President of Iceland to Meet the Pope Skip to content

President of Iceland to Meet the Pope

By Iceland Review

President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson will meet Pope Benedict XVI at a private meeting in Rome next week. He will present the pope with a gift, a statue of Gudrídur Thorbjarnardóttir, Fréttabladid reports.


The statue by Laugarbrekka. Photo by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.

The original statue was made by sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson. Copies of it stand in three locations in Iceland, including by Laugarbrekka on Snaefellsnes peninsula in west Iceland, the farm where Thorbjarnardóttir grew up.

Thorbjarnardóttir, who was born around 980 AD, is believed to have been the world’s most widely traveled woman of her time. She traveled from Iceland to Greenland and from there accompanied Leifur “the lucky” Eiríksson to Vinland, today’s Newfoundland.

She returned to Greenland and eventually moved back to Iceland where she converted to Christianity. After her son married she went on a pilgrimage to Rome where she met the pope and told him about her travels. Upon her return to Iceland she became a nun.

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