Storch, Mathias

Pastor, writer and politician born in Manermiut (Greenland) in 1883 – died in Ilulissat (Greenland) in 1957.

Mathias Storch was born in 1883 in the small settlement town of Manermiut, in northwestern Greenland. He was the son of David Storch, a trapper and Anne Sofie Storch. Mathias Storch served as the first Greenlandic priest of the Church of Greenland and continued as a priest and prolific author, throughout his life until 1957, when he died at age of 74 years.

In 1900, with an aptitude for academic learning, he began his studies at the seminary, Illinniarfissauq in Nuuk, Greenland, training as a catechist or priest’s assistant. In 1906, he continued his clerical studies in Denmark for two years, learning Danish, and living with Bishop Christian Ludwigs in Aalborg. With his ordination in 1910, Mathias Storch became the first Greenlandic priest in the Church of West Greenland. He served in various parishes in southern and northern Greenland for the next two decades. Appointed to a commission in charge of any issue regarding Greenland in 1920, in participated in the reform of the governance act of his country and in 1927, when the two districts – Western district and Eastern district – merged, Mathias Storch became vice-provost of the Church of Greenland for the entire country. A progessive pastor, Storch was a life-long participant in the evangelical revival movement named Pegatigiinniat. He was politically active, campaigning for education and nationalism for Greenlanders, to enable his fellow citizens to take charge of their lives.

The social impact of his published work has been significant. Mathias Storch's novels are inspirational and part of the modern Greenlandic curriculum. Mathias Storch’s first novel, Singnagtugaq (Copenhagen, 1915) was controversial as it portrayed the clash between Danish colonizers and colonized Greenlanders, ending with a vision of a modern Greenland free from colonial humiliation and poverty. The novel was translated into Danish by Knud Rasmussen and published as En Grønlænders Drøm (Copenhagen, 1915). In 2016, both a French translation by Presses de l'Université du Québec, Le rêve d’un Groenlandais, and an English translation by International Polar Institute Press, Singagtugaq. A Greenlander’s Dream was published. Strejflys over Grønland (literally: Greenland pasture) (Copenhagen, 1930) written in Danish during a stay in Denmark, describes Greenlanders’ desires for knowledge, economic development and progress as a nation. Storch wrote several religious tracts and articles about the importance of children's education in popular Greenlandic journals, AtuagagdliutitAvangnâmioK and Nalunaerutit. In 1921, the Danish King visited Greenland to celebrate the bicentenary of the mission's arrival, and Mathias Storch was awarded the Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog, recognizing his clerical and cultural contributions.

Mathias Storch retired in 1953, but continued to be active in the Pegatigiinniat movement and performing church services from time to time until his death in 1957.

This biography is based on the available written material during a collective research carried out during 2018-2021. It is possible that mistakes and facts need to be corrected. If you notice an error, or if you wish to correct something in an author's biography, please write to us at and we will be happy to do so. This is how we will be able to have more precise presentations, and to better promote Inuit culture.

(c) International Laboratory for Research on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2018-2021, Daniel Chartier and al.