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The Reformation

The Protestant reformation reached Sweden and Finland (as a part of Swedish kingdom) in the 1520s. Sweden accepted the Confession of Augsburg at Uppsala in 1593. Lutheranism became the state religion. It guaranteed the unity of the realm and tolerated no deviation. The Reformation severed all ties with Rome. The supremacy of the Pope was replaced by that of the King of Sweden, who stripped the Church of its income and property. Mikael Agricola, the first Lutheran Bishop of Finland, translated the New Testament into Finnish. Church services gradually became more Lutheran and were conducted in the vernacular. The monasteries were closed, and priests allowed to marry.
In the period of Lutheran orthodoxy, in the 17th and early 18th centuries, the Church had a similar cultural monopoly to that of the Middle Ages. It preached loyalty to the state, instilled a strong sense of Christian morality in the people, and taught the Finns to read.

Updated by Kimmo Ketola
25 May 2017