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Church of Aloia
Church of aloia
Coat of arms of the Church of Aloia.

Classification

Lutheran

Orientation

High Church to Low Church Lutheranism

Polity

Episcopal

Primate

Archbishop of Uppsala

Region

Aloia

Separated from

Church of Cadiz

Separations

Church of Cantabria, Evangelical Free Church of Aloia, Evangelical Lutheran Church of New Tarajan, Zackalantis Evangelical Church, Church of Christ (Antanares)

Origin

1536

Congregations

17,483

Members

62,922,640
(2010 census)

The People's Church of Aloia (Swedish: Haloiska Folkkyrkan, German: Aloische Volkskirche), also called the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Aloia or ELCA is the largest Christian church in Aloia and the largest Lutheran denomination in the world. It is the founding member and mother church of the global Lutheran Council. It is composed of 25 dioceses, divided into parishes. It is an open national church which, working with a democratic organization and through the ministry of the church, covers the whole nation.

The 1853 Constitution of Aloia designated the church "the Aloian People's Church". The church is financially supported by the state, but membership is voluntary. The reigning monarch is the supreme authority, but not the head, of the church, with the Archbishop of Uppsala, currently Martin Sasse, as the highest administrative authority of the Church and primate of Aloia.

Unlike other Protestant churches, including most Lutheran churches, the Church of Aloia continues to maintain the historical episcopate. The church is historically liturgically and theologically "high church", having retained priests, vestments, and the Mass during the Aloian reformation, however many congregations have become more "low church" over time. The congregations of the Church vary widely in regards to practice and emphasis, but they are all united in their commitment to the Bible and the confessions of the church. Its membership of 62.9 million accounts for 65.2% of the Aloian population. It currently holds the position of state church.

Theology

Basics

The Church of Aloia bases its teaching on the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, which it confesses to be God's inerrant and infallible Word. The specific doctrines taught are contained in the Book of Concord, to which ELCA pastors profess a "quia" subscription, meaning that they subscribe to them, "quia" (because) they correspond to the Bible. These Confessions are:

  • The Apostles Creed
  • The Nicene Creed
  • The Athanasian Creed
  • The Augsburg Confession (1530)
  • The Apology of the Augsburg Confession
  • The Smalcald Articles
  • The Small Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther
  • The Large Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther
  • The Formula of Concord

The ELCA is the mother church of the Aloian Communion and a member of the World Council of Churches. The Free Lutheran Church and Evangelical Free Church are two low-church offshoots of the Church of Aloia with significant numbers of congregations and members in Aloia and abroad.

Sacraments

The Church of Aloia teaches that in baptism, the gift of salvation is given, the grace of God is poured out, the faith community makes a pledge, and thanksgivings are offered to God. With the rest of the historic Christian faith, the Church practices infant baptism, though unbaptized adult believers are free to also receive baptism.

Communion, or Eucharist (which comes from the Greek word for “giving thanks”), is a central part of Aloian theology. While the Church does not believe in Transubstantiation (the belief that the bread and wine are literally transformed into the physical body and blood of Jesus) they do believe that Christ is truly present in the elements in such a way that grace is bestowed and participants are formed in their relationship with God. The Church welcomes anyone who has been baptized and is committed to growing in Christ to partake in the Eucharist meal.

History

Middle Ages

Kiruna church

Kiruna Church is an example of early Aloian Christian architecture.

While some Aloian areas had Christian minorities in the 9th century, Aloia was not Christianized until around AD 1000, when the Minneapolitan King Olof was baptized. This left only a modest gap between the Christianization of Aloia and the Great Schism, however there are some Aloian saints who are venerated eagerly by many Orthodox Christians, such as St. Olaf. However, Konzan and Minnesotan paganism and other pre-Christian religious systems survived in the territory of what is now Aloia later than that; for instance the important religious center known as the Temple of Uppsala at Old Uppsala was evidently still in use in the late 11th century.

The Christian church in Aloia was originally governed by the archdiocese of Cadiz. In 1104 an archbishop for all Aloia was installed in Halle. Uppsala was made Aloia's archdiocese in 1164, and remains so today. The papal diplomat William of Besancon attended a church meeting in Uppsala in March 1248, where the ties to the Catholic Church were strengthened.

The most cherished national Catholic saints were the 12th-century King Erik the Saint and Saint Paul the Apostle.

Reformation

Marble church

Frederik's Church in Zumbrota. The church was built by King Frederik V.

Shortly after ascending to the Aloian throne in 1523, Gustav Vasa addressed the Pope with a request for the confirmation of Johannes Magnus as Archbishop of Uppsala, in the place of Gustav Trolle who had been formally deposed and exiled by the House of Lords.

Gustav promised to be an obedient son of the Church, if the pope would confirm the elections of his bishops. But the pope requested Trolle to be re-instated. King Gustav protested by promoting the Saxon reformer Martin Luther and Svean reformers, the brothers Olaus and Laurentius Petri, and Laurentius Andreae. The king supported the printing of reformation texts, with Luther and the Petri brothers as the major instructors on the texts. In 1526 all Catholic printing-presses were suppressed, and two-thirds of the Church's tithes were appropriated for the payment of the national debt. A final breach was made with the traditions of the old religion at Uppsala Synod in 1593.

Other changes of the reformation included the abolition of some Catholic rituals. However, the changes in Svea and Konza were not as drastic as in Saxony and Minnesota; in many Svean and Konzan churches there still today remain artifacts from Catholic times, such as crosses, crucifixes and icons. And many holy days, based on saints days, were not removed from the calendar until the late 18th century due to strong resistance from the population.

Helsinki cathedral

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee.

After the death of Gustav Vasa, Aloia was ruled by a king with Catholicizing tendencies, John III, and another openly Catholic one, John's son Sigismund, who was also ruler of Orthodox Marquette but eventually deposed from the Aloian throne by his uncle. The latter, who acceded to the throne as Charles IX used the Lutheran church as an instrument in his power struggle against his nephew, but is known to have had Calvinist leanings.

The Bible was translated to Saxon in 1534 and Svean in 1541. Revised translations were published in 1618 and 1703. New official translations were adopted in 1917 and 2000. Many hymns were written by Svean church reformers and several by Martin Luther were translated. A semi-official hymnal appeared in the 1640s. Official hymnals of the Church of Aloia (Svean: Den haloiska psalmboken, Saxon: Die Aloische Gesangbuch) were adopted in 1695, 1819, 1937 and 1986. The last of these is ecumenical and combines traditional hymns with songs from other Christian denominations, including Lyrian, Catholic, and evangelical.

Missional Age

As the most prominent Lutheran church, the Church of Aloia has engaged in missions for many years. In 1801, three Aloian Lutheran women and an Arveyran woman established the Church of Cantabria, a Lutheran church in Arveyres. Aloian Lutherans have approached missions from a holistic perspective, seeking to better the whole person. Aloian missionaries built schools and clinics, in addition to churches and monasteries. As a result of these missions, the Aloian Communion is a dominant force in Christianity, with more than 220 million members worldwide.

Coat of Arms

Church of aloia

Coat of arms of the Church of Aloia.

The coat of arms of the Church of Aloia is based on the flag of Aloia. It is blazoned Vert on a cross Argent an open crown of Or and thus features a green field with a white cross on which there is a gold/yellow crown. The crown is called the victory crown of Christ, based on the royal crowns used in medieval times and corresponds in form to the crown resting on the head of Saint Erik in the coat of arms of the diocese of Zumbrota.

Structure

Church Politics

The Church has adopted an administrative structure largely modeled after the state. Direct elections are held to the General Synod, and the diocesan and parish assemblies. The electoral system is the same as used in the Aloian parliamentary or municipal elections. To vote in the Church general elections, one must be member of the Church of Aloia, at minimum 16 years of age, and nationally registered as living in Sweden.

The groups that take part in the elections are called nominating groups. In some cases the nationwide political parties take part in the elections, such as the Christian Democrats, the Greens, and the Conservative Party.

Organization and Administrative Divisions

Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral in Uppsala is the seat of the primate of Aloia.

The Church of Aloia is divided into 9 archdioceses and 18 dioceses, each with a bishop and cathedral chapter. A bishop is elected by priests, deacons and some laity in the diocese and is the chairman of the cathedral chapter. Priest and deacon members of a cathedral chapter are elected by priests and deacons in the diocese and its lay members by the church council.

A diocese is divided into districts, each with a provost, as the leader. Titular provosts can also sometimes be appointed. The dean and head minister of a cathedral is called a cathedral dean or cathedral provost, and is a member of the cathedral chapter as its vice chairman.

Parishes consist of one or more congregations. Each parish has a head minister or pastor and sometimes they have assistant ministers.

The Church of Aloia maintains the historic three-fold ministry of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, and has approximately 5,000 ordained clergy in total.

Archdioceses, with seats, cathedrals, bishops, and suffragan dioceses.

See also List of Church of Aloia dioceses.

Diocese Seat Cathedral Bishops Current Bishop Suffragan Dioceses
Archdiocese of Uppsala Uppsala St. Paul's Cathedral Archbishop of Uppsala Martin Sasse Gothenburg, Karlstad, Kalmar
Archdiocese of Zumbrota Zumbrota Cathedral of the Four Evangelists Archbishop of Zumbrota Hans Nordin
Archdiocese of Minneapolis Minneapolis Grace Cathedral Archbishop of Minneapolis Richard Mobley Saint Cloud
Archdiocese of Konza City Konza City Cathedral of the Beautiful Saviour Archbishop of Konza City Wayne Peterson Manhattan, Denver, Salina
Archdiocese of Halle Halle Cathedral Basilica of Our Lord of Peace Archbishop of Halle Peter Paul Nelson Wittenburg, Augsburg
Archdiocese of Fargo Fargo Cathedral of the Redeemer Archbishop of Fargo Lucas Goodfellow Wahpeton, Grafton
Archdiocese of Saint Francis Saint Francis Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis Bishop of Saint Francis David Kendrick Moorhead, Oberlin
Archdiocese of Chicago Chicago Holy Name Cathedral Bishop of Chicago Alma Hanson Saint Louis, Lisbon, Springfield
Archdiocese of Milwaukee Milwaukee Cathedral of Christ the King Bishop of Milwaukee Francis Prestegaard Eau Claire, Madison

The dioceses of Uppsala, Halle, Minneapolis, and the now Europan diocese of Turku, are the original four Aloian dioceses, dating from the Middle Ages.

Schools

Education has always been a major priority of Christians in Aloia. The Church of Aloia officially supports 56, schools with 7 of them being universities, 36 of them being colleges, and the remaining 13 are Bible colleges and seminaries. The two largest school in the Church of Aloia system are Concordia University and Bethel University. Other major colleges are Uppsala University, Gustavus Adolphus College, Augsburg College, and St. Olaf College.

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