First archbishop ready to retire

Helga Haugland Byfuglien officially took over after King Harald V as head of the newly independent Norwegian Church when church and state were separated eight years ago. Now Byfuglien is about to turn 70, and says she’s ready to step down as the equivalent of Norway’s first archbishop. “There’s nothing dramatic about this,” Byfuglien told […]

No options for her royal confirmation

The daughter of Crown Prince Haakon was set to undergo Norwegian teenagers’ rite of passage this weekend, known as konfirmasjon. While record few now choose a church confirmation, opting instead for a civil ceremony or none at all, Princess Ingrid Alexandra has no choice, and some commentators think that’s a problem. The Royal Palace announced […]

Catholics must pay for fraud

Norway’s Supreme Court has refused to hear another appeal from the Catholic Church in Oslo, which was accused of fraudulently inflating membership numbers in order to receive more state funding. That means the Catholics must refund around NOK 100 million in taxpayer support. Norwegian taxpayers provide financial support to all religious groups based on membership […]

Schools urged to offer Christmas services

Norway’s education ministry is urging all schools around the country to offer religious services to their students before the Christmas holidays, or an alternative for students who don’t want to take part in Norwegian (Lutheran) Church services. “It’s great that so many schools already offer students a visit to church in connection with Christmas,” Education […]

‘No discrimination’ of Muslim teacher

Norway’s state anti-discrimination board has ruled that an Oslo school did not discriminate against a Muslim man when it refused to renew his substitute teaching contract. He had refused to shake hands with female colleagues or parents, but the board ruled that his refusal in turn threatened gender equality. “If we are to make conservative […]

Norway’s first Hindu temple rises in Oslo

It’s been eight years since the City of Oslo agreed to sell two lots to religious organizations, one for a mosque at Mortensrud and another to Norway’s Hindu Cultural Center at Rommen, both on the city’s east side. Now the Hindu temple is finally under construction. “This is a big project that will cost nearly […]

Muslim teacher claims discrimination

A Muslim man who lost his job as a substitute teacher at an Oslo elementary school has filed a discrimination complaint with state authorities. He claims his contract wasn’t renewed on religious grounds, because of his refusal to greet women with a handshake. “Folks think that’s because I look down on women,” the man, who’s […]

‘Retired’ bishop rallies for peace

Gunnar Stålsett, the retired bishop of Oslo, spent much of his career championing peace and reconciliation, also as a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. At an age of 83 he’s still promoting peace while traveling the globe, and feels he recently made some progress in Myanmar along with a large delegation from the New […]

Cash is king at most confirmations

Norwegian teenagers going through the rite of passage known as konfirmasjon (confirmation) have been caught boasting about all the money they’re given in gifts. Their claims on social media, often accompanied by photos showing them fingering lots of cash, paint an unflattering picture of greed and anything but the maturity confirmation is literally supposed to […]

Oslo’s new bishop hails open church

It seemed only fitting that the new Bishop of Oslo would be ordained on the Sunday before Christmas. Kari Veiteberg, who’s been called Norway’s version of Pope Francis, upholds the holiday tradition of extending good will all year round and now has reason to celebrate. Veiteberg is Oslo’s 32nd Lutheran bishop since the Reformation but […]