Pope Francis to Lund

Pope Francis visited Lund on October 31th 2016. The reason for that historic visit was that Catholics and Lutherans together  commemorated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The service in Lund Cathedral was for invited guests only. Later the same day there was be a big event in Malmö Arena for the public.

Why was the Pope visiting Sweden?
Pope Francis visited Lund on October 31st 2016. It was the first papal visit to Sweden since John Paul II was here in 1989.
The meeting in Lund stems from a process of dialogue spanning several decades. A mile­stone in this process consists of the document “From conflict to communion” dating from 2013. In this document Lutherans and Catholics express sorrow and regret at the pain that they have caused each other, but also gratitude for the theological insights that both parties have contributed. At the same time, there is an emphasis on the joint responsibility to talk about Christian faith, not least through work for justice and peace.
The Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican were inviting the participants to the meeting. The Lutheran World Federation groups 72 million Lutherans from 144 churches, and the Catholic Church has more than 1,2 billion members worldwide. The meeting was hosted by the Church of Sweden in close cooperation with the Catholic Church in Sweden and the Christian Council of Sweden.

Why was the meeting taking place in Lund?
There are several reasons why the meeting took place in Lund: it was where the Lutheran World Federation was founded in 1947, and the federation will therefore celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2017. Lund is also located in “the Lutheran Scandinavia”, which was affected by the Reformation in many ways.

Why the date, 31th October?
The chosen date, 31th October, is Reformation Day; tradition has it that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses onto the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on that date in 1517. The meeting in Lund is thereby linked to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which was be commemorated on a large scale in Lutheran churches worldwide in 2017. The meeting also marked the fact that in 2017 it was 50 years since ecumenical dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics started.

How is The Church of Sweden organized?
The Church of Sweden is a national church, open to everyone living in Sweden regardless of nationality. It is a place for church services, meet­ings and dialogue. The Church of Sweden is an Evangelical Lutheran church with 6,2 million members (almost 65 per cent of the population). There are 3 500 churches in Sweden, and 13 dioceses.  Lund Cathedral is the Cathedral of the diocese of Lund, and its Bishop is Johan Tyrberg. The church is led by the Archbishop of Uppsala, who represents the Church of Sweden in international and ecumenical matters and speaks for the Bishops’ Meeting, which is a body consisting of all the bishops. Arch­bishop Antje Jackelén is the first woman in this office. The decision-making body for the Church of Sweden is the Church Assembly (Kyrkomötet); it consists of 251 members, meets twice annually and decides all matters concerning the regulation of church life (kyrkoordning).

What characterizes the Church of Sweden?
The Church of Sweden is characterized by a high degree of comprehensiveness. The local congregation is very important in the organization and the Church incorporates a lot of different traditions. That is true also for the liturgy!
During a week in Lund Cathedral you can experience different ways of praying, from a short morning prayer to the Sunday Eucharist with processions and plenty of singing.  Throughout the week we celebrate at all the altars in the cathedral. You can receive the sacrament nearly every day.  Sundays at 5 p.m. we celebrate Holy Communion Service in English.
Saturday is our main day for baptism and marriage services. The international and ecumenical liturgical movement has influenced the liturgy of The Church of Sweden. If you come from Anglican or Roman-Catholic traditions you will recognize much in the way of worshipping, even if you don’t understand Swedish.