Every year around 30,000 tourists visit Honningvåg Kirke.
Unlike the spectacular cathedrals in Rome, it is a modest timber church that seats 220 people. But within it’s walls awaits a remarkable story of endurance, and determination and hope.
Built in 1885, Honningsvåg Kirke is the oldest building on the island of Magerøya. No other buildings survived the end of World War II. The German troops left a path of destruction as they evacuated Norway, burning everything in sight.
No one knows exactly why the church was left unharmed. But, miraculously, the church was spared, while the rest of the town became a smoldering mass of embers and debris.
When the reconstruction of Finnmark (northern region of Norway) began, the government wanted to move the location of Honningsvåg to the mainland. But determined residents fought to rebuild their town in it’s original location.
Around a 100 people returned to Honningsvåg. They set up camp in the church. A bakery was established there. The pews doubled as beds. And with a church for their home, this heroic group began the hard work of building barracks for more people to return and help rise up a new Honningsvåg.
For me, the church stands as a symbol of unity, community, hope and determination.
If you have the opportunity to travel to Nordkapp, I recommend taking time to visit Honningsvåg Kirke. Come and hear the spectacular story this little timber church has to tell.