- YEAR OF CONSTRUCTION: 1795
- COUNTY: Sogn og Fjordane
- MUNICIPALITY: Jølster
- DIOCESE: Bjørgvin
- JOINT PARISH COUNCIL: Jølster kyrkjelege fellesråd
- NUMBER OF SEATS: 168
- BUILDING CATEGORY: Soknekirke
Architect: Gunder Gregoriussen Støfringshaug.
This was the Baroque period in Norway, also known as the century of beauty. The 18th century was marked firstly by Pietism and later by the Age of Enlightenment. These movements influenced church buildings in various ways.
Pietism emphasised the personal conversion that was brought about by preaching, while the Age of Enlightenment was marked by rationalist ideas about learning for all and educating the "common people". In both cases, it was important for the word to be heard, and the pulpit was given a prominent position.
People started living longer in the 18th century and the population increased considerably. More than 300 new churches were built during the century, mostly as replacements for stave churches that were in poor condition or simply too small. Around 1725, the number of churches built before and after the Reformation was about the same. During the 1720s, the king sold off many churches to finance his wars, which meant that many churches that had originally been built by the local community fell into private hands.
The mining industry financed many splendid Baroque churches, such as Røros Church (1740) and Kongsberg Church (1761). In some places, these provided a model for the smaller, local churches. Confirmation and compulsory church attendance were introduced, necessitating space for as many as possible for services. The interiors were often opulent and marked by the reformed ideals of the time, with the pulpit directly above the altar so that as many as possible could see the priest and hear his message. These churches reflected a hierarchical and rigid society in which everyone knew his place, as determined by social rank, distinction or financial power.
Many of the larger urban churches were designed by foreign architects according to foreign ideals. The same applied to woodcarvers and painters. These impulses were soon picked up and further interpreted by local artists. This can certainly be seen in the popular acanthus, which was adopted in the form of folk art called rose painting.
More than half of the 130 churches that remain from the 18th century are cruciform timber churches.