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Stora Gilja

Region: North Iceland
Coordinates: 65.55° N 20.35° W

About Stora Gilja

Road no. 1 passes the farm Stora-Gilja in the Hunavatn District in the North. The first Christian missionary, Thorvaldur Kodransson the widely travelled, was born there. He travelled about the country shortly before the year 1000 with a Saxon bishop, Frederick, and tried to spread Christianity.

The Icelanders were not ready to accept the new religion at the time and their effort was mostly in vain. The Saxon bishop, however, managed to convert Thorvaldur’s father, who was a true believer in the old, pagan gods. He mainly placed his trust in a ghost in a big stone near the farm and was not convinced in the power of Christ until the bishop delivered such a powerful sermon by the stone, that it split open and the ghost fled.

In 1981 it was celebrated, that a millennium had passed since the first attempt was made to Christianize the Icelanders and the crucifix and the monument were unveiled near the big stone, formerly occupied by this pagan ghost.

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