Round churches on Bornholm Island, Denmark - Templar or not?

Located 40 kilometers southeast of the southern tip of Sweden but territorially part of Denmark, the island of Bornholm is one of the oldest visible rocks in the world. The island has been settled since at least 3600 BC. From medieval times , when numerous dolmens and Neolithic mounds began to be constructed. From medieval time churches remain, which are linked to the Knights Templar. Is there hard evidence for a Templar origin?

In medieval times, the island was known as Burgunderland or Burgunderholm, from which the present name derives (holm is an old Danish word for island). During the transition to Christianity between 1050 and 1150 AD, around 40 runic stones were erected around the island and today most of these are found in the vicinity of churches and old bridges, where they have often been reused as building materials.

Clearly the most famous of the ancient constructions of Bornholm Island are its medieval round churches. The current hypothesis among historians is that these structures were not intended solely for religious practices but that they also had a defensive function. Given their assumed construction period in the 12th century, this makes seems to make sense as the Baltic region was then subjected to near continuous raids by Slavonic pirates from the island of Rugen, off the German coast. (...) (However), if places of refuge were needed during times of attack, it would have been far more logical for the population to have gathered within the fortresses of Gamleborg and Lilleborg, which were vastly more secure and defensible during the time of the supposed pirate raids.

Writing in their book The Templars' Secret Island: The Knights, The Priest And The Treasure, Erling Haagensen and Henry Lincoln present evidence linking the four round churches of Bornholm with the Templars. Haagensen and Lincoln have done pioneering work in the analysis of Bornholm's sacred geography but the authors believe that deeper and more esoteric secrets remain to be discovered. 

In The Real History Behind the Templars Sharan Newman analyses and criticizes many claims from this book. The author concluds that there is no sign at all of the Templars ever having had a commandery in Denmark. As to the round shape of the churches, one can’t assume that because a church is round, it was built by Templars. For a time after the First Crusade there was a vogue for them all over Europe. Great example to all was the round Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. There are many round churches that have nothing to do with Templars whatsoever. Finally it is concluded that there is no historical evidence that the Bornholm round churches are of Templar origin.

Read this interesting and most critical article on Templars in Denmark and on Bornholm Island as suggested in the book mentioned above.

This text quotes from the source and chapter 45 of The Real History Behind the Templars by Sharan Newman quoted here; source illustration Wikipedia

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Anonymous said...

Rotundas are great but there are also other very nice churches on Bornholm. Here you can find more churches on Bornholm