SammendragIn this article, we have examined the emergence of a public church organization in the diocese of Nidaros 1000–1250. The two levels in the earliest church system – the county churches of the king and bishops and the proprietary churches of the secular elite – differ from other dioceses, such as in Bergen, where we have found that three organizational levels – county churches, quarter churches and eight churches – were already in place early in the 1000s. We suggest that this is due to the relatively later Christianization of most of the diocese of Nidaros. In contrast to the other dioceses, only a time-limited maintenance obligation of the proprietary churches was imposed on the common people in Nidaros. On the other hand, they were obliged to construct and to a certain extent ensure the maintenance of the county churches. Our investigation has identified 23 probable county churches in the diocese.We point out that the counties were the first subdeaneries, and that from the thirteenth century onwards these were subdivided into decreasingly smaller subdeaneries with new main churches. Only in the far north was the old system of very large parishes maintained, in Trondenes and Tromsø, probably for financial reasons.
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