Pope Francis has travelled to Sweden for a joint ecumenical commemoration of the start of the Reformation. The Protestant Reformation began 500 years ago and was initiated by Martin Luther in Germany. While in the Scandanavian country today, His Holiness met with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia this afternoon at their residence in Lund.
Their Majesties were also present for the commemorations of the 500th anniversary at Lund Cathedral, which is being held under the theme From Conflict to Communion – Together in Hope. It was organised by the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church.
Before his flight into Sweden, Pope Francis tweeted, “I ask you to please pray that my journey to Sweden might contribute to the unity of all Christians.”
Sweden is a country with a majority Luthern population with less than 2 percent of the Swedish population belonging to the Catholic faith. The Swedish Royal Family belongs to the Church of Sweden, which belongs to the Lutheran denomination. To be in line for the throne, one must be baptised into the Church of Sweden and reside in Sweden for his or her upbringing. If members of the family choose to not profess the faith, they would be excluded from the line of succession.
On 27 April 2015, Queen Silvia, Princess Madeleine, Christopher O’Neill, and Princess Leonore travelled to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis. On this visit, Her Majesty participated in the Trafficking with a Special Focus on Children seminar, which was organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the Swedish Embassy in Rome. Pope Francis’s New Year address was the inspiration for the seminar. During his address on New Year’s Day in 2015, His Holiness described the human trafficking going on in the world as the “slave trade of our time”. He urged everyone to fight to bring an end to the human trafficking.