Cathedral Closed to Public on National Day? Skip to content

Cathedral Closed to Public on National Day?

The Reykjavík Police Department has proposed that the Cathredral of Reykjavík be closed to the public on National Day, June 17, in order to avoid protests and public disturbances in Austurvöllur Square in front of Althingi, Iceland’s parliament. A celebration mass is traditionally held at the Cathedral on this day.

Cathredral of Reykjavík. Photo Páll Kjartansson/Icelandreview

Hjálmar Jónsson, Cathedral minister, objects to this proposal. “The mass is in its nature a public affair. It is out of the question that this mass will only be held for a few select people,” he said to Morgunbladid.

Jónsson is not concerned about protests. “It would be totally new in our history if people would disturb the holiness and festive spirit which the mass is conducted in. That has never happened in a church. Not even in the times of Sturlungar (times of barbaric unrest and near civil war starting in the 12th century) were people afraid for their lives and limbs in churches. I don’t believe anything of the sort will happen,” said Jónsson.

“Our role is to secure the safety of people and see to it that the mass is not disturbed. Therefore we propose measures be taken inside the church where people gather. This needs to be addressed,” said Stefán Eiríksson, chief commissioner of police in Reykjavík.

A decision has not been made yet regarding this matter.

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