Flickor i svarta kåpor tänder ljus i Uppsala domkyrka.
Foto: Mikael Stjernberg /Ikon

Bilateral relations

The Church of Sweden has many bilateral relations with other churches. Through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) it is in fellowship with all the other Lutheran member churches.

The Church of Sweden cooperates in many projects, in particular in aid and development, which are run by departments of the LWF. It also has active bilateral relations with a number of the member churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Ecumenical agreements

In addition, Church of Sweden is in full communion with other churches across the globe through formal ecumenical agreements. Through the Porvoo Agreement of 1994, Church of Sweden is closely linked to Anglican and Lutheran churches in Great Britain and Ireland, the Nordic region, Iberia and the Baltic countries. Moreover, Church of Sweden is in full communion with the Independent church in the Philippines (IFI), the Old Catholic Churches of the Utrecht Union, the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD).

The entry of the Roman Catholic Church into ecumenical cooperation directly after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) impacted greatly both ecumenical theology and ecumenical dialogues. For decades bilateral doctrinal dialogues have been a dominant feature of ecumenical cooperation. The idea of spiritual ecumenism has started to gain ground during past decades. From mid-1990s new forms of cooperation, such as the Global Christian Forum gatherings, have been developed to facilitate new forms of participation in the ecumenical movement. 

Dialogues on important theological questions

At the national level the Church of Sweden and the Methodist Church in Sweden have an agreement on fellowship in word and sacrament, acknowledging each other’s ministries. A similar agreement with the Swedish Mission Covenant Church was signed in 2006.

A theological dialogue with the Baptist Union of Sweden in three rounds of talks was conducted 1998-2010. The Church of Sweden and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockholm have conducted a number of dialogues since the 1960’s on important theological questions.

The latest result is the document Justification in the Life of the Church (2010), which was produced as a follow-up to the international Joint Declaration on Justification (1999 from the Vatican and LWF) by a group representing the afore-mentioned and in addition the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helsinki. 

Church relations in Sweden

Church of Sweden relates to other churches across Sweden, primarily through the Christian Council of Sweden but also on a bilateral level.

In 2016, the General Synod decided to sign an agreement of ecumenical cooperation with the Uniting Church in Sweden (Equmeniakyrkan). The latter was established in 2011 as a result of a merger of three Reformed, Methodist and Baptist churches in Sweden. The present agreement does not imply full communion between the Church of Sweden and the Uniting Church in Sweden but encourages and enables congregations to work closely together in the localities.

Various forms of cooperation exist with the Copting Orthodox Church, Syrian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Pentecostals in Sweden.