‘I am not ashamed of the gospel’ 

Church of Sweden Archbishop Antje Jackelén (left) with LWF and Catholic Church leaders during a press conference for the October 2016  joint commemoration in Lund, Sweden. Photo: LWF/M. Renaux
Church of Sweden Archbishop Antje Jackelén (left) with LWF and Catholic Church leaders during a press conference for the October 2016 joint commemoration in Lund, Sweden. Photo: LWF/M. Renaux

Week-long celebrations mark Reformation anniversary in Sweden

(LWI) – The Church of Sweden is commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with week-long celebrations featuring divine services, newly composed music and lectures highlighting the historic and current relevance of the Reformation.

The Lutheran church events will culminate in a divine service on 29 October in the Uppsala Cathedral, led by Archbishop Antje Jackelén on the theme “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” Fellow Lutheran church bishops, the Catholic Church Cardinal Anders Arborelius and representatives of other faith communities will also participate.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven are among the dignitaries who will attend, as well as guests representing business and industry, academia, sports associations and national minorities. 

In the celebratory divine service, we will be expressing the significance of the legacy of the Reformation, its relevance to today, and our intention to pass it on.
Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of the Church of Sweden and LWF Vice-President for the Nordic region

“In the celebratory divine service, we will be expressing the significance of the legacy of the Reformation, its relevance to today, and our intention to pass it on. We do this conscious of the fact that God continues to operate in the world and the church. We walk with Luther behind us and with God before us,” said Jackelén, Vice-President of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nordic region. 

The service in Uppsala will be broadcast live on the Swedish television, followed by a gathering outside the church, where soup and apple juice will be served.

On 28 October, Jackelén and Arborelius will also jointly lead a service to celebrate Vespers for Christian Unity in the Uppsala Cathedral. This will be a reminder of the 2016 historic Reformation Day in Lund, when Pope Francis and LWF’s leaders signed a document in which the two global church bodies declared commitment to move away from conflict, work together toward communion and strengthen joint witness. Services that will be held in other congregations will have both an ecumenical and international focus.

Newly composed music that will be performed during the week includes premièring a choral work of “Four Luther Variations” by B. Tommy Andersson, and the “Rockatorium” music and words for choir and rock orchestra by Niclas Dahl.

The Reformation Week is the fourth major national event of the Swedish Lutheran church this year. It hosted a Theology Festival in February, the International Festival in Västerås in June, and the Book Fair in Gothenburg in September and October.

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