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Frontview of Hesbjerg Castle, May 2015

Monastery

Hesbjerg Castle is not one a glamorous, famous and ancient castle, housing nobles and their families for generations and centuries – and it has never played any historic role in the regional game of power and politics. The Story of Hesbjerg Castle is much more one of many owners and many, very different purposes. In short: Private ownership, purchase of land and property, land development, equestrian manor, brickyard, faience factory and monastery.

On the internet, there is not much information about the past of Hesbjerg. Nothing consistent, clear and reliable. But it has to be mentioned that the old, aristocratic seat Hesbjerg of Ubberud  (Sanderum) parish is probably one of the Island’s oldest properties: Hesbjerg is mentioned in “Book of Lands” in the Monastery of Dalum in Odense, already in 1587. It is furthermore told that the last wolf on Funen has been killed at Hesbjerg.

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What followed then is somehow more entertaining. It is not a story we all are used to read or hear. It is the story of an idealistic obsession, following the call to establish a Russian Orthodox monastery at Hesbjerg. The story of Jørgen Laursen Vig.

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It was in 1957 that the theologian and cand.mag. in history of religions and russian, Jørgen Laursen Vig bought Hesbjerg. He established Hesbjerg University in 1957 (-1971) and is told to be the one who brought “Peace Research” to Denmark, by founding the “Hesbjerg Peace Research College “, back in 1964 – all according to Hesbjerg-Foundation’s own website. Today, this Foundation is the sole owner of the Castle and it’s surroundings.

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Throughout his long studies and many travels around the world, he was interested in meeting with different religions. Both scientific and theological.
One of his lifelong dreams was to realize a modern monastery on Hesbjerg.

Please note: I refer from information found on the internet which is why I recommend reading the texts with a certain skepticism. However, the article is ideal to form own scenarios and stories – which is all this should be used for. Thank you.

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In 2005 Jørgen Laursen Vig died and left the whole property Hesbjerg to the Hesbjerg Foundation which he himself initiated before his death.


The film The Monastery by Pernille Rose Grønkjær was made over the last seven years in Vigs life where he transformed the dilapidated Hesbjerg castle into a monastery for the Russian Orthodox Church – after the long-awaited permission. It is also a portrait of an eccentric firesoul who is passionate about his case, but along the way must recognize that the dream proves harder to realize than expected. A preview of the movie can be seen following the above link.

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© 2015 – Oliver Haas-Jensen, All Rights Reserved

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Swiss expat, living in the green middle of Denmark since 1992. Family man, amateur photographer and editor of this site. I publish my photographic work from exploring my surroundings, travels and events i attend to in order to share it with the visitors of this site. Welcome to Olivers Film Roll.

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