Another Ecumenical Gesture, This Time in Norway: Lutheran Cathedral Hosts Catholic Ordination

For the first time since the Reformation, a man has been ordained to the Catholic priesthood in Norway’s Nidaros Cathedral, which is built over the burial site of St. Olaf, Norway’s patron saint.

Built from 1070 to 1300, the Romanesque and Gothic Nidaros Cathedral is the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world.  It was a Catholic cathedral until 1527, when it was taken over by the Lutheran Church during the Reformation.

Bishop Bernt Ivar Eisvig, the Catholic bishop of Oslo, ordained 67-year-old Egil Mogstad.  Many Lutherans were in attendance; in fact, Father Mogstad said, “I have my Lutheran friends to thank that I was ordained in the cathedral. I would never have dared to make such a request myself.”  A keen ecumenist, Father Mogstad added, “St Olaf is neither Catholic nor Protestant. He died as a Christian for all of us here in Norway.”

Catholic and Lutheran relations in Norway are very close, and the two faiths share many feasts and celebrations.  Religious education in that nation comes under the broad heading “Ethics and Approach to Life” and does not require teachers to belong to any particular denomination.

Mogstad converted to the Catholic faith in 1976, and pursued religious studies at Oslo University.  After his retirement in 2012, he enrolled at the Institut Catholique in Paris, where he completed his theological studies.

The new priest has his work cut out for him:  The present Catholic church in the Trondheim area is far too small to accommodate the burgeoning Catholic population, especially the Catholic immigrant guest workers who have come from all around the world.  The church is small (holding only 200 people) and is in poor repair; so the parish has five masses on Sunday.  Even still, there is no room for the 5,000 Catholics to attend.  Father Mogstad plans to build a new and larger church which can accommodate his growing congregation.


Source:  The Tablet


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  • That’s a wonderful story. Perhaps I may realize my dream of unification before I pass on from the earthly world. May God make it so.

  • jenny

    it is hope…..