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Bishop refuses violent church art

Bishop Odd Bondevik does not want a stain-glass picture in the Spejlkavik church picturing Abraham who is about to sacrifice his son Isaac.

The stain-glass picture is one of 96 pictures artist Håkon Bleken has made for the church in Ålesund.

The picture is of the biblical motive where Abraham is about to sacrifice his own son after God ordered him to do so. The draft pictures Isaac laying curled up on the ground while Abraham’s hand, holding a long knife, is held back by the hand of an angel.

Bishop Bondevik has asked that the picture is omitted as it is difficult to explain it to children, according to the paper Vårt Land.

«This is a story which is hard both pedagogically and theologically,» the Bishop writes in his explanation. «As a church, we have to take into consideration that our times face challenges that was not as current a couple of generations ago; stories in the media about violence in the family and men who end the lives of close relatives.»

Artist Håkon Bleken said he is not thrilled by the bishop’s decision, but he does not wish to argue.

«I do not intend make much of an effort to get the picture included, but I still hope this can be sorted out,» Bleken said.

For the people who do not remember the story, it ends well. God wanted to test Abraham by demanding that he sacrificed his own son Isaac, but when God sees that Abraham is willing to make the scarifies, he sends an angel who holds back Abraham’s hand. In stead, Abraham scarifies a sheep.

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