Church of Sweden

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The Church of Sweden is a Lutheran church and the largest Christian denomination in Sweden. Founded in the 16th century, the Church of Sweden was the Swedish national church for nearly 500 years before a secular reform in the year 2000 eliminated all state support for religious institutions. Today, Sweden is known for being one of the most irreligious countries in the world (A 2016 survey found roughly 18% of Swedes identify as atheist, with an additional 55% identifying as "non-religious"[1]) as well as one of the most liberal, and this has been felt within the church, with the modern day Church of Sweden losing nearly 2% of their membership each year, and liberal ideas and leadership within the church compromising theology.


The Church of Sweden was officially founded in 1536 by King Gustav I Vasa during the early stages of the Protestant Reformation, but didn't officially adopt its current Lutheran basis until 1593. Its split from the Roman Catholic Church coincided with or predated the similar schisms that created the churches of England, Norway, and Denmark. A high church-oriented denomination, the Church of Sweden retains much of its Catholic heritage in terms of liturgical style and (to a lesser extent) theology, including a general belief in the sacraments as well as a view affirming Christ's literal presence in the eucharist (though the full doctrine of transubstantiation is rejected).

Liberalism in the Church of Sweden

While perhaps not as compromising as the Church of England and its American counterpart (which are facing a major issue with clergy who openly don't believe in God), the Church of Sweden has fallen victim to an increasingly "progressive" ideology, to the point that the presiding Archbishop felt the need to remind the public that the church isn't "worshipping political correctness".[2] The church tends to be very left-leaning in regard to social issues, and in some cases can be seen as contradicting or infringing upon mainstream Christianity.


Church of Sweden Altar in Lund Cathedral.
The Church of Sweden has supported the ordination of women since 1958, and is currently ordaining more female priests than male.[3] The church is currently presided over by female Archbishop Antje Jackelén.

Like some groups within the Church of England,[4] the Church of Sweden has trended toward "gender neutral" language in liturgy to the point of being heretical. In 2017, Jackelén moved to discourage clergy from referring to God in masculine terms (such as "he", "father", and "lord"[5]), claiming God to be "beyond human gender denominations" and going so far as to update the church handbook accordingly, a decision which was agreed upon by the church's 251-member governing body.[6] It should be noted that gender-neutral terminology in regard to God is contradictory to the Bible as well as thousands of years of common Judeo-Christian knowledge.

Promotion of Homosexuality

The Church of Sweden is known for taking a particularly pro-homosexual stance, allowing same-sex "marriage" as well as the ordination of homosexual and gender-confused clergy, including a "married" lesbian Bishop of Stockholm, Eva Brunne.

In 2019, the Church of Sweden removed a pro-homosexual altarpiece (a sacrilegious painting depicting same-sex couples in the Garden of Eden) only because it "could be interpreted as anti-trans".[7]

Promotion of Secularization

Though it would seem obviously counterintuitive to the church's stated goals, the Church of Sweden has occasionally taken a stance in favor of secularization, even within church property itself. In September 2015, Eva Brunne proposed the removal of all Christian symbols from the Seaman's Church in Stockholm Harbor (as well as the addition of an Islamic prayer room with a marker to signify the direction of Mecca) in order to make the church accessible for "sailors of all beliefs" and citing non-sectarian prayer rooms in airports as an inspiration.[8]


The Church of Sweden officially supports abortion, declaring it to be "healthcare".[9]


Similar to other European[10] and mainline Protestant churches, the Church of Sweden has seen a decline[11]in membership since the 20th century, having accounted for over 90% of the Swedish population in 1985 but less than 60% by 2018. While state churches of other Scandinavian countries such as Denmark and Norway have also reported a decline, Sweden's figures have been particularly drastic. In the case of the Church of Sweden, this decline was likely underway for a longer time than can easily be observed, as all newborn children in Sweden were automatically listed as church members until 1996 (unless their parents had actively cancelled their own membership).

As of 2018, only 2% of Swedes report attending church regularly, with only 17% of Swedes declaring religion to be an important part of their daily life.