The cross of Ansgar at Birka

Monument with beautiful view

Ansgar was a missionary who lived during the 800s. He is known as the Nordic apostle since he was the one who brought Christianity here. At Birka you can find the famous Monument of Ansgar that is a memory of his arrival to Sweden.

Read about Sweden and Christianity

It was the Emperor Louis the Pious, who sent hit missionary Ansgar after receiving envoys from the Swedish king. The year was 829, and the King said that there were many in his country who wanted to turn to the Christian faith. It would prove to be a truth with modification.

Christianity’s first congregation

Ansgar and his assistant monk Witmar formed a first small congregation that year. It was not quite the success that the King predestined and you can, in hindsight, believe that the request was more a friendly gesture to the Christian Emperor.

Assembly dissolved

For unknown reasons the congregation ended up in conflict with the pagan population and dissolved. Ansgar was, therefore, to return to the island in the early 850’s to restore the Christian congregation. However, his mission to Christianize people were a failure, they continued to worship the ancient gods, and Ansgar had to leave Birka once again.

Here are the monument – a memory to visit

At the top of Borgberget, inside the ancient castle on Birka, you find the Monument of Ansgar, or the Ansgar Cross as it is also called. This famous landmark was raised in 1834, a thousand years after Ansgar arrived to Birka.

Find the way to the monument of Ansgar

The Monument of Ansgar stands on a hill northeast of the harbor. Follow the road until you have passed the museum. Where the road forks, take left and follow the signs to the monument.