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The establishment of the Evangelical Lutheran state church

The close ties between state and church were strengthened by the Lutheran Reformation in the sixteenth century. The creation of a national church, free from the influence of the Pope in Rome, went hand in hand with the creation of an evangelical Swedish kingdom under the leadership of King Gustav Vasa. In 1527 the Parliament gathered in Västerås and decided that most of the church’s property should be handed over to the state (in fact the King). The doctrinal change from the Catholic Church to a national evangelical Lutheran church followed although the struggle between the two churches went on for a couple of decades. For the inner life of the church, the Reformation meant a renewal of the divine service. The Bible and the Service Books of the Church were translated and the Eucharist was celebrated in Swedish. The success of the Reformation was marked by the Convocation of Uppsala in 1593 which proclaimed once and for all the Lutheran character of the Church. During the first centuries, no other churches or denominations were allowed in Sweden. In the succeeding centuries Sweden emerged as a significant political power and a unitary state based on the teachings of Luther. The close relationship between Church and State was underlined by the fact that priests and bishops made up one of the Four Estates of the Swedish Parliament.

D 15 May 2014    APer Pettersson

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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