By Royal Command on March 6, 1843, Catholics received permission to establish a congregation in Christiania. The new dissenter law, which came into being in 1845, gave Catholics the opportunity of practicing their religion throughout Norway and a Catholic priest visited Norway for the first time since the Reformation.
Twelve years later Bishop Jacob Lorenz Studach from Stockholm sent the Norwegian born Catholic priest, Christopher Holfeldt-Houen, to Bergen to establish a parish and the first service was held at Christmas 1857 in an apartment in Kalmar-gjerdet. This apartment functioned as the chapel until 1867. In 1864 a plot of land was bought in the street which is now known as Christiesgate.
One year later the foundation stone for the new church was laid by Fr. Daniel Stub who belonged to Bergen. Previously he was in a monastery in Italy but became parish priest in Bergen in 1864. The Italian architect, Mella, is responsible for the plans of the church. Because of financial problems the building progressed step by step and there were many delays. The rectory, however, was completed in 1867 and a chapel was fitted out in its attic.
In 1876 the parochial school was started in the presbytery and on June 29th – on the feast day of the apostles Peter and Paul – the church was consecrated by Fr. Daniel Stub. He was parish priest for 16 years while Fr. Holfeldt-Houen was chaplain until 1881. Fr. Stub died in 1892 and was succeeded by Fr. Gruner.
In 1901 the St. Francis Xaviour congregation was established having their main house in Bergen. Sisters from France had worked in the parish from 1881 – 1891 and sisters from Luxembourg had worked there from 1891 – 1901. In 1896 the crypt under the church was excavated and fitted out as a meeting hall and the Catholic hospital (now known as Birgittahjemmet) was completed in 1899. This building was restored and in the summer of 1998 the presbytery moved from Herman Fossgate 9 to ´Birgittahjemmet´ in Nygårdsgaten 3. The new St. Paul´s parish- and School center was ready for St. Paul School’s 125th anniversary.
In 1951 the parish had 408 members. In 1976 at the time of the 100 years jubilee, the membership had grown to 1,112. At the close of 1998 the number had risen to 3 948.
The parish of St. Paul covers all of Bergen and most of Hordaland including the counties of Austevoll, Fusa, Jondal and Ullensvang: also the whole of Sogn and Fjordane. In all an area of 29,541 sq. km.
Situated in the center of Bergen, walking distance from the Fish Market.
|Norwegian name:||St. Paul Katolske Kirke.|
|Location:||Center of Bergen.|
|Telephone:||+47 55 21 59 50.|