Perichoresis 13.2

Perichoresis 13.2 (2015)


The Long History of Lutheranism in Scandinavia. From State Religion to the People’s Church

Pirjo Markkola


As the main religion of Finland, but also of entire Scandinavia, Lutheranism has a centuries-long history. Until 1809 Finland formed the eastern part of the Swedish Kingdom, from 1809 to 1917 it was a Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire, and in 1917 Finland gained independence. In the 1520s the Lutheran Reformation reached the Swedish realm and gradually Lutheranism was made the state religion in Sweden. In the 19th century the Emperor in Russia recognized the official Lutheran confession and the status of the Lutheran Church as a state church in Finland. In the 20th century Lutheran church leaders preferred to use the concept people’s church. The Lutheran Church is still the majority church. In the beginning of 2015, some 74 percent of all Finns were members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. In this issue of Perichoresis, Finnish historians interested in the role of church and Christian faith in society look at the religious history of Finland and Scandinavia. The articles are mainly organized in chronological order, starting from the early modern period and covering several centuries until the late 20th century and the building of the welfare state in Finland. This introductory article gives a brief overview of state-church relations in Finland and presents the overall theme of this issue focusing on Finnish Lutheranism. Our studies suggest that 16th and early 17th century Finland may not have been quite so devoutly Lutheran as is commonly claimed, and that late 20th century Finland may have been more Lutheran than is commonly realized. PDF

Popular Religion in the Periphery. Church Attendance in 17th Century Eastern Finland

Miia Kuha


On the fringes of post-Reformation Europe, church and state authorities faced problems in enforcing church attendance. In the Swedish kingdom, religious uniformity was seen as vital for the success of the state after the Lutheran confession had been established, and absences from church were punishable by law. The seventeenth century saw significant tightening of legislation relating to church absences and other breaches of the Sabbath, and severe punishments were introduced. Despite considerable deterrents, it was sometimes difficult to control local inhabitants: absence cases were regularly brought before the local courts in Eastern Finland, where authorities were hampered by a combination of geographical distance and a highly mobile population. In this article, popular church-going practices are studied with an approach inspired by historical anthropology. In popular practice church attendance was required only on the most important holy days of the year, whereas on Sundays and prayer days, work or leisure were considered socially acceptable pursuits. Explanations of nonattendance should not only make reference to trying conditions: in certain situations people would travel long distances to church, despite the obvious difficulties they faced. Popular religious traditions and old conceptions of sacred time also affected behaviour among peasants. The great holy days of the year formed a ritual cycle, the aim of which was the maintenance of good relations with the supernatural. For the success of oneself and one’s household, it was more important to follow the norms of popular culture than the orders of the authorities. PDF

Limits of Power. Clerical Appointment as Part of Domestic Policy in Sweden after the Reformation, 1560–1611

Mikko Hiljanen


This article examines state-church relations in Sweden by analysing clerical appointment processes in the latter part of the 16th century. The aim is to ascertain whether the king of Sweden could appoint pastors independently, and if not, with whom he was compelled to share the power. Earlier studies argue that the power of the king grew due to the reformation. First, this article examines the number of clerical appointments that were made in the period 1560-1611. The results reveal a remarkable annual variation in the number of clerical appointments. Second, the timing and share of clerical appointments made by the king are studied. The number of appointments made by the king is viewed against the total number of clerical appointments so as to reveal the importance of appointments made by the crown. Third, the article examines the proportion of appointments made by other authorities. The results suggest that the crown’s role in clerical appointment processes varied, but more interestingly, it was not as ubiquitous as earlier researchers suggest. Thus article concludes that crown’s power over the church in 16th century Sweden was not as vast as it has previously been claimed. PDF

Lutheran Clergy in an Orthodox Empire. The Apppointment of Pastors in the Russo-Swedish Borderland in the 18th Century

Antti Räihä


The history of the parishioners’ right to participate in and influence the choice of local clergy in Sweden and Finland can be taken back as far as the late Medieval Times. The procedures for electing clergymen are described in historiography as a specifically Nordic feature and as creating the basis of local self-government. In this article the features of local self-government are studied in a context where the scope for action was being modified. The focus is on the parishioners’ possibilities and willingness to influence the appointment of pastors in the Lutheran parishes of the Russo-Swedish borderlands in the 18th century. At the same time, this article will offer the first comprehensive presentation of the procedures for electing pastors in the Consistory District of Fredrikshamn. The Treaty of Åbo, concluded between Sweden and Russia in 1743, ensured that the existing Swedish law, including the canon law of 1686, together with the old Swedish privileges and statutes, as well as the freedom to practise the Lutheran religion, remained in force in the area annexed into Russia. By analysing the actual process of appointing pastors, it is possible to discuss both the development of the local political culture and the interaction between the central power and the local society in the late Early Modern era. PDF

The Conflict between Lived Religion and State Control of Poor Relief. The Case of Emma Mäkinen’s Private Orphanage at the Turn of the 20th Century

Johanna Annola


The article discusses the conflict between lived religion and the state control of poor relief in a modernizing society by analysing the case of Emma Mäkinen’s private orphanage. Emma Mäkinen’s philanthropic work among neglected children was motivated by her Evangelical Revivalist conviction. Because of her trust in the transformative power of faith, she considered it appropriate to establish an orphanage next to a shelter for ‘fallen’ women. This decision led her onto a collision course with the State Inspector of Poor Relief and the general public, who did not share her religious views but emphasized the legislative and moral aspects vis-à-vis organizing social work. The conflict demonstrates, firstly, how the ancien régime and the traditional religious authority of the Evangelical Lutheran state church in particular was challenged by individual agency in voluntary associations such as the Evangelical Revivalist Free Mission. Secondly, the case of Emma Mäkinen’s orphanage reflects how new kinds of boundaries were created by the encroaching of state control into the sphere of private philanthropy, followed by the strengthening role of scientific theories and nationalistic thinking in social work. Thirdly, the conflict opens up a view on border-crossings, thus emphasizing the undefined nature of a modernizing society. PDF

Lutheranism and Welfare State Expertise. The Example of Heikki Waris

Hanna Lindberg


The article examines the role of Christianity in the work of Heikki Waris (1901-1989), Professor of Social Policy at the University of Helsinki from 1948 to 1968. In studies on the historical foundations of different models of welfare, Lutheranism is often mentioned as a characteristic feature of the Nordic model. Previous research has, however, not to any larger extent examined the role of religion when analysing the work of so-called welfare experts. The article draws attention to importance of Christianity and the Lutheran Church, when analysing the work of a central architect of the Finnish welfare state. The article examines how Waris’ background within the Settlement movement influenced his later academic and social political work. Furthermore, it looks at how Waris dealt with religion, Christianity, the Lutheran Church and faith in his work on social policy and social change. The connection between social policy and Christianity is analysed more closely, both in Waris’ academic texts and the reports he wrote for the Lutheran Church on the challenges of the modern world. PDF