KATÓLSKA KIRKJAN, Tórshavn, Føroyar  (Faroe Islands)

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75 years in Faroes

Short History








Kirkjubøur: spiritual and cultural centre of the Faroe Islands

from time of the first settlers to the Reformation.

Buildings included several churches, a bishop´s residence and seminary.




1849 – Religious Emancipation

1857 – In October/November, Pastor Georg Bauer and Pastor Luigi Mussa came to the Faroe Islands on the ship “Fortuna”, captained by Jens Christian Andreasson

1859 – Pastor Bauer bought a house from Christian Holm at Rættará, Tórshavn.

The church was complete in June and 70 people participated at the service.

A few days later a Confirmation took place in the church.

1869 – Pastor Bauer left the Faroes and other Catholic priests served the small Catholic community on the islands.

1872 – The mission was closed when the last priest left the island.

1894 – The last priest visited the remaining Catholic at Hvítanes where Mass was celebrated in a small hut which served as a chapel. She died shortly afterwards.

1929 – Cardinal Van Rossum visited the Faroe Islands while en route to Iceland to consecrate the Catholic Cathedral in Reykjavik. Moved by the plight of the Faroese people at that time and saddened by the absence of the Catholic Church on the islands, he spoke to two young, newly ordained priests when he returned to Rome: Pastor E. G. Boekenoogen (Holland) and Pastor Thomas King (Scotland). He also spoke to the Superior General of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (Franciskanasystrarnar), an international institute whose mission is to live in international community in the spirit of Mary and of St. Francis of Assisi, and to go wherever the Church is least present, preferably to the poorest.

1931 – In April, two Franciscan Missionaries of Mary came to Tórshavn on the ship, “Dr.Alexandrina”. One of them was Sr. Ansgaria, a Danish sister who had been called back from her work in China to help establish the community on the islands.The two priests arrived a month later. Five more FMM arrived afterwards. They rented accommodation from the Klett family in Bringsnagøta, Tórshavn and established a school and kindergarten in response to the needs of the people.

1932 – The FMM and the Diocese of Copenhagen (Denmark, Faroes and Greenland) bought a stretch of land in the locality of the present town park, Tórshavn, with the aim of constructing a presbytery, a church, a school, kindergarten and creche.

1933 – The new Catholic church in Varðagøta was consecrated on 19 November, and the school was blessed a few weeks later, on 8 December. About 60 people attended the service. Construction work continued and, in time, the creche and kindergarten were also completed. For a short while in the early sixties, there were 23 sisters in the Faroes.


1980 - The FMM moved from the school to the new convent, “Kerit”, in Varðagøta.

1985 – In April, the school was handed over to the Town Council.

1987 – “Mariukirkjan”, the new Catholic Church in Mariugøta was consecrated.

2004 – There are 120 Catholics in the Faroe Islands of 23 different nationalities. There are six FMM from four countries: Belgium, Ireland, Malta and Korea.




Architect: Árni Winther.

Artists: Ole Jacob Nielsen, Trondur Patursson, Svend Havsteen Mikkelsen

and Guðrið Poulsen.







View of the Catholic church (Mariukirkjan) from the town park, Torshavn.

The church was built and blessed in August, 1987.



And I tell you: You are Peter (meaning rock)

and on this rock I will build my church.

And the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,

and whatsoever you bind on earth

will be bound in heaven;

whatsoever you loose on earth will be

loosed in heaven”


(Matthew 16: 18 – 20)