Svenska kyrkan

Big finale for Reformation Year 2017


On 31 October, it will be 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of All Saints’ Church (more commonly referred to as Castle Church) in Wittenberg. It will be celebrated for a whole week, with divine services, newly composed music, public lectures and other events where the significance of the Reformation for Sweden will be in focus.

The 500-year anniversary of the Reformation will be celebrated for a whole week in Uppsala Cathedral and churches around the country. Image: Statue of Martin Luther outside the Church of Sweden in Berlin. Photo: Magnus Aronson

The celebrations will culminate on 29th October with a celebratory divine service in Uppsala Cathedral in the presence of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven among other dignitaries, where the Prime Minister will also make a speech. The divine service on the theme “I am not ashamed of the gospel” will include new texts and music and give expression in a variety of ways to the significance of the Reformation to Swedish society.

The service will be led by Archbishop Antje Jackelén. Other bishops in the Church of Sweden will also participate, as well as the Catholic Church’s Cardinal Anders Arborelius and representatives of other faith communities.

The 130 guests will also include representatives from business and industry, academia, sports associations and national minorities in order to reflect how the Reformation continues to be relevant to the whole of society.

“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,” says Archbishop Antje Jackelén.

The celebratory divine service will be broadcast live by SVT. After the service, there will be a gathering with soup and apple juice outside the church.

Vespers for Christian Unity in Uppsala
The day before the celebratory divine service, Saturday 28 October, the Church of Sweden and the Catholic Church in Sweden will celebrate Vespers for Christian Unity together in Uppsala Cathedral. The service will be led jointly by Antje Jackelén and Anders Arborelius. It will hark back to the historic day in Lund a year ago when Pope Francis and Lutheran leaders signed a document which obliges the two churches to celebrate what unite them, and together to bear witness to the Christian message. During the day, an ecumenical youth meeting will be held involving the Church of Sweden Youth and Sweden’s Young Catholics.

On Reformation Day itself (31 October), divine services will be held in all of Sweden’s cathedrals, many of which will an ecumenical and international focus.

Original music
During Reformation Week, newly composedmusic will be performed in a variety of contexts. In Uppsala Cathedral on the evening of 29th October, a divine service with special music will be held, premièring a choral work “Four Luther Variations” by B. Tommy Andersson.

On 3 November in Uppsala Cathedral, “Rockatorium” will be performed – a newly composed oratorio about the Reformation with music and words for choir and rock orchestra by and with Niclas Dahl.

The celebratory divine service in Uppsala Cathedral will be broadcast live by SVT. Other services in Uppsala Cathedral during the week will be recorded by SVT and broadcast later in the autumn. Here is the whole programme for Reformation Week in Uppsala Cathedral.

Reformation Week
Reformation Week is the fourth major national event during Reformation Year 2017. Previous events were the Theology Festival in Uppsala in February, the International Festival in Västerås in June, and the Book Fair in Gothenburg in September and October.




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