24 Years Ago: Fantoft Stavkyrkje Burns (Norwegian Church Arson 1992) Photos

The first ancient monument to fall at the hands of Norway’s black metal underground was the 12th Century Stave Church in Fana, Bergen.

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Foto: Arne Ristesund
Firefighters take a break after battling the flames. Foto: Arne Ristesund

The church was destroyed by arson on Saturday 6 June 1992. A photograph of the charcoal skeleton was used as the cover for BURZUM’s Aske EP in March 1993. Aske was released after the 1993 Bergens Tidende newspaper interview with Vikernes which covered several of the Norwegian church burnings and brought immediate police attention. He was charged with the Fantoft arson during the 1994 trial but was not found guilty for that particular act.

Foto: Arne Ristesund

I was never convicted for grave desecration, as many seems to believe, or for kindling the Fantoft Stave Church. They had no dumb metal head who could lie and tell them that he had joined me in burning that church, like in the other cases, so they had absolutely no evidence against me in that context whatsoever, and I even had an alibi, as a girl from Oslo had spent the night with me. (Yet my “defense” lawyer didn’t even bother to ask her to testify in my defense!) The charge was all based in hearsay. Still, when the jury didn’t find me guilty of burning down the Fantoft Stave Church the main judge was so angry she claimed that it was “obvious” that I had done that too, but it wouldn’t really matter, as I would get maximum penalty anyway – and amazingly she said that before the three judges and jury members had even begun discussing the penalty, so obviously they had decided on forehand that I should get 21 years no matter what. – Varg Vikernes, A Burzum Story