Open Access

Lutheran Clergy in an Orthodox Empire. The Apppointment of Pastors in the Russo-Swedish Borderland in the 18th Century

   | Oct 15, 2015
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Issue title: The Long History of Lutheranism in Scandinavia. Contemporary Voices in Finnish Historical Research. Issue Editor: Pirjo Markkola


The history of the parishioners’ right to participate in and influence the choice of local clergy in Sweden and Finland can be taken back as far as the late Medieval Times. The procedures for electing clergymen are described in historiography as a specifically Nordic feature and as creating the basis of local self-government. In this article the features of local self-government are studied in a context where the scope for action was being modified. The focus is on the parishioners’ possibilities and willingness to influence the appointment of pastors in the Lutheran parishes of the Russo-Swedish borderlands in the 18th century. At the same time, this article will offer the first comprehensive presentation of the procedures for electing pastors in the Consistory District of Fredrikshamn. The Treaty of Åbo, concluded between Sweden and Russia in 1743, ensured that the existing Swedish law, including the canon law of 1686, together with the old Swedish privileges and statutes, as well as the freedom to practise the Lutheran religion, remained in force in the area annexed into Russia. By analysing the actual process of appointing pastors, it is possible to discuss both the development of the local political culture and the interaction between the central power and the local society in the late Early Modern era.

Publication timeframe:
3 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Theology and Religion, General Topics and Biblical Reception