4.10 – The Reformation in Norway

09 september 2021 | 14 minutes


Heihei! In this episode, we will look the Reformation in Norway. This was a pivotal moment in Norwegian history which would leave a deep impact on subsequent developments. Before we get into the Reformation: You can support the podcast on Patreon. 1. There is a link in the description. In the description, you will also find a link to the transcript for the episode. Now, for the last episode of the season: The Reformation in Norway.

Reformasjonen i Norge

Reformasjonen begynte i 1517 da Martin Luther publiserte sine 95 teser i Wittenberg i Tyskland. Luther kritiserte kirka og ønska å reformere den. Reformasjonen førte til store endringer i Europa. Kirka i Vest-Europa blei splitta mellom katolikker og protestanter. Mange land og områder i Nord-Europa blei protestantiske, mens Sør-Europa holdt seg til katolisismen.

Reformasjonen hadde store religiøse, kulturelle og politiske konsekvenser. Dette er for mye å se på i én episode, derfor kommer jeg til å forenkle litt. Bakgrunnen for reformasjonen er også viktig. Reformasjonen var basert på humanismen og renessansen i Europa. I tillegg kan man knytte inn politiske faktorer i bakgrunnen. Så la oss forenkle litt. Luther starta reformasjonen i 1517. Dette spredde seg til flere områder i Tyskland. Luther blei fordømt som kjetter i Worms i 1521. Paven sa offisielt at Luther og hans tilhengere hadde feil. Etter en krig blei derimot Lutheranismen, en retning innenfor protestantisme, godkjent i 1555 i Augsburg. La oss nå flytte fokuset fra Europa til Danmark og Norge.

Norge var i en union med Danmark da reformasjonen brøt ut på 1500-tallet. Norge var altså under Danmark i denne perioden. Danmark hadde tette bånd til Tyskland. Danmark ligger nærmer Tyskland, og dette gjorde at reformasjonen spredde seg raskt til Danmark. Christian 3., konge av Danmark, erklærte i 1536 at statsreligionen i Danmark-Norge skulle være Lutheranismen. Dette førte til at lutherske biskoper erstatta de katolske biskopene; klostrene blei lagt ned og stengt; kirkas eiendommer blei gitt til kongen; og Christian 3. blei offisielt kirkas øverste leder. Det var altså mange fordeler for Christian 3. å innføre lutheranismen i Danmark-Norge.

I Norge var kirka den største organisasjonen på 1500-tallet. Den katolske kirka var også den viktigste politiske institusjonen i Norge. Erkebiskopen av Nidaros, den viktigste personen i Norge, var leder av det norske riksrådet. Det norske riksrådet styrte Norge sammen med kongen. Det var altså viktig for Norge sin stemme i unionen med Danmark.

I 1536 innførte Christian 3. lutheranismen i Norge. Før dette var det nesten ingen protestanter i Norge. Det var helt annerledes i Danmark og Sverige; der var det mange protestanter. Slik var det ikke i Norge. I Norge skjedde reformasjonen ovenfra. Norge hadde ikke blitt et luthersk land i 1536 hvis ikke Christian 3. hadde innført det. Her ser vi hvor viktig unionen med Danmark var for utviklinga i Norge.

Reformasjonen svekka Norges posisjon i unionen med Danmark. Grunnen til det var at Norges riksråd blei fjerna i 1536. Den danske kongen fjerna Norges riksråd slik at Danmark fikk større makt over Norge. I tillegg blei Norges største og viktigste politiske institusjon, den katolske kirka, lagt ned. Den katolske erkebiskopen i Nidaros Olav Engelbrektsson blei tvunget til å flykte fra Norge i 1537. Selv om Norge blei et protestantisk land, så var ikke dette bygd på det norske folket. Dette gjorde at det tok ganske lang tid føre Norge blei et reelt protestantisk land.

Reformasjonen i Norge har et ganske dårlig omdømme i norsk historieskriving. Mange norske historikere har vært kritiske til hvordan Norge blei protestantisk. Grunnen til det er at det skjedde ved makt. Christian 3. tvang Norge til å bli protestantisk. Han fjerna også mye av Norges autonomi. Dette har gjort at reformasjonen i Norge har et dårligere omdømme enn for eksempel i Sverige og Danmark.

The Reformation in Norway

1517, Martin Luther published his 95 theses in the German town of Wittenberg; a deed that would radically change the trajectory of European history. It led to the splitting of the West-European church with a largely Protestant North and Catholic South. This has later been known as the Reformation.

The Reformation had big religious, cultural and political consequences which are hard to summarize in only one episode. The background for the Reformation is equally complicated, but it can be linked to European Humanism and the Renaissance. Let us simplify a bit and try to summarize the early Reformation in Europe: It starts in 1517 with Martin Luther. From there, it spread to several German towns and regions. Luther and his followers were deemed as heretics in a council in Worms in 1521. However, after some warfare, Lutheranism was finally accepted in 1555 in the German city Augsburg. Now, let’s move our attention to Denmark and Norway.

Norway was in a union under Denmark when the Reformation erupted in the early 16th century. Denmark was close to North-Germany, both geographically and culturally. The Reformation therefore spread more easily to Denmark, and Christian III, king of Denmark and Norway, declared Lutheranism to be the new official religion of the two countries. This brought with it a lot of benefits to the Danish king. The powerful Catholic bishops were replaced by weaker Lutheran ones; the property of the Church was confiscated by the state; and Christian III was officially named the leader of the Church of Denmark and Norway.

The Catholic Church was the largest organization in Norway in the 16th century. It was also the most important political institution of the country, and the archbishop of Nidaros was the most important person in Norway. He was the leader of the Council of the Realm, Riksråd in Norwegian. This was the leading political institution in Norway and ruled Norway together with the Danish king. The Council gave Norway an important voice in its own governance.

This would change when Christian III forced Norway to become Lutheran. Prior to this, there was not really any Protestant movement in Norway; it was a loyal Catholic country, unlike Sweden and Denmark which had their own national Protestant movements. Norway would not have turned Protestant in 1536 if not for the decision of Christian III. This illustrates the importance of the Danish union for Norway.

The Reformation weakened Norway’s position in the union with Denmark as Christian removed the Norwegian Council of the Realm. Norway’s most important political institution, the Catholic Church, was also undermined and removed with the Reformation. The archbishop of Nidaros, Olav Engelbrektsson, was forced to flee the country in 1537, marking the end of the Catholic Church in Norway. Despite officially being a Protestant country, it would take some time before this was reflected in the population at large.

The Reformation in Norway has been criticised in Norwegian historical writing as it was done without consent and from above. It also led to a substantial weakening of Norwegian autonomy within the union with Denmark. Hence, the Reformation has had a much worse reputation in Norway compared to Denmark and Sweden.



Reformasjonen – The Reformation

Å føre til – To lead to

Endring – Change

Å holde seg til – To keep to

Å forenkle – To simplify

Bakgrunn – Background

Å knytte inn – To tie in

Fordømt – Condemned

Kjetter – Heretic

Tilhengere – Supporters

Retning – Movement

Brøt ut – Erupted

Å erklære – To declare

Eiendom – Property

Fordel – Advantage

Å innføre – To introduce

Riksrådet – Council of the Realm (also translated as: Privy council)

Stemme – Voice

Helt annerledes – Completely different

Ovenfra – From above

Utvikling – Development

Å svekke – To weaken

Å legge ned – To abolish

Blei tvunget til – Was forced to

Å flykte – To flee

Omdømme – Reputation

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