Church of Norway

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The Church of Norway is the state church of Norway. It has belonged to the Evangelical Lutheran branch of the Christian church since the sixteenth century. Approximately 83% of a population of 4.55 million are members of the church.

The Norwegian constitution defines that "the evangelical-Lutheran religion remains the public religion of the State." The King is the constitutional head of the Church, and he is required to be Lutheran. The King's position is mostly ceremonial, and the administration of the Church is managed by the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs. The Council of State (i.e. the King and seven ministers) is responsible for appointing bishops.

Christianity came to Norway in the ninth century, brought by missionaries from Britain and Germany. Norway was Christianized partly by force, and the victory and death of King Olav Haraldsson at the Battle of Stiklestad (1030) united most of Norway under the Christian faith.

Denmark-Norway became protestant during the reformation in 1537, when King Christian III introduced the Lutheran confession. After the introduction of absolutism in 1660, all clerics were civil servant appointed by the King.