Iceland: After 1,000 Years, a New Temple Built to the Norse Gods

Source: Religion News Service, February 6, 2024

With the 2011 movie “Thor,” the Avengers film franchise made Thor, Loki, and Odin the equals of Iron Man and Black Panther, transforming these ancient Norse gods into mythic Marvel superheroes.

But followers of Ásatrú, or Norse paganism, still honor their gods, and in Iceland, where Ásatrú is the second-most-practiced religion after Christianity, a new temple to the Norse deities is rising now on Öskjuhlíð, a hill overlooking the center of the capital city of Reykjavik. Dedicated to the whole pantheon of Norse gods and nature spirits, it is the first pagan temple to be built in more than 1,000 years.

The opening of the temple was initially planned for 2016, but the 2008 financial crash, which hit Iceland hard, delayed construction, and progress was further inhibited by the COVID-19 pandemic. Magnús Jensson, the architect of the Hof Ásatrúarfélagsins (“the Temple of the Ásatrú Fellowship”) and a member of the pagan community, said that the plan now is to open the temple in stages over the next few years.

Read the full story. Religion News Service recently ran another interesting story about sacred items smuggled out of Nepal being returned to that mostly Hindu nation.

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