The general synod of the Church of Norway has voted for the first time to radically change the Lutheran church’s relations with the country’s government—a break toward autonomy that may take six years to complete.
A total of 63 out of 85 synod delegates voted in mid-November that the church should no longer be referred to in the country’s constitution as a state or national church, according to the church’s information service.
The Church of Norway’s synod, which has 11 bishops, said it should assume all church authority now resting with the king and the government. Only 19 synod delegates voted to retain the church-state system.
“The synod’s decision is historic,” said Jens Petter Johnsen, director of the Church of Norway national council. “What matters is the relationship between church and people, not between church and state. We will do our utmost to strengthen the service of the church and with our people.”