Saga af beinum

Um beinafærslu og skrínlagningu Guðmundar Arasonar góða

  • Gunnvör S. Karlsdóttir


Bishop Guðmundur Arason of Hólar (b. 1203−37) was a controversial person, even after his death. Written sources indicate that laymen tried to promote his veneration, but the leaders of the Icelandic Church resisted the elevation of his bones as relics, which was a necessary part in the formal act of declaring him a saint. During the episcopate of Jörundur Þorsteinsson (b. 1267−1313) the bones of Guðmundur Arason were elevated from its original grave and secretly transferred within the church of Hólar where they were kept hidden from his followers until he was finally declared a saint in 1315 at the instigation of Auðunn rauði Þorbergsson bishop of Hólar (b. 1313−22). The textual sources are scattered but the most thorough ones are the so-called C-version of Guðmundar saga in the MS AM Holm. papp. 4 4to, which has never been printed except for a short fragment, and Lárentíus saga biskups. Bishop Jörundur’s treatment of  Guðmundr’s bones is interesting while it reveals conflicts between the acknowledged policy of the church authorities and laymen. Furthermore, it may shed some light on the diffident progress of saga writing about bishop Guðmundur, despite textual evidence that such writing was planned as early as at the middle of the thirteenth century.