Back to OWR Homepage Back to Christianity Flowchart

Back to
Continental European Protestantism


Lutheran Church of Sweden

Doctrines The doctrinal basis of the Lutheran Church of Sweden is the Augsburg confession, which is itself the principal confession of the Lutheran Church. The Augsburg Confession was presented to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530 as a statement of belief in the face of charges of heresy that had been made against the Protestant reformers. The Augsburg Confession consists of twenty-eight articles. The first twenty-one articles deal with matters of faith common to both the reformers and the Roman Catholic Church, but which are interpreted differently. These twenty-one articles deal with areas such as the nature of God, original sin, the sacraments, civil authorities, faith and works, and the veneration of saints. The final seven articles identify abuses within the church that need to be reformed. These are: the provision of communion in both kinds to the laity, the marriage of priests, the Mass, confession, human traditions, monastic vows and the authority of bishops.

History Christianity came to Sweden in the 9th century through St Ansgar, the archbishop of Hamburg. However, severe opposition to Christianity delayed its triumph until the 12th century. It was only in 1164 that the first Swedish archbishop was appointed, with his seat at Uppsala.
The Reformation was supported by King Gustavus Vasa (1523-60), who confiscated the Roman Catholic Church's property and declared Sweden a Lutheran state. In 1526 the New Testament was translated into Swedish, and in 1531 the liturgy was translated into Swedish.
The 17th century saw the consolidation of Lutheran rule in Sweden, a process which culminated in the constitution of 1634 which required all Swedes to adhere to the Augsburg Confession. This rule was reversed in 1741, when citizenship was granted to members of the Anglican and Reformed churches, and in 1781 with the Edict of Toleration which provided religious freedom to all Christians.
During the first half of the 19th century a number of revival movements occurred which encouraged the church to become more involved with social issues such as the care of the poor and prison reform.
The 20th century has seen a significant growth in academic theology, particularly in the development of systematic theology. The Swedish church has also made a major contribution to the ecumenical movement. The church was influential in the formation of the World Council of Churches in 1948, and in 1968 hosted the fourth meeting of the World Council of Churches at Uppsala.

Symbols The logo of the Church of Sweden is red cross on a yellow shield. inside the red cross is a yellow crown. This is the official coat of arms of the Church of Sweden. It has its origins in the time of King Erik, the patron saint of Sweden, who was murdered in Uppsala on 18 May 1160.

Adherents About 86 % of the population of Sweden are members of the Lutheran Church of Sweden (Europa Publications Ltd. 1997, Vol 2: 3111).

Headquarters/
Main Centre
 The Lutheran Church of Sweden can be contacted at the following address: POB 1764, 111, 87 Stockholm, Sweden.