Monday, 16 March 2015

Episode 15: Gustav Eriksson Vasa becomes king and reforms the church

The rebellion against Christian II was eventually successful and Gustav Eriksson Vasa was elected king of Sweden on June 6th 1523. To manage the war, Sweden had had to rely on support from Lübeck and was heavily indebted to the city. King Gustav looked to the church for resources - first by demanding all church silver and control of the tithe - then, through decisions taken at a parliament in 1527- by more firmly breaking the economic and plitical power of the church. The king however tread more carefully when it came to matters of faith and of tradition, neither forbidding nor demanding the old ways to be kept up. A formal decision, again made by parliament, that Sweden was an evangelical kingdom was made in 1544. Even then churches were not really changed and thus still look as if they are catholic churches. In comparison to other countries, reformation here was a fairly peacful affair, probably because it was done gradually and not really for religios reasons. On the other hand, religious complaints played a part in the many rebellionsduring the reign of king Gustav - but that must wait until the next episode.