All posts tagged: Iceland

Iceland Credit: Lovepro/Flickr/Creative Commons

Study says a pagan poem and volcanic eruption resulted in the Vikings turning to Christ

According to a report in the journal Climate Change, a volcanic eruption and an ancient pagan poem convinced the Vikings to embrace Christianity. The mass conversion of the Vikings to Christ took place around 1100 AD and according to the researchers from the University of Cambridge two events in the 10th century played a role in this decision. Using ice cores, they said Iceland’s Eldgjjá volcano erupted between 939 AD and 940 AD. At this point the Vikings were creating settlements on the island. It involved a prolonged lava eruption that spread over a year. It also resulted in a tremendous amount of ash pouring into the atmosphere blocking the sun causing very cool summers and extremely cold winters. The ash not only affected the climate of Iceland, but reached into North America and Northern Europe, the traditional home of the Vikings. This resulted in droughts, animal stock dying off and increased mortality. The second thing that attributed to the conversion was an apocalyptic Viking poem called Völuspá written around the same time. In English, …

Celebrating the Feast of Silvester in Burserberg, Austria. The feast which falls on December 31st marks the death of Pope Sylvester I who died on that day in 335 AD. The feast is celebrated in many European nations. Photo: BRainy Photography/Flickr/Creative Commons

Top ten stories of 2015

It has been an eventful year, so what were the top most read stories on opentheword.org?  From first to tenth, actually eleventh due to a virtual tie for last place, here they are: Did the Bible predict beheadings by Muslim extremists? With gruesome stories coming out of the Middle East about ISIS beheading Christians, it is not surprising many Christians are wondering if this was mentioned at all in the Bible particularly as it related to the end times. Not surprisingly it does. This story topped the list with 7,868 reads in 2015. Sir Isaac Newton predicted world would end in 2060 AD End times events are on many people’s minds these days. Researchers studying the writings of Sir Isaac Newton, who died in 1727 AD, stumbled upon his prediction when Christ would return. Newton studied the Bible and particularly end time events. Why did he date Christ’s return to centuries later — in our day?   One more thing, from his study Newton also determined that Israel had to be restored back to the Promised …

Haunting 800-year old Icelandic Hymn

[by Dean Smith] The 800-year old Icelandic Hymn “Heyr himna smiður” sung as the back drop on the opening credits for a documentary on the 1973 volcanic eruption on Iceland. Kolbeinn Tumason (1173-1208) wrote the words to the hymn. A devout Christian, he spoke about hope in times of hunger, sickness and fear. The music was written by Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson (1938-2013). Kolbeinn was a powerful chieftain or goði on the island in the 12th century. He reportedly wrote this poem on his death-bed after he was injured during a battle. Part of the hymn includes a plea for healing, perhaps his own. The words in English are:

Gay activists fail to derail evangelistic crusade in Iceland

When gay activists in Iceland discovered Franklin Graham — son of Billy Graham — was planning an evangelistic crusade September 28-29, 2013 in Reykjavik their capital city, the activists rose up in opposition. The Franklin crusade was part of the Festival of Hope sponsored by the Billy Graham Association and 41 Icelandic churches. The activists were disturbed because of Franklin Graham’s position on Gay marriage. When President Obama publicly supported gay marriage in 2012, Franklin Graham issued a release calling it a “sad day for America.”  Gay marriage has been legal in Iceland since 2010. Though the crusade was free, the Festival of Hope committee allowed people to reserve tickets online for the event being held at Reykjavik’s Laugardalsholl arena.