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c. 900 : Gulatingslova, covering Western Norway, is adopted, as the first written code of laws
c. 1000 : Norway undergoes gradual Christianization. Olav Haraldsson (‘the Holy’) introduces Canonical amendments to Gulatingslova
1163 : The Canonical section of Gulatingslova undergoes major revisions under king Magnus Erlingsson. The revisions are dubbed ‘Magnus-text’.
1274/1277 : King Magnus Lagabøte (‘lawmaker’) adopts a country-wide code of laws modelled on Gulatingslova and settles Church-state relations during a meeting (ting) at Tunsberg, granting considerable autonomy to the Church. The agreement is later known as Sættargjerden.
1537/1539 : The Lutheran Reformation is introduced in Denmark-Norway, and a new legal framework for the churches, the Church Ordinance is adopted, first in Latin, then in Danish.
1569 : A code of conduct for the religious expressions of foreigners in Denmark-Norway is introduced by king Fredrik II.
1687 : King Christian V ‘Norwegian Law’ is adopted, mirroring the earlier Danish Law (1683). The Norwegian Law contains a separate section On Religion and the Clergy, clarifying the Confessio Augustana as the doctrinal foundation for the official religion of Norway.
1741 : A Code of Congregationalism is introduced in order to prevent lay preaching. The Code forbids any preaching not sanctioned by officials of the Church.
1814 : The Constitution of Norway is adopted. Constitutional provisions secure the prominence of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, with the king as the protector of the faith. Parents are obliged to raise their children in the officially sanctioned faith, and Jews and Jesuits are barred from entering the realm.
1842/1845 : The Code of Congregationalism is discontinued, and an act recognizing limited rights for "Christian Dissenters" is adopted, mainly to accommodate a small minority of Quakers.
1851 : The constitutional ban on Jews is lifted
1956 : The constitutional ban on Jesuits is lifted
1964 : Freedom of religion is introduced to the Constitution during its 150 year anniversary
1969 : The Act on Faith Communities is adopted, replacing the 1845 Christian Dissenters Act. The Act is strongly compensatory in nature, securing faith communities a semblance of equality with the official Church of Norway.
1981 : The Act on Financial Support to Life Stance Communities is adopted, securing the rights of life stance communities to receive financial support on par with religious communities.
2012 : Constitutional amendments demote the Church of Norway (CoN) from its official role to "the people’s church", a legal innovation. The CoN is still maintained by the state, and constitutional rights of other faith and life stance communities to be equally remunerated are introduced. A new "value paragraph" defines the value basis of the state of Norway as "our Christian and humanist heritage". One single vestige of the state-church system remains, as the king exercises his veto to keep the provision requiring the monarch to remain an Evangelical Lutheran.

D 16 septembre 2016    AHelge Årsheim

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