Foto: Maria Lundström

"It's important that religions put an end to conflict"

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At 94 years of age Carl-Gustaf Andrén is one of few people who has living memories of the founding of the Lutheran World Federation in Lund 1947.

Carl-Gustaf Andrén, born 1922. Ordained priest in the Church of Sweden. Professor of Theology at Lund University. Vice-chancellor at Lund University and all universities in Sweden 1977-1980 and University chancellor 1980-1987 at Lund University. Visitor at the Lutheran World Federation Assembly in Lund 1947.

What does it mean to you that the city of Lund is yet again hosting a very special event, the Joint Commemoration?
- For sure this is important to the city of Lund and to the Cathedral that will hence be known all over the world. It's truely remarkable. It's a hugely significant and important event.

- There are a multitude of Churches and denominations in the world. We must strive for unity. Many years of work and effort have been put into the interreligious dialogue. In 1947 the bishop Anders Nygren stressed that the main reason for founding the Lutheran World Federation was ecumenism and the dialogue between the Lutheran and the Catholic church.

What will you be doing on October 31?
- I will be able to experience the whole event. I am invited to the lunch, the prayer service in the Cathedral and also to the meeting in Malmö Arena. I'm very much looking forward to it. I am preparing myself by reading the document that came out of the 1947 meeting and by studying the Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill from February of this year.

What is the bridge between what happened in Lund in 1947 and what will be taking place in 2016?
- In 1947 a greater Lutheran unity was created. The engagement in the ecumenical work intensified. It marked the start of the dialogue between the Lutheran and the Catholic Church. The talks at the time were tough, it was a challenge. The breakthrough came with the Second Vatican Council in the 1960's. It opened new doors and contacts.

- In 2016 Pope Francis is striving for unity in the multitude and the end to conflict. We have more in common than that which divides us. You have to have a long-term perspective on the relations. When communion at the altar will be celebrated jointly we do not know. Maybe future generations will witness this.

- It's important that religions put an end to conflict. I am currently writing about this subject. It interests me. Why do religions split and divide? Are there patterns we can see? The movement from the founding of religions, to division and unity is interesting.

Maria Lundström