Liljestenarnas symbolik – deras kristna kod knäckt?

maj 20, 2011 § Lämna en kommentar

Liljestenar, en sorts altarsten eller liknande, har ju hittats inmurade, eller återanvända som material i kyrkans husgrund,  i gamla, tidiga, ombyggda kyrkor, speciellt kring Kinnekulle. Det verkar peka på en tidigare version på kristendom som katolicism verkar ha, rent bokstavligt, byggt bort när den erövrade Sverige. Att Ansgar var Nordens apostel är nog bara propaganda. (Jag är trött på propaganda). :-S

Det verkar som att de gotiska stammarna blev arianiska kristna som i sin tur missionerade för de germanska stammarna som torde också blivit arianer. Därmed är det inte långt att tro att liljestenarna hade arianskt symbolik.

Så i samband med min efterforskning på arianismen i Europa, sökte jag på ”arianism liljestenar” på ren chansning. Jag fick en träff nedan från Gothic-List-diskussionsgruppen, där Ingemar Nordgren redogör en sammanfattning på en föreläsning han hade på ett liljestenssymposium från år 2000. Han redogör för en hypotes om vad dessa liljestenar symboliserar.

Om du inte orkar läsa genom det hela nedan, så är hans tes ungefär följande: Liljestenen visar en sorts ”livets träd” med hjärtan som växer ur varandra, och trädet växer upp från en symbolisk trappa som bas; dessa med följande symboliska betydelser: ”Livets träd”-symboliken kommer från samma ”livets träd”-symbolik som fanns i Mesopotamien.[1]  Hjärtat kan kopplas till jungfru Maria, och hjärtana som växer ur varandra symboliserar i förlängningen en orientalisk treenighet bestående av Far, Mor, och Son,[2] (eller alternativt Anna (Marias mor), Maria, och Jesus?) Det är lite otydligt vad han exakt tror på på denna punkt. Bastrappan symboliserar det gudomliga, enligt symboliken kopplat till ”livets träd” från det området. För att sammanfatta: Från det Gudomliga (Fadern) växer det gudomliga livet fram på jorden (genom Anna), sedan genom Maria, och sedan genom Jesus. Detta synsätt rimmar väl med den arianiska kristendomen, som inte ser en himmelsk Jesus som var Gud från evigheten, utan hellre förstår att Jesus blev Gudomlig på jorden.

Liljestenen på plats igen (cc-by) av Thomas Shen

Liljestenen på plats igen (cc-by) av Thomas Shen

Liljestenen talar sitt språk (cc-by) av Thomas Shen

Liljestenen talar sitt språk (cc-by) av Thomas Shen

Bildarna är mina från ett besök på Kinnekulle. <Vilken kyrka?> Liljestenen har de rest upp igen innanför ingången till kyrkan, väl synligt. Känns befriande att man erkänner evangeliet såsom den först kom till oss här i Sverige, även om bildspråket (och teologin) inte skulle stämma med vad vi är vana vid.

Vid ett besök i en nordtysk katedral såg jag stora målade livets träd(?) målade utmed ”pelarväggen” ganska långt fram i kyrksalen. Jag hoppas kunna lägga upp den bilden också.

Och nu citatet från Gothic-List-diskussionsgruppen:

— In, Ingemar Nordgren <ingemar@n…>



Before I continue please read the article below concerning the history of Arianism that is a summary of a lecture I gave at a symposion on Tree of Life Slabs in Sweden and Byzantium in year 2000. After that it is more easy to follow my reasoning.

Article from Liljestenar (Tree of Life Slabs):

The Tree of Life slabs are claimed to be relatively late medieval – 12th to 13th cc. – and they are classified as Romanesque grave-stones influenced from England. This is indeed quite dubious both concerning the supposed function and as well the proposed origin of influences and the dating. To clarify these questions it is nessecary at first to examine the religious background of the motive having been interpreted in different ways in different cultures and times. You then have to settle both the specific probable geographical area of origin and the interpretation valid for that area and time, and so compare the result with the local conditions. Generally the iconography of these slabs is founded on pre-Christian influences from Mesopotamia with details as stair-zikkurates, Trees of Life and similar patterns. What is vital now is to decide when these motives enter a Christian context, wich calls for an excurse in history of religion.[3]

215 AD in Rome Sabellius declared as his opinion that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost were only different manifestations of God. He was part of the modalistic school. Immideately he was classified as heretic. Hundred years later the presbyterian Arius in Alexandria launched what later was called Arianism. The modern definition of this faith says shortly that the Son, the pre-existent Christ, is not of the same divine character as the Father but the first created entity. This is however a rude simplification of the complete story. Arius himself claimed the Son had both a human and a divine nature. He was born human and raised to divinity through a righteous life, like a boddisathva or deva being given a divine status. This implies that even other humans could have the chance being devinated in this way. Regarding the above mentioned Sabellianism you could even interpret Arius saying Jesus was a human but the reincarnated Christ was an incarnation of God, but in the visual shape of Jesus. In this way both Sabellius and Arius succeed to give a picture of a monoteistic God in opposition to the later in Nicea created trinity God, which was understood as three different Gods by the Arians.

A great majority of the Eastern bishops sympatized with Arius and the leading were the two Eusebius’ in Caesarea and Nicomedia-the Eastern residential city of the emperor. They had however a formidable opposer in Alexander, pontiff of Alexandria and later this position was taken by his deacon Athanasius, one of the most ruthless clergymen ever known in history and fully comparable with e.g. Al Capone using the same criminal methods to control the Alexandrian economy and the church. He was several times abolished by the joint bishops, both Nicaenan and Arian, because of his methods. Nota bene that all bishops used rough methods but this was too much to take even for them. Athanasius and his, mostly Western, followers claimed that the Father and the Son were of the same nature, and hence they were regarded as polyteistic from Arian wiew. The traditional Eastern wiew includes a God who is an abstract entity and a single God. This goes as well for the Mosaic religion and it also explains the later volontary Egyptian conversion into Islam.

In 325 the famous meeting in Nicea was held. Emperor Constantine had engaged the old bishop Hosius of Spain who sided with Athanasius and the Westerners but because of the strong opposition there was a compromise. The Arian bishops agreed that Father and Son were of the same nature but interpreted it as being of a similar nature, not same. The Father was in command of the Son and the Son was created. This resulted in almost total victory for the Arians for a considerable time. In spite of the compromise they fundamentally claimed there was but one real God. Arianism dominates until the death of emperor Valens and the Vesigoths accept the Arian faith in his time, and the Goths also send missionaries converting all the other Germanic continental tribes of major importance to Arianism except the Franks.

The famous find in Pietroassa contained also a collar with Byzantine reliefs picturing the motiv of the heart, which is found on so many of the Tree of Life slabs in Västergötland. This is tied to Mary. This opens for the possibility Arian Christians lived in Scandinavia already around 500 AD because, according to my research of the Goths, it seems that the continental Goths all the time kept the contacts with their kin in the North, and this is also supported by archaeological indications in Scandinavia but of course not proven ( I. Nordgren 2000).

Theodosius then calls a meeting in Constantinople in 381 forcing the assembly to accept a dictate saying that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are of the same essence and that the Son existed together with the Father before all ages. To get the Arian bishops to sign that decision an amendment was issued, saying that the Father worked through the Son and the Spirit and so stressing the unicum of the Father. As soon as the Western delegates had returned home they rejected this amendment. Soon after this Teodosius issued an edict banning Arianism by law, and so it ceased in the empire but flourished in the Germanic states. The united church was still in reality divided and now the divison focused on the amendment which finally resulted in the split 1054 because of the Filioque-question.

Within the Eastern half of the pro-forma united church the old Arian fight continued but now disguised as the Theotokos-debate. There were two centrals, Antioc arguing the Arian wiew and Alexandria the Nicaenan. The question was wether God could be born by a human woman. The Antiocenes meant Jesus was both human and divine and hence could be borne by a woman, but this was rejected by the Alexandrians claiming Jesus Christ was wholly divine. In the long run this gives Mary a similar position of type Boddisathva as Arius had given Jesus and she is, as the first ever, made a saint. Her saintly background is of course also closely connected with Isis and Harpokrates in the Late Antique cult of Serapion and further back to the different Mother-goddesses. Here we touch also a connection to the Tree of Life. The council of Efesos in 431 aknowledged the position of Mary as Theotokos. Jean Damasce`ne writes in the 7th c. that Mary was the tabernacle in which logos was incarnated into Jesus, finally making him Christ. Also in James’s protevangelium 4:1 and in Photius is stressed, that Marys mother, Anna, had a vision that her daughter should be the instrument delivering human blood to Christ, to be let out for the salvation of the world. There is accordingly no doubt that Jesus is described as born with human blood. After death Theotokos raised to heaven, now residing with the Father and the Son. This is illustrated in the grave-chapel of Chora church, where Mary wears the imperial purple mantle.

Here we are, accordingly, the old Orientalic trinity with father, mother and son. Adding also the Gnostics we have a unification of male and female-spirit and matter- both leading to the single allmighty God, the result of both the forces like O and H becoming OH2. The female power is connected to the Earth and the growing things and the male is the spiritual force. Hence, also in Christian context Mary is connected with plants and fertility. Very early the Tree of Life is connected with her and so is the heart-palmette. The Tree of Life, in combination with the hearts, indicates indeed Mary and her son, the Tree, growing out of the soil but on a divine foundation of a zikkurate, and thereby stressing that Jesus is born human, by a human mother, and is indeed the Son, not the Father. Arianism has succeded to survive even in Västergötland year 2000 AD.

There is no doubt whatsoever of the Byzantine origin of the motive and with all probability this style was originally connected with the iconoclasm. The way influences came could be several. We have the värings from the imperial guard as seen even on the Eastern crosses on rune-stones and cists both in East- and West- Sweden, the possible marriage between Syritha/Sigrid Storråda and Eric the victorious via Bohemia, as proposed by Lindblom, MacMathan et al., the clunyasensis (Mac Mathan) or the intermarriage liasons of Olof Skötkonung and his daughter with the Kievan royal family. His daughter became an orthodox saint. The fabrication was evidently centralized and controlled which could point to nobles or rather the king, residing in exactly the area around Kinnekulle where the real concentration of slabs occur.

After 1054 the Catholic church would not have admitted such stones unless Hyenstrand is correct assuming a crusader as the initiator. Before 1054 however even Adalberth had plans to establish himself as Patriarch over the North. Hamburg-Bremen was affiliated with the emperor in the investiture fight and also the Ottonian empire, specially Otto III, can have influenced as his church in Gernrode from 963 might have influenced the one in Husaby.

England, however, is the least probable origin as it seems. Their function is most likely as votive-stones and even standing altar-stones, presumably originally placed inside or along the wall of the early wooden churches and maybe also continously used for a while, when early stone churches started to be constructed. It could be added that the only locations I have found relatively similar stones except Byzantion and Västergötland is in Spain close to Compostela de Santiago – in the Asturian area – and some single in Braga and Carcassonne. .

Literature: (above general standardworks of history of religion)

Karahan, Anne Den Heliga modern och Gudsriket, Dragomanen 3, s.48-59, Stockholm, Konstantinopel 1999 (The Holy Mother and the Divine Realm)

Nordgren, Ingemar Gravmonumenten vid Husaby, Götiska Minnen 106, Lidköping 1990 (The grave monuments at Husaby)

Nordgren, Ingemar Gotlands kelto-romerska arv, Götiska Minnen 113, Lidköping 1992 (The Celto-Roman Inheritance of Gotland)

Nordgren, Ingemar Goterkällan-Om Goterna i Norden och på Kontinenten, Göteborg 2000 (The Well Spring of the Goths)

Photius/CyrilMango The Homilies of Photius Patriarch of Constantinople, Cambridge, Mass. 1958

Rubenstein, Richard E. When Jesus became god. The epic flight over Christ’s Divinity in the last days of Rome, New York, San Diego 1999

S. Jean Damasce`ne/P. Voulet Homélies sur la nativité et la dormition, Paris 1961

_ _ _


  • [1] Forskare försöker fortfarande komma på vad ”livets träd” egentligen symboliserade i Mesopotamien, men kanske hade det med hur Gud uppenbarar sig eller emanerar sitt väsen. Kabbala utvecklar detta i sitt ”livets träd”.
  • [2] Det populära påståendet att Koranen inte har koll när den kritiserar Gud-Maria-Jesus-treenigheten är inte riktigt rättvis eftersom det fanns faktiskt kristna som hade en Far-Mor-Son-treenighet i det orientaliska områden, där ”Mor” kunde bl.a. betyda Maria.
  • [3] Texten som jag hittade hade tappat all ev. styckeformatering. Jag tog mig friheten att själv dela in föredraget i stycken.

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Du läser för närvarande Liljestenarnas symbolik – deras kristna kod knäckt?Pataphysics of Simulacra.