Oslo Cathedral opens its doors to mourners after lethal attacks

By staff writers
July 24, 2011

Oslo Cathedral has become a significant centre of mourning and reflection following the horror of a car bomb attack and mass shooting in Norway on Friday 22 July 2011.

The Dean of the Cathedral, which is in the Evangelical Lutheran tradition, said that people of no fixed faith, Muslims, and those of other beliefs, as well as Christians, had been coming into the building to take in the terrible events in quietness and to offer prayers.

"People are religious, and part of the response is a religious one," he told BBC television news this evening.

The Cathedral's website declares: "Oslo Cathedral is a church for everyone and has the ambition to be open-minded and traditional at the same time. It is a place where you should feel free to come as you are."

The Oslo Domkirke was previously the Church of Our Saviour (Var Frelsers Kirke) and was re-opened at the end of 2010 after a period of refurbishment. It is the third cathedral on the site.

The Church of Norway is a state church, though its ties and influence have diminished in recent years, partly as a result of a parliamentary re-negotiation of its status in 2008, and partly as a result of the growing secularisation of Norwegian society.

The Church still claims a membership of 80 per cent of the country's population of 4.80 million, and 71 per cent of infants were baptised into it in 2006. However, regular attendance is much lower, around 700,000.

During the Second World War, the Church firmly opposed the Nazi regime and played a vigorous part in the civil resistance throughout the country.

More recently the national Lutheran denomination has made strong statements and actions of support for interreligious understanding and a positive approach to migration.

The largest of the other churches in Norway are are Pentecostals (46,000), the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church (21,000), the Roman Catholic Church (43,600) and the United Methodist Church (12,000).

Christianity came to Norway around 1000 BCE, from the British Isles, Germany and Friesland.

* Oslo Cathedral official website: http://www.oslodomkirke.no/artikler/1183/oslo-cathedral/


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