Hallvard Vebjørnsson

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Saint Hallvard
Hallvard Vebjørnsson
Oslo komm.svg
Saint Hallvard is depicted in the seal of the city of Oslo, holding the millstone and arrows used to kill him, with the woman he defended at his feet
Bornc. 1020
Lier, Buskerud, Norway
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church Orthodox Church
Feast May 15
Patronage patron saint of Oslo

Hallvard Vebjørnsson (Hallvard Den Hellige) (c. 1020 – 1043), commonly referred to as Saint Hallvard (Sankt Hallvard), was the patron saint of Oslo. He is considered a martyr because of his defence of an innocent thrall woman. His religious feast day is 15 May.

Patron saint saint regarded as the tutelary spirit or heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person

A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism or Eastern Orthodoxy, is regarded as the heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family or person.

Oslo Place in Østlandet, Norway

Oslo is the capital and most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a county and a municipality. Founded in the year 1040 as Ánslo, and established as a kaupstad or trading place in 1048 by Harald Hardrada, the city was elevated to a bishopric in 1070 and a capital under Haakon V of Norway around 1300. Personal unions with Denmark from 1397 to 1523 and again from 1536 to 1814 reduced its influence. After being destroyed by a fire in 1624, during the reign of King Christian IV, a new city was built closer to Akershus Fortress and named Christiania in the king's honour. It was established as a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt) on 1 January 1838. The city functioned as a co-official capital during the 1814 to 1905 Union between Sweden and Norway. In 1877, the city's name was respelled Kristiania in accordance with an offical spelling reform – a change that was taken over by the municipal authorities only in 1897. In 1925 the city, after incorporating the village retaining its former name, was renamed Oslo.

Martyr person who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one

A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party. This refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of the martyr by the oppressor. Originally applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause.


The connection of St. Hallvard to the city of Oslo was evidenced by the fact that his image was recorded in the city's seal since the Middle Ages. The municipality's highest honor, the St. Hallvard Medal (St. Hallvard-medaljen), was named after him in 1950. [1]


Little is known of his life, and all traditional stories relate to his death near Drammen. Although the exact year of birth and place of his birth are unknown, he is commonly believed to have been born ca. 1020 According to tradition, his father was the farmer Vebjørn. His parents were wealthy farmers and owned the farm Husaby in Lier. His mother, Torny Gudbrandsdatter, was reportedly related to St. Olaf, the patron saint of Norway. It is said that she was the daughter of Gudbrand Kula from Oppland, who was also the father of Åsta Gudbrandsdatter, St. Olaf's mother. [2]

Drammen Municipality in Buskerud, Norway

Drammen is a city in Buskerud, Norway. The port and river city of Drammen is centrally located in the eastern and most populated part of Norway. Drammen is the capital of the county of Buskerud.

Lier, Norway Municipality in Buskerud, Norway

Lier is a municipality in Buskerud county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Lierbyen. The municipality of Lier was established on 1 January 1838. The area Åssiden was transferred from Lier to the neighboring municipality of Drammen on 1 July 1951.

Olaf II of Norway king of Norway

Olaf II Haraldsson, later known as St. Olaf, was King of Norway from 1015 to 1028. He was posthumously given the title Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae and canonised at Nidaros (Trondheim) by Bishop Grimkell, one year after his death in the Battle of Stiklestad on 29 July 1030. His remains were enshrined in Nidaros Cathedral, built over his burial site. His sainthood encouraged the widespread adoption of the Christian religion among the Vikings / Norsemen in Scandinavia.

Ruins of St. Hallvard's Cathedral in Oslo Hallvardskatedralen 2012-4.JPG
Ruins of St. Hallvard's Cathedral in Oslo
St Hallvard. Nidaros Cathedral Domkirka statuer 20.jpg
St Hallvard. Nidaros Cathedral


Hallvard defended a pregnant woman, most likely a thrall, who had been given sanctuary from three men accusing her of theft. Hallvard believed in her innocence and took her on his boat. Hallvard, together with the woman, were killed by arrows from the men. The woman was buried on the beach. Hallvard, however, was bound with a millstone around his neck, and the men attempted to drown his body in Drammensfjord but it refused to sink and as a result their crimes were discovered. A local village buried him in a Christian manner and people came to regard him as a martyr to their faith. [3]


A thrall was a slave or serf in Scandinavian lands during the Viking Age. The corresponding term in Old English was þēow. The status of slave contrasts with that of the freeman and the nobleman. The Middle Latin rendition of the term in early Germanic law is servus. The social system of serfdom was continued in medieval feudalism.

Millstone stones used in gristmills, for grinding wheat

Millstones or mill stones are stones used in gristmills, for grinding wheat or other grains.

Drammensfjord fjord in Norway

Drammensfjord is a fjord in Norway that connects to Ytre Oslofjord on the west side. It stretches to the north and northeast. The Drammenselva river discharges into the head of the fjord. The municipality and city of Drammen which is named after the fjord is also found there.


St. Hallvard's Cathedral (Hallvardskatedralen) in Oslo was dedicated to his name and his remains were relocated to the facility which was finished in 1130.

St. Hallvards Cathedral Cathedral ruin in Oslo, Norway

St. Hallvard's Cathedral (Hallvardskatedralen) was the former Oslo Cathedral. It fell into disrepair in the 17th century and is today in ruins. The site is located between Bispegata and St. Halvards gate in Oslo, Norway.

The Cathedral was built on the hill just north of the area that is now the Old Town market square in Oslo (intersection of Bispegata –Oslo gate). For almost 500 years this was the most important church in the city. Besides being the bishop's seat and religious center, the cathedral was the coronation church, the royal wedding church and the royal burial chapel. The facility was in use as a church until about 1655. It fell into disrepair in the 17th century and is today a ruin situated in Minneparken. [4] [5] [6] [7]

Old Town, Oslo neighborhood in the inner city of Oslo, Norway

The Old Town of Oslo is a neighborhood in the inner city of Oslo, Norway, belonging to the borough of Gamle Oslo and is the oldest urban areas within the current capital. This part of the capital of Norway was simply called Oslo until 1925 while the city as a whole was called Kristiania. Oslo's old town was established with the urban structure around year 1000 and was the capital of Norway's dominion in 1314. Old Town core area has several ruins of stone and brick lying above ground, and large amounts of protected culture underground. The core area also has a listed 1700s buildings. Towards Ekeberg slope and further up are some 17th and 18th-century wooden houses that are zoned for conservation under the Planning and Building Act, though there exist in the Old Town many four-storey brick houses, built at the end of the 1800s, and some heritage railway buildings from different eras.


Minneparken is a park in Oslo, Norway. The 13.7 acre park is adjacent to Oslo Square in the Old Town of Oslo, and contains the ruins of Oslo's first Cathedral: Hallvard's Cathedral, St. Olav's Monastery and Church of the Cross (Korskirken). Hallvard's Cathedral, built in the early 12th century, was a Romanesque basilica with central tower and transept. The church was in use until 1660, and the last remnants of the building was demolished around 1780. The Dominican St. Olav's Monastery was built in 1240, and was rebuilt into a bishop's residence in 1623. The current Bishop of Oslo's residence was built in 1884 in the eastern parts of the monastery ruins. The western parts were uncovered in the 1950s.

15th May is celebrated as St. Hallvard's Day. This is also known as Oslo Day.

St. Hallvard .jpg

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  1. Anne Stensvold. "Hallvard – norsk helgen". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  2. Vera Henriksen. "Hallvard Den Hellige, helgen". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  3. "St. Hallvard". lokalhistoriewiki.no. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  4. "Aerial view of the church ruins showing its original shape and size" . Retrieved 2012-06-16.
  5. "Bispegata (Oslo)". lokalhistoriewiki.no. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  6. "Oslo gate". lokalhistoriewiki.no. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  7. "Hallvardskatedralen". lokalhistoriewiki.no. Retrieved September 1, 2017.