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"Skaftßreldar volcanic eruption in 1783." Kirkjubæjarklaustur Things to Do Tip by Regina1965

Kirkjubæjarklaustur Things to Do: 11 reviews and 35 photos

  The site of the church.
by Regina1965
  • The site of the church. - Iceland
      The site of the church.
    by Regina1965
  • The chapel in memory of Reverend Jón. - Iceland
      The chapel in memory of Reverend Jón.
    by Regina1965
  • Here is where the church stood. - Iceland
      Here is where the church stood.
    by Regina1965
  • Here the "eldmessa" Fire Mass took place 1783. - Iceland
      Here the "eldmessa" Fire Mass took place 1783.
    by Regina1965
  • The chapel. - Iceland
      The chapel.
    by Regina1965

On the 8th of June 1783 took place in Iceland the largest volcanic eruption for millenniums on this earth - called Skaftáreldar. The volcanic ash went as far as to China, Africa and America and this summer is referred to as the blue summer in Europe due to the volcanic ash.

On the 20th of July on a Whitsunday the lava flow was only 2 km away from the church in Kirkjubæjarklaustur. People went to church fearing that this would be the last time they would see their church as the lava headed straight for their church. On their way to church it was so hot outside and foggy due to the volcanic ash that people couldn't see the church until they stood right in front of it.

Inside the church Reverend Jón Steingrímsson, called Pastor of the Fire, held mass. There was dreadful thunder and lightnings outside. Jón and the congregation prayed to God for help with blood and tears. Their prayers were answered - the lava flow stopped by Systrastapi (see my tip)!! Isn't this amazing? There is another church where this has happened, Reykjahlíðarkirkja church in Mývatn (see my tip). The mass is referred to as Eldmessan or The Mass of Fire.

The lava flow covered 580 square kilometres in this area and the origin of it was west of Vatnajökull glacier - a 25.000 km long eruptive fissure opened - Lakagígar.

Finally the volcanic eruption ended on February 7th 1784. Hard times followed, with ice-cold winters and what we in Iceland call Móðuharðindin or "The Calamity of the Mist" - which went as far as Siberia. In Scotland there was crop failure do to the mist.

In Iceland 70% of the stock died because of the mist and 10.000 people died (20% of the nation) of famine and outbreak of diseases.

In Kirkjubæjarklaustur a chapel was raised in memory of Rev. Jón by the spot close to where the old church used to stand. See my photos. I also refer to my tip on Systrastapi so you can see where the flow of lava stopped.

Address: Kirkjubæjarklaustur, South-Iceland

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Mar 20, 2014
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Comments (2)

  • gwendar's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Great review

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    how big was that eruption that was stopping plane traffic throughout Europe a few years ago, how big was that in comparison?

    • Regina1965's Profile Photo
      Nov 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Hi Val. This eruption and lava flow was on a much bigger and different scale than Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption. You can compare those two on Wikipedia: Skaftáreldar: <a href="" rel="nofollow" class="ealink" target="_blank"></a> and Eyjafjallajökull: <a href="" rel="nofollow" class="ealink" target="_blank"></a>

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