The cathedral belongs to the Holar benefice in the
Skagafjord deanery. After the Episcopal seat at Holar was abolished
in 1798, it became a parsonage until
1861. The last Rev. at Holar built a house for his family in 1854.
This house still stands restored, and is in the care of the National Museum. In
1952 Holar became a parsonage again and a seat of an ordaining bishop
for the northern diocese.
In 1106, the country
was devided into two
dioceses and the owner of Holar decided to donate the
property "for God’s sake and the necessity of the holy
church", as he put it according to The Saga of Jon the Holy.
Holar remained an Episcopal seat for almost seven centuries,
1106-1798. Like the Episcopal seat for the southern see,
Holar was a very important centre of culture
and education and ecclesiastical- and political
power. During the presence of the bishops, it was an
educational centre, with some interruptions until 1802. The
present church at Holar was consecrated in 1763 without
being finished. The house was badly constructed and constant
repairs had to be carried out. In 1886, the tiled roof was
removed and a wooden one with corrugated iron was built.
The church has never had a steeple.
The 27 m high,
steeple, is a
memorial from 1950 to commemorate the last catholic bishop, Jon Arason,
and his two sons, who were executed in 1550, because they stood in the
way of the reformation in the northern see. In 1881 the municipal
authorities of the Skagafjord district bought Holar and in 1882 an
agricultural college was established, which nowadays concentrates on
fish rearing, horse breeding and training and equestrian sports.
North Iceland Saga Trail