The Church of Norway
The main religion in Norway is The Evangelical Lutheran Church of
Norway, to which 89% of the population belongs to and which is the religion
of the state. Church and state are not separated in Norway, but complete
religious freedom is guaranteed. The remaining 11% of the population belong
to Islam, the Roman-Catholic church, various Protestant denominations,
other religions or are non-religious.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway today
The church receives support from the state, and the main reason for not separating these two is that one wants the Christian values to have a strong position in the society. “Christian values” in this context mean what most people would consider obvious moral and ethic standards - not stealing, not beating up others, respect and honor others etc.
Religion is not a big issue in Norway. There are various degrees of religious strictness in the church. Some parishes are very strict and want to do as much as possible completely by the Bible, but most people have a relaxed relationship to the religion. The western parts of Norway are traditionally regarded as Puritan.
Many of the members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church are non-practicing, or they only attend services at special occasions such as weddings and funerals. To differ between practicing and non-practicing Christians, there is an expression in Norway called “being personally Christian”. That expression means that one believes in God, and is a member of the Church for this reason. Those who are members of the Church, but not personally Christians are members because that’s how it’s always been, they were born into it and haven’t really had to take a stand for or against.
Men and women in the Church have equal rights to become priests, bishops and so on. The King is the head of the Church, and he nominates the clergy.
The Parishes often run kindergartens and missionaries, and organize various church activities.
The Church have only two sacraments which are:
The Reformation started in Germany in the 16th century. Martin Luther
thought the Catholic church’s and the Pope’s interpretation of the Bible
was wrong. Luther pinned 95 theses to the door of the castle church in
Wittenberg in 1517, theses to which the Catholic church strongly objected
to. Luther was banned by the Pope in 1521.
The Reformation came to Denmark-Norway in 1536 as the result of a political struggle.
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Stave Church: Close-up of the roof which is decorated with detailed
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