Meetings of the Nordic Bishops during the Cold War: Co-operation or Confrontation?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The purpose of the article is to examine whether or not the political differences engendered by the Cold War were apparent in the Nordic bishops’ meetings from the 1940s to the 1980s. These gatherings had started in the 1920s. In these meetings, convened every third year, bishops from the Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic Lutheran Churches meet in one of the Nordic countries to discuss common questions. This study, based on archival and press material, argues that the discussions during and the statements after these meetings adhered to the different foreign policy lines of the respective representative of participating countries. Finland, as a neighbour of the Soviet Union, evidenced the most cautious approach. Sweden’s neutrality was apparent in its willingness to understand Finland’s position. Norway and Denmark, as NATO countries, were most inclined to support western Cold War views on the Soviet Union; this was especially apparent in the early 1970s, as the Norwegian bishops wanted to use the meetings as a platform to criticize communist countries about their antireligious politics. Views of the small Icelandic church about the foreign politics were not often heard during these meetings.

Read More:
Original languageEnglish
JournalKirchliche Zeitgeschichte
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)383-395
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 614 Theology
  • 615 History and Archaeology

Cite this