Chritanization of the North -Theology and Archaeology
The Christianization of Northern Europe and Scandinavia was a prolonged process which lasted for centuries and fundamentally changed landscapes, institutions and mentalities. With the Christian church came new forms of administration, new concepts of ruler and people, a new written culture, and new and firmer contacts to the Christian centres of Europe. With the new faith came also new answers to fundamental questions about death, salvation, justice, warfare, slavery, misery and triumph.
In the Middle Ages the Nordic countries were transit areas between East and West and influenced both by the Latin, Roman church via Germany and England and by the Byzantine, Orthodox church via Kiev. It was only with the crusading movement from the twelfth century on and through the rest of the Middle Ages that the Nordic countries became more firmly attached to Rome.
The exact dating of the coming of Christianity to countries in Scandinavia has been much discussed, and archaeological research has both provided new material and prompted new discussions. The combined efforts of archaeology, documentary history and religious studies have proved especially fruitful in recent years, facilitating many new perspectives and revisions of older opinions.
A number of major research projects have been conducted in recent years on the Christianization of individual Nordic countries, and it is time, therefore, to discuss and compare the results of these projects on a pan-Nordic scale. The symposium in Odense will bring together leading scholars from Russia, Estonia, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark who will report on the current state of research.