English pages

The Church of Selfoss was built in the years 1952 to 1956 and consecrated on Palm Sunday, 25 March 1956. It was designed by Bjarni Palsson (d. 1987), the headmaster of the Technical College in Selfoss. Between 1978-1984 the building was expanded in the form of a tower and porch and still later with the addition of a congregational hall with a kitchen and facilities which now serve the purpose of a convention center.

Even though it is still quite young the Church of Selfoss holds a somewhat special place in the history of icelandic churches of this century. The first rector of the church, rev. Sigurdur Palsson (d. 1987) had a keen liturgical interest and promoted the renaissance of the old plainsong and classical liturgy which in Iceland is always associated with the Missal Graduale published by Gudbrandur Thorlaksson bishop in Holar in 1594. This first Missal of the icelandic church after the reformation is usually nicknamed Grallari (jester) and contains the texts of the Mass set to Gregorian chant (so named after pope Gregory the Great, d. 604).

The chants in The Graduale are adapted to the icelandic language and the teaching of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The protestants emphasised the use of the vernacular in the liturgy of the church so that the gospel of Christ would also reach those who had no knowledge of latin which was the language of the roman-catholic liturgy up until this century. The worship of the congregation at Selfoss has always been in the spirit of the old icelandic Graduale Missal and some like to think that even the interior of the church points to this.

The village around Selfoss Church is very young and has emerged in only a few decades. The community is still growing, it grows with the church and vice versa.