Absalon, Bishop and Warrior
|At the end of the 12th century the church and the king started a close collaboration. Valdemar the Great and and Bishop Absalon carried out a crusade against the heathen Wends in North Germany.
King Valdemar the Great and Absalon
King Valdemar the Great appointed his childhood friend Absalon (who belonged to the Hvide family) bishop in Roskilde in 1158. He did this although Absalon still was not thirty years old, which was necessary to become a bishop. With this a cooperation was established and the good relationship betwen the church and the royal power was revived.
The Expedition to the Wendish Coast
In 1159 Valdemar and Absalon went on an expedition to the Wendish coast. Wendish raids had for a long time ravaged the Danish coast. The Danish attack on the Wendish was in reality also a raid and not a crusade, which was what they said.
The Crusade Against Rügen
The Crusade Against Rügen
Church Festival in Ringsted
The alliance between Absalon and the king was manifested at a big church festival in Ringsted in 1170, in connection with the burial of king Valdemar´s father in the newly built royal grave church. In thsi connection the king tried to strengthen the position of the royal family by appointing his son Knud as his successor, in spite of the fact that he had not been approved by the three parliaments in Jutland, Zealand and Scania.
St. Bendt´s Church
Eskild in Monastery
In this church festival in Ringsted archbishop Eskild participated too. He resigned in 1177 and the archbishop seat was taken over by Absalon, who continued as archbishop in Roskilde. Eskild moved to the Monastery of Claiveaux in France.
Building New Churches
Absalon devoted himself to strengthen the position of the church in Denmark by building new churches and developing the organisation. He was actively involved in the building of Tikøb Church in North Zealand and Gumløse Church in northeastern Scania. Gumløse Church was inaugurated in 1197 and Absalon was present with the bishops from Växsjö and Trondheim. In a letter Absalon is mentioned by name with a local magnate. Even at Norra Åsums´s church in nort eastern Scania Absalon is mentioned with the words:
”Christ, Mary´s son, help those, who built this church, archbishop Absalon and Esbjørn Mule”.
North Åsum´s Church
The Danish Big Power
Revolt in Scania
In 1180 Absalon tried to introduce bishop´s tithe and celibacy for the priests. In connecction with this a revolt broke out in Scania.
(This revolt is described in Saxo´s history of Denmark chapter 15 and 16, but also in the obituary of Lund´s Cathedral from the 13th century.
In Liber Daticus that, which is comprehensively described by Saxo, is reproduced. The reasons for the revolt are comprehensively depicted in the older Zealand chronicle from approximately 1300.
Central Power or Not
The protests originated, according to this source, not only in the introduction of bishop´s tithe, but also because the Scanian population felt humiliated by the increasing authority of the church and Absalon´s favouring of his Zealand relatives.
The Scanians showed their discontent by refusing to pay tribute to the new king Knud IV (Valdemar´s son), who had been appointed and crowned with the support of the church. Archbishop Absalon answered with military power to force the Scanians to acknowledge the new king.
It was obvious that a dividing line had come into existence between the central power and the population.