The Church of Grímsey

Photo: Friðþjófur Helgason
Photo: Friðþjófur Helgason

Miðgarðar is the site of the northernmost church in Iceland. It was consecrated by Bishop Jón Ögmundsson in the early 11th century and was dedicated to Ólafur the patron saint of the Nordic people. At that time two clergymen served the church, and mass was sung daily and twice on holy days.
These services have dwindled but 50 clergymen have been recorded as serving the church over the years.
The vicar of Dalvík Town on the mainland is now in charge of the church.

Miðgarðakirkja was built from driftwood in 1867 on a site near Miðgarðar farm but was moved, by its own length in 1932 due to fire hazard and, at the same time, a choir stall and portico with a steeple were added.
The church was extensively renovated in 1932 and reconsencrated in 1956.
The altar painting is by a local artist painted in 1878 and is a copy of a work by Leonardo da Vinci.

It was granted conservation status on 1st January 1990, in accordance with the provisions of legislation on ancient buildings.

The church was destroyed by fire late in the evening on the 21st of September 2021. No valuables could be saved from the church, which burned to ashes in only 20 minutes. Many valuable items got lost in the fire that cannot be compensated. The loss is enormous to the local community as the church has been a beautiful symbol of unification through generations for the people so far from the mainland. See more further below.

Below one can see a selection of photos of the old church and its interior.

If you would like to contribute with photos to this album to commemorate the memory of this beautiful church, photos can be sent to with the name of the photographer.


Help rebuild the Miðgarða Church in Grímsey

How to support

For those who would like to contribute to the church building fond can do so by money transfer to IBAN: IS76 0565 0425 0731 4602 6925 39, SWIFT: GLITISRE
(Collection Account Identification Number: 460269-2539, Account number: 565-04-250731, IBAN: IS76 0565 0425 0731 4602 6925 39, SWIFT: GLITISRE)

On the evening of September 21, 2021, Middle-earth Church in Grimey burned to the ground, along with all its church objects. The island's fire brigade soon had to retreat, but the church burst into flames in a very short time in a stiff northerly wind. Residents could therefore do nothing but to watch their parish church burn to the ground in a short time.

The islanders were immediately determined to build a new church. The old church was the oldest house of Grímsey and a symbol of unity. In the Church, many generations of islanders have had their most memmorable moments in both joy and sorrow. The fire was therefore a great shock to them all and seems to have touched the whole nation as well.

The construction of a new church is a major community project that Grímsey is now making every effort to achieve. Considerable funds have already been raised for the construction of the new church, and the islanders are very grateful to all those who have contributed to the project. The construction and infrastructure of the new church is estimated to cost around ISK 120 millions.

In the spring of 2022, it was clear that an additional 50 ISK millions would have to be raised to fully fund the construction of a church, so a collection was launched, and on the Icelandic collection site one can follow a map showing how the collection is going, but a new icon/picture appears at every million collected.

For further information, please contact: