Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The First Catholic Church in North America

The fertile region of South Greenland is home to the well-preserved ruins of one of the first Catholic churches on the North American continent - Hvalsey Church.

Long before Columbus ever had the idea of sailing west to try to find a shorter route to India, the Norse settlers from Scandinavia had established themselves in Greenland. The fertile South Greenlandic fjords had attracted Norse settlers from Iceland and many estates and farms had been established in the new country.

Hvalsey Church - more than a thousand years old
Catholicism was spreading its influence throughout Europe and also reached the outer frontier in Greenland, where it established itself in the country in 1000 AD and the first churches were soon erected. Hvalsey Church was probably built in the 14th century, but is the best preserved of the churches in Greenland from that period.

Edit: No doubt, the first Mass was said in Newfoundland long before the 15th Century.


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