred: they were extracted from his tomb in the 19th century.

Keeping Absalon company are kings Valdemar IV, Christopher II and Oluf III. Queen Margrethe I, the architect of the 1397 Kalmar Union, was buried here as well, but her remains were later transferred to Roskilde Domkirke. At the end of the left aisle is the marble sarcophagus of the great comic poet and playwright Ludvig Holberg, without whose money the Sorø Akademi might never have been revived.

The church’s grand interior includes a 6m-high 16th-century crucifix by Odense sculptor Claus Berg, carved from a single piece of wood, and a beautifully detailed baroque altar and pulpit. The 16th-century organ is central to the Sorø International Music Festival.