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PRESS   INFORMATION
  Greenland - centre of the festivities
When the good ship 'Islendingur' sets sail off the coast of Iceland towards Greenland, it will be the starting signal for several months of celebrations in the North Atlantic countries.
Islendingur will be ploughing through the Atlantic in a re-enactment of Leif Eriksson's achievement. The ship will also play the role of herald, bringing the news of the jubilee from country to country.
Between the 15th and 17th of July, Greenland will be the centre of its own 1000 year jubilee celebrations, the preparations for which have been in full swing for several years. The entire society of Greenland has leant its weight to marking this historic occasion in the best possible way.
The celebrations in South Greenland will be attended by 300 guests from home and abroad, including Her Majesty the Queen Margrethe the II and His Royal Highness Prince Henrik. The honoured guests from the North Atlantic countries will among others include the President, Òlafur Ragnar Grimsson and a host of ministers, ambassadors and bishops.
 
Viking ship sets course for Vinland (Newfoundland)
The 2600 miles odyssey voyage of the Viking ship Islendingur is an important part of the celebrations. On board the Viking ship Islendingur Icelander Gunnar Marel Eggertsson and his crew will sail in the wake of Leif Eriksson from Iceland to Greenland, and from there on to Newfoundland and New York.
 
Arrival - 15th July
The starting signal for the official celebrations will be the arrival of the Viking ship Islendingur in Brattahlid/Qassiarsuk, Southern Greenland on 15th July. For the last stage of its journey, the ship will be accompanied by kayaks, and it will be greeted in Qassiarsuk by choirs from Greenland. The Viking ship is an exact replica of the ship Leif Eriksson sailed to Vinland (Newfoundland) 1000 years ago.
 
In Leif's wake
Five days later, on 20th July, the ship will set a westerly course, towards North America. Under the leadership of Icelander Gunnar Marel Eggertsson, the nine-man crew will repeat the feat of Viking Leif Eriksson and his people.
 
Related to Leif
Gunnar Marel Eggertsson is related to Leif Eriksson. Careful studies have proved that Gunnar Marel Eggertsson is a 28th generation direct descendant of Leif Eriksson's great-grandfather Ülfur Högnason, born 845.
 
America's west coast.
The voyage will take 4 months and end on October 25th. On October 5th Islendingur will be met by Ms. Hillary Clinton in Manhattan in New York.
Among the cities the vikingship will visit is the Viking settlement of L'Anse aux Meadows, Port aux Choix, Harbour Breton, Port de Grave, Halifax, Yarmouth, Portsmouth, Boston, Providence, Mystic Seaport and Newport to name a few.
The starting point for the voyage is Iceland; the ship will put out from Reykjavik's old harbour on 17th June, Iceland's Independence Day. From there it will travel via Eiriksstadir in Hvammsfjördur to Greenland. The Expedition will make over 40 scheduled stops in Iceland, Greenland and all along the coast of Newfoundland, Canada and the U.S.
 
 
  The Vikingship Islendingur will be recieved in Greenland on the 15th of July.
Photo: Larus Karl Ingason, Iceland
 
 
1000 years of Christianity
 
Thodhildur's church
It was Leif Eriksson who christianised the Norsemen of Greenland, but it was Thodhildur, Erik the Red's wife, who coerced her heathen husband into building the first church in Greenland.
 
Exact replicas
Now, 1000 years later, Thjodhildur's wish has been fulfilled once again. Exact replicas of Thodhildur's church and Erik the Red's long house in Brattahlid stand ready for inauguration on 16th July 2000. The church and the long house have been reconstructed from timber and turf not far from the original church.
 
7 m2 church
The church in Brattahlid was the first church on the North Atlantic continent. The interior measures only 2 x 3.5 metres, but at a push it could hold 20-25 people. Both reconstructions have been transferred from the West Nordic Council to Greenland.
 
Celebration of Christianity
The introduction of Christianity to Greenland will be celebrated on 17th July in Igaliku, which was the site of the Vikings' impressive bishops' residence. One of the highlights of the day will be the procession to the cathedral in Igaliku. Participants in Viking dress will proceed to the old bishops' residence in Gardar, present day Igaliku. A service will be held in the impressive cathedral ruin.
Gardar Foundation As part of the millennium celebrations, premier Jonathan Motzfeldt has taken the initiative to create an international,ecumenical framework around Thodhildur's Church. The formal ownership of the church will be handed over to the chairman of the Gardar Foundation, Jonathan Motzfeldt on the 16th of July.
 
The Gardar Foundation
is an international, inter-denominational religious organisation based in Greenland, with the objective of securing the financial basis for the upkeep of Thodhildur's Church, and to initiate a pilgrim tourist industry to the little church - the forerunner to the entire continent's Christian society.
The Gardar Foundation is organised around the Thodhildur Committee and a board. The committee consists of an interdenominational group of 7 church leaders from Greenland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Canada and the USA, supplemented by the chairman Jonathan Motzfeldt, Premier of the government of Greenland rule and the chatechist in Qassiarsuk.
The committee will be ecumenical in its composition: Lutheran, Anglican and Catholic. The original church was Catholic due to the fact that no denominational divisions existed at that time. For the purpose at hand this means that Thodhilde's Church morally belongs to all Christian creeds and denominations. Every Christian community found on the North Ameriacan continent has an equal right of access to and worship in this little chapel.
 
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