What kind of Church is this?

That is probably the most common question I get as a minister in the Cathedral. The simple answer is that the Church of Sweden is a Protestant Lutheran Church. But even knowing this you might get confused when you visit the Cathedral and the Holy Communion Service in English. If you are a Methodist you might for example recognize the first part of our order of worship as taken from the Methodist church. If you are a Catholic you might notice the statue of Mary in the corner. If you are an Orthodox you immediately see the Icons in the middle of the Church. If you are an Anglican you are probably familiar with the way ministers dress. Visiting the Cathedral you might even come across the smell incense and see service that follow the Liturgy of the hours the same way it is done in convents. So what is going on here? There are several answers. First; when the reformation came the Swedish king decided that the whole of Sweden would follow the teachings of Luther. There was no Catholic opposition. In other places, like Germany and Holland, the Lutheran church met constant opposition from the catholic church and therefore felt the need to distance itself from everything Catholic. In Sweden, and the same goes for England, there was no such need, so the Church of Sweden keep certain things that Lutherans in for example Germany associate with the Catholic church. That is why protestants from mainland Europe often find the Church of Sweden and the Anglican church to be slightly “Catholic” when it comes to how ministers dress and other things. Another part of the answer is that our Church is a Cathedral – a building that by definition is “All-Christian” or ecumenical if you will. We like to bring in many different parts of our Christian heritage into our church to point out our connection with all of Christianity. That is also why last summer I had a wedding together with a Catholic priest and this summer together with an orthodox priest. So the best answer to the question – what kind of Church is this – is probably; We are a open church welcoming everyone!