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Continental European Protestantism

Lutheran Church of Iceland

Doctrines The Lutheran Church of Iceland basis its theology on the foundational doctrines of Lutheranism: namely, justification by grace through faith; the sole authority of Scripture; the priesthood of all believers; and the three sacraments of penance, baptism and the Lord's supper.

History Iceland was discovered by Celtic monks in about 800. These were followed by settlers from Norway who the Althingi, the Icelandic parliament. The religion of these settlers was Asatru, a polytheistic religion which contained elements of magic and animism. This pre-Christian religion was challenged by the work of Christian missionaries from Norway who were supported by the Norwegian monarch. As a consequence of this continued missionary activity, in the year 1000 Christianity was established as the national religion.
The Icelandic church and people remained independent until 1262, when the country came under the rule of Norway and then, in the 1380, that of Denmark. With the ascendancy of the Reformation in Denmark, the church in Iceland came within the Lutheran fold. The Reformation saw the beginning of a long period of hardship for Iceland and its church. The church came increasingly under the power of the crown, and in the 18th century the church found itself on the defensive in the face of Enlightenment rationalism.
In 1874 a new constitution was established which allowed for freedom of religion. This enabled the Roman Catholic Church to return to Iceland and encouraged other Protestant denominations to establish themselves in the country. The Lutheran church itself underwent a revival during this period, expressed in the establishment of a new theological college in 1874 and the church's involvement with various social and humanitarian activities.

Symbols To my knowledge, the Lutheran Church of Iceland does not identify itself through a distinct logos. Churches tend to have simple white walls with a cross on the inside.

Adherents About 90 per cent of the population of Iceland belong to the Lutheran church.

Main Centre
 Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, Biskupsstofa, Laugavegur 31, 150 Reykjavik