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2.51 How does the Swedish Lutheran Church work?

The Church in the twentieth century

The Church of Sweden is an evangelical Lutheran and national church with 6.4 million members (almost 70 per cent of the population). It was founded at the Lutheran Reformation in 1517. The Church of Sweden does not have the pope as its head. Historically, it has been closely tied to the Swedish state and to the monarchy.

In Sweden, Catholics and Lutherans have important things in common: faith in God as the Holy Trinity, accepting each other’s Baptism and reading the same Bible. Whereas Catholics have seven sacraments, Lutherans have only two: Baptism and the Eucharist. Since 1958, the Church of Sweden allows female priests. In 2016, Pope Francis visited Sweden and met the archbishop of the Church of Sweden to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 1517.

The Swedish Church came into being during the Reformation and is a member of the Lutheran World Federation. Today it has a good relationship with the Catholic Church.