Project Canterbury

The Church of England and the Churches of Norway, Denmark and Iceland
Report of the Commitee Appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1951

Guildford: Billing, 1952

1. Introduction

2. Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, with Recommendations.

3. Appendix I
A Brief Account of the Relation of the Churches of Norway, Denmark, and Iceland to other Lutheran Churches and of the Derivation of the Present Episcopate in those Churches.

4. Appendix II
A Statement of the Present Relations of the Church of England to the Churches of Sweden and Finland, and also to the Churches of Latvia and Estonia.

5. Appendix III
Minutes of the Conference.


THE Committee which presents this Report owes its origin to the Lambeth Conference of 1948 which, by its Resolution 69, welcomed "the steady growth in friendship between the Scandinavian Churches and the Anglican Communion", and, after having reviewed the progress of relations between the Church of England and the Churches of Sweden, Finland, Latvia, and Estonia (cf. Resolutions 69-71), passed the following Resolution 72:

The Conference requests the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a committee to confer with a similar committee or committees representing the Churches of Norway, Denmark, and Iceland, for the purpose of considering the relations of these Churches with the Anglican Communion.

As had been noted in the report of the Lambeth Conference's Committee on the Unity of the Church (para. V ad fin.), "a joint conference of representatives of the Churches of Denmark and Iceland (with observers from the Church of Norway) was held in Chichester in October 1947 to discuss the possibility of closer relationships." The discussions which then took place, and the personal contacts then made, proved to be of considerable assistance to the new Committee which was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, in accordance with Resolution 72, and which met in conference with representatives of the Churches of Norway, Denmark, and Iceland at Oslo in March 1951.

The members of this Conference were:


The Reverend Canon A. M. Ramsey, Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge.
The Reverend Doctor W. Telfer, Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge.
The Reverend Doctor S. L. Greenslade, Van Mildert Professor of Divinity, Durham.
The Reverend Doctor Alan Richardson, Canon of Durham.
The Reverend J. R. Porter, Fellow and Chaplain of Oriel College, Oxford.


The Right Reverend E. Berggrav, Oslo, Chairman.
The Reverend Professor E. Molland, University of Oslo.
The Reverend J. Smidt, Oslo.


The Right Reverend Doctor Skat Hoffmeyer, Bishop of Aarhus.
The Very Reverend Doctor P. Brodersen, Dean of Copenhagen.
The Reverend Professor R. Prenter, University of Aarhus.


The Reverend Jakob Jonsson, Reykjavik.

The Bishop of Chichester had been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to be leader of the Church of England Committee, but was unfortunately prevented by illness from attending the Conference. The Reverend Professor A. M. Ramsey took his place, at His Grace's request.

The Report which follows is contained in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury from the members of the Church of England Committee, and ends with three Recommendations. After the Report there are three Appendices. The first, by Professor S. L. Greenslade, gives a brief account of the relation of the Churches of Norway, Denmark, and Iceland to other Lutheran Churches, and of the derivation of the present episcopate in those Churches. The second, kindly prepared by the Reverend H. M. Waddams,1 sets out the relation of the Church of England to the Churches of Sweden and Finland, and also to the Churches of Latvia and Estonia. The third gives the Minutes of the meeting at Oslo.


The Rev. H. M. Waddams was also appointed a member of the delegation but at the last moment was unable to attend the conference.



The Committee which Your Grace appointed to hold conversations with representatives of the Churches of Denmark, Norway, and Iceland begs to make the following Report.

The Conference was held in Oslo from March 28111-31st under the chairmanship of Dr Berggrav. To the great regret of the whole Conference the Bishop of Chichester was prevented by illness from being present. We received the kindest hospitality throughout our visit, and were very conscious of the warm feeling towards our country and Church. The Conference faced points of difficulty with frankness, and was marked by a growing spirit of mutual trust and friendship. At the conclusion it was decided that a Joint Report should not be issued, but that each delegation should make its own Report to the authorities of its own Church. Accordingly we make the present Report to Your Grace; and in it it is our purpose to emphasize the very large extent of agreement between our Churches, to state how the Conference viewed the chief points of difference, to mention some matters upon which the Scandinavian representatives were anxious for their views to be made known, and to make practical recommendations.

I. The Conference reviewed the previous examination of the doctrinal position of the Churches which had been made at the Conference at Chichester in October 1947, and found that the Churches of Denmark, Norway, and Iceland are in agreement with the Church of England in the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. Each of these Churches accepts the Holy Scriptures as the supreme standard of faith. Each of them uses the Apostles' Creed as the baptismal confession of belief, and the Nicene Creed as a document of the faith. Each of them accepts the divinely instituted sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion ministered with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution and of the elements ordained by him. Furthermore, there was agreement that the Confessio Augustana and the formularies of the Church of England concur in affirming Justification by Faith, and it appeared that the Lutheran members of the Conference were satisfied that there is no place in Anglican teaching for any doctrine of the meriting of grace by good works.

There was also some examination of the sacramental life and practice of our Churches, and the extent of the similarity seemed to us to be impressive. In view of divergences in connection with Confirmation we sought information about the practice of Confirmation in the Lutheran Churches; and their representatives concurred in the following brief description of Lutheran doctrine and usage: "In the Churches of Denmark, Norway, and Iceland Confirmation is a solemn ceremony administered not by the bishop but by the parish priest. It includes the laying-on-of-hands and prayer for the perseverance of the candidates in faith, and in the grace of the Holy Spirit; and it is preceded by thorough instruction and preparation. The gift of the Holy Spirit is not specifically connected with this rite; for the gift of the Holy Spirit is definitely associated with Holy Baptism. It was suggested by the Lutherans at the Conference that since the rite of Baptism in the Lutheran Churches contains a laying-on-of-hands, this in a sense resembles the combined Baptism and Confirmation of infants in the Eastern Orthodox Church."

2. The serious difference within the Conference was, as was expected, concerning the nature of Episcopal Succession. It was clear to us that the Lutheran Churches represented in the Conference set a high value upon the office of the bishop in the Church with his functions as chief pastor, as guardian of the faith, as an organ of unity, and as (save in very rare circumstances) the minister of ordination. It was also clear to us that the continuity of bishop succeeding bishop in each see is highly valued as an element in the continuity of the Church. The difficulty concerns the continuity of succession by consecration.

It was submitted to us that the breach of succession by episcopal consecration at the Reformation was made deliberately, since it appeared at the time to be the only way of recovering the office of bishop from corruptions which totally distorted its character. Hence the Lutheran Churches are unwilling to think that succession by consecration is an essential element in the continuity of the ministry and the Church. Such a phrase as "restoring the succession" to a Scandinavian Church is strongly resented, since these Churches hold that they possess succession in the most important sense whether or no they preserved (as did the Church of Sweden) continuity of episcopal consecration at the Reformation period.

Against this background there was some discussion of the possibility of acts of interchange between Churches in the consecration of a bishop. It was pointed out to us that there might be a welcome for such acts as a fraternal gesture between Churches which already recognized each other's ministries, without any reserve; but that there could at present be little welcome for such acts and there was indeed a good deal of suspicion of them since they might be taken by Anglicans to mean a "conferring" of succession upon a Church which had "lost" it. This point was put to us very strongly. Reference was made in this connection to the participation of a Swedish bishop in a Finnish consecration; and it was said that whereas this was not regarded by the Scandinavian Churches as in any way affecting the status of the Church concerned, it had been referred to by Anglicans as evidence for a "restoration" of succession. The Scandinavian representatives felt that an inter-consecration of bishops between Churches could only be undertaken as a deliberate spiritual act on the part of the Churches concerned with clear knowledge and understanding of what was implied.

The Anglican representatives on their part acknowledged that succession by consecration was but one element in the continuity of the Church, but explained that it is an element which the Anglican Churches are bound to cherish for the sake of the whole Church.

In spite of differences upon the ministry the Conference showed a will and a desire to pursue the subject further in the hope that each Church might gain a greater knowledge of views which are held and of theological work which has been done within the other Churches. It was agreed that the terms "continuity", "succession", "historic episcopate", contain a number of elements which call for examination in connection with the doctrine of the Church. At Bishop Berggrav's suggestion a group of three was nominated to carry out further investigation and to enable the exchange of historical and theological material upon the subject.

3. There was some discussion upon the question of Intercommunion. On the Scandinavian side the conviction was strongly expressed that intercommunion between Churches ought not to be deferred until the differences about Church order were solved, since the Eucharist is the action of Christ who is above and beyond our differences. On the Anglican side it was acknowledged that there were precedents for members of the Church of England receiving Holy Communion in foreign Protestant Churches and for members of foreign Protestant Churches receiving Holy Communion in the Church of England; but it was also stated that recent agreements concerning intercommunion between Anglican and other Churches have been on the basis of the Lambeth Quadrilateral.

4. There was considerable discussion concerning the reception of Scandinavian communicants to Holy Communion in England, and the Scandinavian representatives drew attention to inconsistencies in Anglican practice in recent years. The resolution adopted by the Upper Houses of Convocation in 1933 has sometimes been applied to Scandinavian Churchmen; but sometimes the permission has been refused. We were asked to note that great distress has been caused in the Scandinavian Churches by this inconsistency. We would ourselves submit that, if the reception of Scandinavian communicants is to be governed by this limitation, it is urgent that the principles governing the limitation should be more generally agreed between the bishops, and that steps should be taken to secure a fuller knowledge both of the Churches concerned and of the resolutions of Convocation, feut, as the final paragraph of this Report will show, we recommend the admittance of Scandinavian communicants without this limitation.

5. We conclude this Report by mentioning the recommendations which we understand are being made by the Scandinavian representatives to their own Churches, and the recommendations which we as the Anglican representatives would submit to Your Grace. We understand that the Scandinavian representatives are reporting to their own Churches that in their view Anglican ministers should be admitted to preach and minister in their Churches with the same freedom as Lutheran ministers: i.e. without, in the case of Norway, the need for a preliminary permission from the State Department for Church Affairs.

We also understand that the Scandinavian representatives are recommending that Anglican communicants be freely welcomed to receive Holy Communion in their Churches, though we have pointed out the limitations which exist to the acceptance of this by Anglicans.

6. On our own part we would submit the following Recommendations to Your Grace:

(I) That the Report of the Anglican-Norwegian-Danish-Icelandic Conference held in Oslo in 1951 be commended to the sympathetic attention and careful study of the Church.

(2) That communicants in good standing in the Churches of Norway, Denmark, and Iceland be made welcome to receive Holy Communion in the Church of England.

(3) That the Archbishop of Canterbury be asked to secure a continuation of the discussions between these Churches.

A. M. RAMSEY (Chairman).
25 July 1951.

Appendix I

A Brief Account of the Relation of the Churches of Norway, Denmark, and Iceland to Other Lutheran Churches and of the Derivation of the Present Episcopate in Those Churches
By S. L. Greenslade

THE Churches of Norway, Denmark, and Iceland are all Lutheran Churches. They are in communion with other Lutheran Churches, whether episcopal or non-episcopal, and they are members of the Lutheran World Federation. At the same time, while sharing a common Lutheran tradition, each is the national Church of its country. In the words of the Lambeth Conference's Committee on Unity, "they all claim to be historic Churches with a sound liturgy and doctrine; and they all stoutly maintain their continuity with the pre-Reformation Church in their respective countries." One link in this continuity has been the preservation of the office of bishop, although these Churches differ from the equally Lutheran Church of Sweden in that their bishops are not technically in the Apostolic Succession as that is understood in "catholic" theology. The present episcopate derives from the consecration of seven bishops for Denmark and Norway in 1537 by the Lutheran Bugenhagen, himself in priest's orders and parish priest of Wittenberg.

Since 1519, for reasons partly political and economic and partly religious, there had been much strife in both Denmark and Norway between the king and the episcopate. Frederick I's suggestion, in 1526, that Danish bishops should seek confirmation from the Archbishop of Lund instead of from the Pope had been accepted by the bishops and nobles of Denmark, but had broken down in practice. The See of Lund was occupied, after a long vacancy, by a priest, without episcopal consecration; and two other sees were similarly held. In 1536 all the Danish bishops, including those in priest's orders, were imprisoned by Christian III. The Recess of 30 October thereupon decreed that they should be deposed, that no bishops should be appointed henceforth ad imperium ecclesiasticum in regno exercendum, but that other pious and Christian-mannered episcopi seu superintendentes should be ordained whose office should be to instruct the multitude and lead the peoples (coetus) committed to them to the true faith by expounding the Gospel and the Word of God. The Ordinatio Ecclesiastica (Kirkeordinants) which was accepted in 1537 preserved the distinct offices of episcopus and presbyter and provided a form for the ordination of a superintendent (i.e. bishop).

It was on the basis of this Ordinance and on the day of its appearance that the consecration by Bugenhagen took place. It was therefore clear that the seven men, who were most of them if not all in priest's orders, were being ordained to something more than the presbyterate. Though the breach in succession by episcopal consecration was probably intentional, the Ordinance was plainly intended to reform the existing Church, and not to create a new one.

Since that time the Church of Denmark has preserved the office of bishop and the succession by and in office. Priests are ordained by the bishops, with priests assisting. A bishop is consecrated by a consecrating bishop, with other bishops (sometimes, but not necessarily) and priests assisting, with the laying-on-of-hands and with prayer to the Lord "that Thou wilt of Thy Grace accept this Thy servant who is presented for the office of Bishop in the Church. Give him Thy Holy Ghost rightly to discharge his office."

Norway lost its liberties and became a province of Denmark in 1536. The bishops were deposed, except the Bishop of Oslo who was reinstated (he died without giving rise to a succession by consecration), and the Bishop-elect of Bergen went to Denmark to receive consecration from Bugenhagen. Norway accepted the Ordinatio Ecclesiastica and has maintained the episcopal office and the succession in office. A bishop is consecrated by a bishop with the co-operation of the provost of the cathedral and five parish priests. The ordaining bishop, having received the promises of the ordinand, says: "So I deliver to thee the holy Bishop's office with the right and authority which appertain to an overseer according to God's Word and the order of our Church." There follows the laying-on-of-hands with prayer to God: "Give him Thy Holy Spirit, so that he may discharge his office to the building of Thy Church. . . .Fill him with vigilant love, so that he may faithfully discharge oversight of the congregations and their priests."

Iceland has now only one diocese, but two vice-bishops are consecrated, one of whom consecrates the new Bishop of Iceland in a vacancy. Here also the office and the succession in office have been preserved, and the ordination of presbyters is episcopal.

Though these Churches do not claim to possess the episcopal succession by consecration, in the "catholic" sense, much store is set upon the episcopal office and its continuity; and since these facts are little known in England, it is to be desired that they will be kept in mind by all who study the present report or who have to take decisions concerning the relations between the Churches of Norway, Denmark, and Iceland, and the Church of England.

Appendix II

A Statement of the Present Relations of the Church of England to the Churches of Sweden and Finland and Also to the Churches of Latvia and Estonia
By H. M. Waddams

Church of Sweden

A COMMISSION was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr Davidson) in March 1909 in pursuance of the following resolution of the Lambeth Conference of 1908:

"74. This Conference heartily thanks the Archbishop of Upsala for his letter of friendly greeting, and for sending his honoured colleague, the Bishop of Kalmar, to confer with its members on the question of the establishment of an alliance of some sort between the Swedish and Anglican Churches. The Conference respectfully desires the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a Commission to correspond further with the Swedish Church through the Archbishop of Upsala on the possibility and conditions of such an alliance."

The Commission held conference with leading members of the Church of Sweden under the leadership of the Archbishop of Upsala from 21 to 23 September 1909, and eventually reported1 as follows:

"We are convinced by the evidence which has been before us:

"(i) That the succession of bishops has been maintained unbroken by the Church of Sweden, and that it has a true conception of the episcopal office, though it does not as a whole consider the office to be so important as most English Churchmen do;

"(2) That the office of priest is also rightly conceived as a divinely instituted instrument for the ministry of the Word and Sacraments, and that it has been in intention handed on throughout the whole history of the Church of Sweden. The change in language introduced in 1811, which continued in use until 1894, does not appear to us to have vitiated the intention, when regard is paid to other documents which remained in authority and throughout testified to that intention. For example, this intention is manifested in the Augustana Confessio, Articles V and VII and elsewhere, both in the Prayer Book itself and in Church Law.

"We are, therefore, agreed to recommend that a resolution should be proposed, either to the next Lambeth Conference or to a meeting of the English bishops, similar to that which was adopted by the Lambeth Conference of 1888 in reference to the Old Catholics of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, under which members of the National Church of Sweden, otherwise qualified to receive the Sacrament in their own Church, might be admitted to Holy Communion in ours."

The Commission made no recommendations as to the question of Anglicans communicating in Sweden, as it plainly regarded this as a matter for the Church of Sweden. The report stated: "We do not think it part of our duty to suggest what action the Swedish Church should be expected to take in response to it."

The recommendations of the Commission were considered by the Lambeth Conference of 1920. The Conference adopted the conclusions of the Commission on the Ministry of the Swedish Church and recommended: "That members of that Church, qualified to receive the Sacrament in their own Church, should be admitted to Holy Communion in ours. It also recommends that on suitable occasions permission should be given to Swedish ecclesiastics to give addresses in our churches." A further recommendation was made that if an Anglican bishop were to be asked to take part in the consecration of a Swedish bishop, such invitation should be accepted.

In response to the decisions of the Lambeth Conference it was stated on the Swedish side: "We express our joy over the above-mentioned decision of the Anglican bishops, and on our part we see no obstacle in the way of the admission to Holy Communion in our Church of members of the Anglican Church, who are properly qualified for Communion, and also we consider that on suitable occasions permission may be given to Anglican priests to speak in our churches and officiate at sacred functions."

Since 1920 many Swedish ecclesiastics have preached in Anglican churches, and Anglican ecclesiastics in Swedish churches. Further, Anglican bishops took part in the consecration of two Swedish bishops in Upsala Cathedral on 19 September 1920, and have taken part on later occasions. A Swedish bishop took part in the consecration of three Anglican bishops in Canterbury Cathedral on 1 November 1927.

These arrangements have not been formally considered by the Houses of Convocation of the Provinces of Canterbury and York.


Formal discussions with the Church of Finland also sprang out of a Lambeth Conference resolution. The Committee of the Conference of 1930, which had considered the matter of relations with the Church of Finland had reported:

"That when it was thought favourable a letter should be addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Archbishop of Finland, proposing that a Commission should be appointed to discuss relations."

The Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr Lang) appointed such a Commission which met members of the Church of Finland on two occasions, the first at Lambeth Palace on 5 and 6 October 1933, and the second at Brando in Finland on 17 and 18 July 1934.

The reports of these Conferences are readily available in print and it is therefore unnecessary to refer to them at such length as in the case of the Conference with the Church of Sweden.

The succession of bishops was maintained unbroken in the Church of Finland until 1884 when all three bishops died in the same year. It was impossible to renew the succession then owing to political conditions which prevented a Swedish bishop from going to consecrate new bishops. The Conference with the Church of Finland made certain limited recommendations as follows:

"1. That if the Archbishop of Turku (Åbo) shall invite the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a bishop to take part in the consecration of a bishop in the Church of Finland, he shall commission a bishop for such a purpose; and in the same way, if the Archbishop of Canterbury shall ask the Archbishop of Turku (Åbo) to appoint a bishop to take part in the consecration of a bishop in the Church of England, he shall commission a bishop for such a purpose.

"2. The Anglican delegation recommends the admission of communicants of the Church of Finland to Communion in the Church of England, and takes note of the fact that the Church of Finland is already accustomed to admit to Communion at its altars communicants not belonging to the Lutheran confession.

"3. That if at the time of the Lambeth Conference or at any other time there shall be a conference between bishops of the Anglican Communion and bishops of other Churches in communion with it, bishops of the Church of Finland shall be asked to attend it, and that the Church of Finland shall invite Anglican bishops to similar conferences if they are held in the future."


On 24 January 1935 both Houses of the Convocation of York agreed:

"That this House receives and approves the Report of the Committee on the relations of the Church of England and the Church of Finland, and requests the President in conjunction with the President of the Convocation of Canterbury to take such steps as they may think fit to carry out the recommendations of the Report."


On 6 June 1935 the following resolutions were passed by the Convocation of Canterbury:

By both Houses:

"(B) Having learnt from the Archbishop of Turku (Åbo) that he has authority, after consultation with the Conference of bishops of the Church of Finland and with the agreement of its Church Assembly, to seek closer relations with the Church of England in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury's invitation (conveyed in pursuance of Resolution 38 of the Lambeth Conference, 1930), this House welcomes the approaches thus made, and expresses the hope that in due course complete intercommunion, based on a common episcopal ministry, may be achieved.

"Further, and as a means towards such a complete unity, this House, noting that the Episcopal Ordination of Presbyters is the regular practice of the Church of Finland, and assuming that the bishops of the Church will take steps to put the practice of the Church of Finland beyond doubt-----"

By the Upper House:

"approves the following recommendations:

"That if the Archbishop of Canterbury be invited by the Archbishop of Turku (Åbo) to appoint a bishop to take part in the consecration of a bishop in the Church of Finland, he may commission a bishop for such a purpose; and in the same way, if the Archbishop of Canterbury shall invite the Archbishop of Turku (Åbo) to take part in the consecration of a bishop in the Church of England, it is hoped that he will be willing to commission a bishop for such a purpose.

"That members of the Church of Finland may be admitted to Communion in the Church of England, provided that they are at that time admissible to Communion in their own Church."

By the Lower House: "(B) . . . is of opinion:

"That if the Archbishop of Turku (Åbo) shall invite the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a bishop to take part in the consecration of a bishop in the Church of Finland, he may commission a bishop for such a purpose.

"That members of the Church of Finland may be admitted to Communion in the Church of England in accordance with the Resolution 2 (a) on the Unity of the Church communicated by the Upper House of this House on 4 June 1931."


A Conference was held in Lambeth Palace in March 1935 between a Commission appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and representatives from the Churches of Latvia and Estonia. In 1938 this Conference was continued in Riga, Latvia, and in Tallinn, Estonia.

The whole Conference adopted a joint report which contained the following recommendations:

"1. That if the Archbishop of Latvia or the Bishop of Estonia shall invite the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a bishop to take part in the consecration of a bishop in either of the Churches of Latvia or Estonia, he shall commission a bishop for such a purpose; and, in the same way, if the Archbishop of Canterbury shall ask the Archbishop of Latvia and the Bishop of Estonia to appoint a bishop to take part in the consecration of a bishop in the Church of England, they shall commission a bishop for such a purpose.

"2. The Anglican delegation recommends the admission of communicants of the Churches of Latvia and Estonia to Communion in the Church of England, and takes note of the fact that, as it is stated, the Churches of Latvia and Estonia would be ready to admit to Communion at their altars communicant members of the Church of England."

The Conference further recommends:

"3. That if at the time of the Lambeth Conference or at any other time there shall be a conference between bishops of the Anglican Communion and bishops of other Churches in communion with it, bishops of the Churches of Latvia and Estonia shall be asked to attend it, and that the Churches of Latvia and Estonia shall invite Anglican bishops to similar conferences if they are held in the future.

"4. That the Anglican clergy should be ready to baptize and marry members of the Latvian and Estonian Evangelical Churches in England or in any British colony, and that the clergy of Latvia and Estonia should perform like functions for members of the Anglican Church who have not access to an Anglican clergyman. It is to be desired also that they provide certificates of Baptism and Marriage."

The resolutions of the Houses of Convocation upon these recommendations differed from one another. The Upper House of the Convocation of York and the Upper House of the Convocation of Canterbury adopted the recommendations above except for one or two verbal changes. The Lower House of the Convocation of York postponed discussion of the topic after receiving the Report with sympathy. It was postponed eventually until after the annexation of the Baltic States by Russia at the beginning of the Second World War, and the matter was never again considered.

The Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury passed the following resolutions on 23 May 1939:

"1. That this House welcomes the approaches made by the Archbishop of Latvia and the Bishop of Estonia to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and expresses the hope that in due course complete intercommunion, based on a common faith and a common episcopal ministry, may be achieved.

"2. The House is of the opinion that in the meanwhile: (a) if the Archbishop of Latvia or the Bishop of Estonia shall invite the Archbishop of Canterbury to take part in the consecration of a bishop in either one of their Churches, he may commission a bishop for the purpose; (b) members of the Churches of Latvia and Estonia may be admitted to Communion in the Church of England in accordance with the terms of Resolution 2 (a) on the Unity of the Church communicated by the Upper House to this House on 4 June 1931.

"3. That this House expresses the hope that if, at the time of the Lambeth Conference in 1940, any conference of Anglican bishops with representatives of other Churches in friendly relations with the Church of England be held, the Archbishop of Latvia and the Bishop of Estonia be invited to take part in such a conference.

"4. That this House is of the opinion that the clergy of the Church of England should be ready to solemnize the marriages of members of the Latvian and Estonian Churches in England or in any British colony and to baptize their children. When this is done, or when like offices are performed for members of the Church of England by ministers of the Latvian or Estonian ' .* Churches, care should be taken to inform the competent authority of each Church concerning what has taken place."


Oslo. Thursday, 29 March 1951, 10 a.m.


Bishop Berggrav welcomed the delegates as follows:

Dear fellows and brethren from the Church of England, from Denmark, and from Iceland.

On behalf of the Norwegian Bishops' Conference, which has nominated me to be their representative in this Conference, I greet all of you as our guests.

As is well known, this meeting has been summoned as a result of the resolution adopted by the Lambeth Conference 1948, which reads:

"The Conference requests the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a committee to confer with a similar committee or committees representing the Churches of Norway, Denmark, and Iceland, for the purpose of considering the relations of these Churches with the Anglican Communion."

In a letter of n October 1949 His Grace writes to me: "The problem which concerns us all is how to find our way back to a full and unfettered and unrestricted interchange in the life of our separate communions. . . . On this level there is abundant room for close and friendly discourse. We have by no means reached a final relation with the Churches of Sweden and Finland, but as a result of discussion an interim position has been reached. . . . The discussions are for exploration that we may know each others' minds. ... At this stage that is all that is in contemplation."

So I may hope that we shall be able to have some fruitful discussions. To my mind the crucial question between our Churches is the valuation of tradition as above or below or even beside Holy Scripture. We may never reach an agreement on this question, but we may find a way leading us to more understanding of each others' view. When Canon Greenslade in the paper given to us says of the Anglican Church that "it respects tradition, particularly the agreed faith and practice of the first five centuries, though the formularies do not make the tradition binding or place it on an equality with Scripture", then I think there is much hope of mutual understanding.

The heart of our Conference as of the relation between our Communions is not to be found by means of theological considerations only. Something has happened in the Christian Church during the last decade. We have felt that God is knocking at our door, asking us in responsibility towards Christ to be open to His call. Never in history was the prayer of Jesus Christ to such a degree moving as it is now: that they may be one, so that the world might believe. This Conference then is under the leadership of Christ, not under Church leadership. What is at stake is not our position, but the position of our Saviour in relation to a mankind lost in bewilderment even by the antagonisms and diversity inside his Church. We have not to ask: How far can we maintain our positions and traditions if we try to achieve more fellowship? The question is: How far can and must we obey Christ in finding ways for His will even in the communion among his Church branches?

As I see it there is in this respect quite a special responsibility on the Anglican and on the Northern Churches in their reciprocity. The last war has opened the doors between us more widely than ever. This is done by God. Now the question is: Are we prepared to take the consequences and how shall we do it? We will not let emotions rule and guide us alone. We are ruled by fact and creed, and we have to be faithful to what we consider the gifts of God to our Churches, even in traditions and in our way of Christian life. But we will not be politicians of subtle juridical-theological debate. We will pledge ourselves to the guidance of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Therefore we will pray for His blessing for our days here in Oslo.

Bishop Berggrav then made the following statement to the conference, by way of summarizing the result of the previous meeting of a similar body of delegates at Chichester in October 1947:


Having examined the Report from the Pre-Conference in Chichester 1947 and in the light of what else is available, I do feel that there are some differences and much agreement between the average or medium Church of England and our Norwegian Church. (I say "average" or "medium" Church of England because there seems to be rather much diversity of opinion and even of tradition inside the Church of England, so that groups in that Church differ more from each other than we on our side differ from some of those groups.)

1. There seem to be important differences between us in the stress laid on Church tradition. To be sure our Churches very much respect and even love tradition, especially as a testimony of the faith. It even happens that some Swedes or on the other side some Reformed people find that we are too traditional (or, as they may say, "too Roman")--for instance, in the practising of the sign of the Gross (in Baptism and in the Blessing) or in the use of candles on the altar. As a whole we ourselves feel that we are in continuity with the true "old Church". We find this statement confirmed by some facts: The Apostles' Creed is our basic Creed in Christian education, in Confirmation as well as in the congregation-service on Sundays; we deeply honour the "Church Fathers" of the first five centuries, but we add to them such names as Martin Luther, Christian Scriver, and Johan Arndt; we have texts of the old Church read in every Sunday service; our liturgy is built upon the common heritage of the Church; after the confession of sins in every Sunday service the congregation sings in Greek the misericordia: Kyrie eleison (Hymnbook No. 49, i). We strongly feel what the Reformation means to us, but we do not accept the Roman view, that we are a "new" Church, without roots in the Apostolic and medieval Church.

Thus traditions are highly estimated. But we confess that the formulated witness of the living Church in tradition from earlier ages must be repeatedly tested by reference to Scripture. The formulated tradition is always open to revision by guidance of the Holy Spirit through Scripture. We make a difference between traditions based upon the New Testament, like the laying-on-of-hands by consecration, and tradition just grown up by Church customs, such as candles and vestments. A finally fixed tradition would be above Scripture, but tradition must be below it.

We have the feeling that in the Church of England tradition--without very clear distinction between its sources--ranks, if not above Scripture, then at least on the same level. You are apt to think more along traditional lines, we along Scripture lines.

On the other hand, we recognize that there is no fixed dogma about tradition in the Church of England, and nothing in your confession is rooted in tradition without Scriptural basis.

What differs in our views can therefore not really separate us as Churches.

2. Holy Scripture to us is norma normans for Christian creed and Christian life. There seems to us to be no difference in view on this point when the Church of England says that the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments contain all things necessary to salvation and are the ultimate standard of faith (Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1888. 1). When we look to the practice of the Church of England we feel at one with you. As a matter of fact, I think you in practice refer to the Bible as the deciding factor. There will be general assent in our Churches to No. VI of your XXXIX Articles, reading:

"Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation, so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."

3. We do not at all disagree when the Church of England stresses the Nicene Creed as the "sufficient statement of the Christian faith", but as a matter of fact this formulation of the creed does not play an important role as a symbol with us and is not prescribed for use in services. (In Denmark it is now occasionally admitted.) But, like the Athanasian Creed, even Nicenum is in our confessional documents. And the content of both of them is in our Christian faith. Even here there is not to be found a basis for any sort of division between our Churches. We therefore might declare full consent in the two first points (a and b) in your Quadrilateral. It looks to us to be an improvement of the Lambeth Statement of 1888, when it was slightly revised by Lambeth 1920 thus: "The Creed commonly called Nicene, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith, and either it or the Apostles' Creed as the Baptismal confession of belief."

4. In the Church of England Confirmation is administered by bishops, in all the Nordic countries by parish priests. Norway, Iceland, and Denmark, practise the laying-on-of-hands on the confirmand (Sweden does not). We have understood that in the Church of England it would not be considered absolutely fundamental that bishops should always confirm. Confirmation is in our Churches considered the act by which the confirmands are admitted as full members of the Church and as the open admittance to Holy Communion. But we estimate the foregoing instruction of the youth as very important. No one can be confirmed without being thus instructed.

5. The doctrine of justification by faith alone (sola fide et sola gratia) has by us been characterized as the articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae. We have been happy to find in the conversations of the Church of England with the Swedish and the Finnish Churches-- our sister Churches who stress the same Article--that this Article is not at all alien to the Church of England, but that you on the contrary have it among your XXXIX Articles--namely, in Art. XI-- reading:

"Of the Justification of Man. We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings."

There is here nearly verbal conformity with the Lutheran Confessio Augustana, Art. IV:

". . . that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith."

There may be some difference in the stress laid upon this dogma in practice, but in the confession of it we are in common. This to us is the most important point.

6. Sacraments: Our Churches are in full agreement with point 3 in the above-mentioned Quadrilateral: "The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself--Baptism and the Supper of the Lord--ministered with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution, and of the elements ordained by Him."

Some further explanations may be made concerning our conceptions and yours:

(a) As to Baptism there seems to be no difference at all.

(b) Concerning the Lord's Supper we are keen on the Lutheran doctrine of the real presence (corpus et sanguis Christi vere adsini), even if we also--according to the words of institution--stress the remembrance, the witness to the death and to the resurrection of our Lord as well as the Christian fellowship in the Sacrament.

We find that in the Anglican Catechism it reads like this: "The Body and Blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received. . . ."

Lutherans believe that the Sacrament is non-dependent on the person distributing it, the real gift being from Christ directly to the believing receiver. Thus we cannot regard the validity of Holy Communion dependent on the individual minister or on the instituted ministry, even if our Church order has very narrow restrictions as to the authority of distribution.

According to our main principle that the Sacraments shall be administered according to Christ's ordinance, with the words of institution said audibly, so that the congregation may accept them by faith, we would not put narrow limits to intercommunion. Historically Lutherans have refused to communicate with the Calvinists. But at present there may be found a tendency towards intercommunion even with the Reformed Churches, just as according to the Lutheran doctrine, the individual views of the distributor or the conception of his particular Church cannot make void the real presence or the gifts from our Saviour. Christ is greater than our ecclesiastical divisions. The Sacraments belong to the whole Body of Christ, not to any particular section of it.

As to admittance to Holy Communion, there is some difference in Norway between official Church order and the Church practice. According to Church rule, non-Lutherans ought to apply for admittance beforehand (as they even now sometimes do, asking the pastor). In practice we welcome to the Lord's table every baptized Christian faithful to Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, this is an important achievement of ecumenicity in our Churches.

7. As to the conception of Church order and ministry, there seems to be severe diversity between the Church of England and all the five Nordic Churches.

(a) We do not have the three categories of ministry. Of course we have deacons and deaconesses, but they are not "ordained" and do not constitute a special Church order. They are consecrated, not by a bishop, but by a priest and mainly for service among poor and sick. In quite special and very limited cases the bishop may authorize them to administer Sacraments, and the deacons even to conduct services--for instance, in very isolated places, on board merchant ships on the high seas, in special closed institutions like hospitals, etc. Our aim is to build up a body of assistants to the local pastor for the cure of souls, Bible work, and general welfare of the parish members.

On our side we do not feel this as a basis for division between us and the Church of England.

(b) The greatest difficulty between us--that is, between some of you and all of us--is concerning what you call the Historic Episcopate. I shall not enter in full into this question here. I may refer to my distributed memorandum adopted by all the bishops of Norway and even refer to some special questions, which I will later ask the Anglican delegation. At this early point of our proceedings I want to state the more positive side of our attitude.

It was stated at the Chichester Conference by Bishop Plum that the Danish and Norwegian Churches gave up the Episcopal Succession at the Reformation, not because there was no Roman Catholic bishop at hand, but because they wished to have a true spiritual episcopate and not a worldly one. It was generally felt in our countries at that time that the Roman episcopate represented essentially a worldly, not a spiritual, power, and that they were not the true bishops in the Christian or the Apostolic sense. We cannot find that the laying-on-of-hands by a bishop who on Apostolic-Christian grounds must be characterized as an inadequate bishop could secure something which for the Holy Spirit is essential to the ministry in the Christian Church. In our Lutheran Churches we find that the episcopate truly was restored to its original Apostolic function by the Reformation. As we see it, we kept the real continuity, the only succession which matters, even if we broke the outward one. We might claim to have not only the true succession of Faith, of Baptism, of Sacraments, of Creed, and of Liturgy, but even to possess the real succession of ministry in its Christian function.

Our question is: What is the main thing--inward succession of faith combined with succession of office and function, or the mechanics of succession? As a matter of fact, all Nordic Churches have an episcopate in function quite equal to the Anglican. We do not at all base the validity of our ministry on this succession in function and faith, because we do estimate other facts higher. The Holy Spirit on a Scriptural basis may constitute a new Church wherever faith in Christ has become a living force. This means that to us the weight is not upon the word historic ministry, but upon the words Apostolic and Christian.

Difference in more or less accidental happenings to us in the course of history can never establish a diversity between Christian Churches which confess the same creed and practise the same Christian life--as for instance the Churches of England and those of Scandinavia.

But if the Church of England does feel it otherwise, it is up to you to examine your and our position and to exclude us or to include us in a fellowship of Churches. (See my two special questions later.)

8. To Norwegian Christians the Evangelistic spirit of a Church, the keenness in missionary work (home mission and foreign mission), the awakening of souls to repentance and conversion, are the marks for what a Church sees as its goal. In this respect we feel deeply in fellowship with the Church of England. What sometimes disturbs us is to find a Church content with its own Church machinery, occupied with liturgical hobbies, ecclesiastical vestments and the like. There was in earlier days up till the last war some feeling in Norway that at least certain groups of Anglicans tended in such a direction. We have learnt now how you are keen on conquering the world for Christ. And we have always with deep gratitude and in full fellowship in spirit learnt about your activities in foreign missions as well as in Bible work.

Some of you may reply to this, that what I have mentioned is especially true concerning what you yourself call the Evangelical branch of your Church. But you must allow us to consider even this branch 'as a true part of the Church of England, in fact the part of it where we find ourselves at home.

Proceeding now from this short review of our position to the actual points of our forthcoming conversation, it seems to me that we may have a guide in the letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury, which I quoted in my opening address:

"The problem which concerns us all is how to find our way back to a full and unfettered and unrestricted interchange in the life of our separate communions."

I might call this the ultimate goal.

As a first step now, I might refer to the formulation given by the Bishop of Chichester at the earlier Conference:

"Should we do our best to promote a practice of occasional intercommunion between our Churches without formal union, according to which our respective Church authorities would allow the members of the Scandinavian Churches to receive communion in the Church of England and the members of the Church of England in the Churches of Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, and if so, by what means?"

We have learnt that the longer tradition, so to say the real and old tradition of the Church of England in its relationship to the Lutheran Churches, as a matter of fact, was one of open acknowledgement of these Churches as full members of the recognized world family of Churches. We hear that you call it the pre-Tractarian tradition, and we feel a bit bewildered by the impression that the most tradition-minded of you do take the shorter, so to say the more modern, "tradition" as the decisive one for your Church relationships.

I hope to have made it clear that our Churches have a steadfast tradition and a convinced view of being in all essentials in continuity with the Church of the Apostles.

Under such circumstances I may express the hope that we may find means and ways for the realization of what in fact already is present as a true stuff for Church fellowship.

Professor Ramsey then said he hoped the procedure of the Conference might be along the following lines:

1. A clear recognition of the fundamental points of Christian doctrine on which the Anglican and Lutheran Churches were agreed, but the points of difference between them should also be noted.

2. This to be followed by a consideration of urgent practical questions, in particular the existing rules governing the admission of communicants of one Church to the Sacraments in the other, and of what changes, if any, were needed in these.

3. Finally, a consideration of the long-term question of steps necessary for the ultimate union of the two bodies of Churches. He said he hoped for a wider understanding here.

This procedure was generally agreed to.


After some discussion, the first three sections of the Lambeth Quadrilateral, dealing with Scripture, the Creeds, and the Sacraments, were accepted by the Conference.

The Conference then turned to discuss the questions raised in Bishop Berggrav's memorandum.

Professor Ramsey said it would be valuable if the Anglican representatives could take back with them full and accurate information as to the Lutheran belief and practice concerning Confirmation. After discussion, it was agreed that the Anglican delegates should draw up a statement on this question, to be approved by the Lutheran theologians present.

The question of the Anglican view of justification by faith was then raised. Professor Greenslade said that in many Anglican writers were to be found what at first sight appeared to be criticisms of this doctrine. But these writers were not attempting to put forward a doctrine of justification by merit.

The Anglican Articles X, XI, XII, were generally approved by the Conference.

The question of the Eucharistic sacrifice was then broached.

Professor Ramsey read part of the reply of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to Pope Leo XIII:

"Further, we truly teach the doctrine of Eucharistic sacrifice and do not believe it to be a 'nude commemoration of the Sacrifice of the Cross', an opinion which seems to be attributed to us by the quotation made from that Council [Trent]. But we think it sufficient in the Liturgy which we use in celebrating the Holy Eucharist--while lifting up our hearts to the Lord, and when now consecrating the gifts already offered that they may become to us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ--to signify the sacrifice which is offered at that point of the service in such terms as these. We continue a perpetual memory of the precious death of Christ who is our Advocate with the Father and the propitiation for our sins, according to His precept, until His coming again. For first we offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; then next we plead and represent before the Father the Sacrifice of the Cross, and by it we confidently entreat remission of sins and all other benefits of the Lord's Passion for all the whole Church; and lastly, we offer the sacrifice of ourselves to the Creator of all things which we have already signified by the oblations of His creatures. This whole action, in which the people has necessarily to take its part with the Priest, we are accustomed to call the Eucharistic sacrifice."

It was felt that this language would be unfamiliar to Lutherans, whose liturgy did not emphasize the idea of the Eucharistic sacrifice. But Professor Prenter thought that it was not possible to object to the formulation on Biblical grounds. Sira Jakob Jonsson said that in Lutheranism there was an emphasis on the act of receiving Holy Communion as a profession of the receiver's faith and the offering of that faith to God. Professor Ramsey quoted the late Bishop of Hereford (Dr Parsons) as saying that the idea of Christ's sacrifice in the Eucharist was a great witness to Justification by Faith. We cannot offer ourselves or our possessions except in union with the one sacrifice of Christ. Dr Telfer quoted the concluding words of Article XXXI, as expressing the Anglican attitude:

"... Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits."

This was felt by the Lutheran delegates to be in line with their own belief.

Bishop Berggrav made the following statement:

There are two particular points which I find it necessary to develop more clearly:

The first I might put in the form of a question to the Anglican delegates: Does the Church of England consider it appropriate to install or restore the Succession in a Church so to say by accident, without properly expressed intention of the Church concerned to get the Succession?

This question does rise out of the concrete facts, which by the Church of England have been considered satisfactory to establish intercommunion with Finland on the assumption that the Succession then has been restored.

The facts are:

1. (as to Finland).

(a) During the conferences between the Finnish and the Anglican Church it was agreed that the Finnish Archbishop should invite an Anglican bishop to take part in the next consecration of a Finnish bishop. It was not said that the Church of Finland should express after proper procedure according to Church law its intention and will to re-establish the Succession.

(b) What actually happened was that between the first and the second series of these conferences the See of Tampere became vacant and Dr Lehtonen was elected and consecrated as Bishop of Tampere without any Anglican bishop taking part (1934). Invited was the Archbishop of Upsala, "without"--I am quoting Dr Nils Karlstram, svensk Kyrkotidning No. 46, 1947--"any notice being given that thereby it was the intention to restore the Succession in Finland". Karlstrem adds: "It must have been considered that the succession de facto was restored. An Anglican bishop has not taken part in a Finnish bishop's consecration, only one was present in the Cathedral when Bishop Lehtonen later was installed as an archbishop."

(c) As to the absence of any expressed intention, it is important to note that the Finnish Archbishop (Dr Kaila), in his public letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury of 10 March 1936, explicitly says that there was no such intention. His words are:

"The Church of Finland has invited bishops from neighbouring Churches in Sweden and Estonia to her consecrations not in order to restore her broken outward succession, but... as an act by which both Churches witnessed to the unity of the Body of Christ." (The Relations, etc., printed Turku 1948.)

According to these facts my question arises. It is an important question: Does the Church of England accept that the Apostolic Succession can be introduced in a Church by accidental taking part by a foreign bishop in possession of Succession without the intention or assent of the Church concerned? And can the Church of England base an intercommunion with such a Church on this accident? If this be the case we would feel obliged to utter solemn warning about the whole conception.

2. (as to Finland and Sweden).

The Church of England has laid down as a principle that for intercommunion with another Church it finds it a condition that this Church has the historic Episcopacy, i.e. the Succession.

According to this there has--more or less fully--been established such intercommunion with the Churches of Finland and Sweden. My question is: Does it not count for the Church of England how far the succession is estimated as important or not important in those Churches?

The position has been made quite clear as to Finland and Sweden.

(a) Both these Churches are in full--in every sense full -- intercommunion with the other Nordic Churches, which have not the Roman or Anglican mode of Succession. The having or not having Succession has not even been considered when these Churches established full intercommunion. This strong fact means that the Churches of Finland and Sweden do not consider the Succession at all important and not in the least a condition for full intercommunion between Churches.

(b) This view has been clearly stated in documents handed over to the Church of England:

By the Episcopacy of Sweden in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, to which the Archbishop of Finland refers and gives his full assent (Swedish letter 1922, Finnish letter 1936) I quote from the Finnish letter:

"I must point out that we cannot in principle look upon the historical Episcopacy, on which the Anglican Church lays such a great stress, as a conditio sine qua non for a valid ministry, without abandoning our fundamental doctrinal basis. I might refer," the Finnish Archbishop goes on, "to the reply of the Lutheran bishops of Sweden in the year 1923 [error for 1922], where they say: 'No particular organization of the Church and of its ministry is instituted jure divino. . . .' "

In fact, all Nordic Churches are united in their considering the succession as a valuable historic tradition, but without any constitutional value for the Church or the Christian ministry. My question arises out of these facts: How can the Church of England value the outward succession as a spiritual condition for intercommunion irrespective of the conviction or creed of the Churches concerned?

Professor Ramsey said he agreed with the first point made by Bishop Berggrav. But he did not think it necessary for a Church to have a verbally denned doctrine of the Apostolic Succession. The knowledge of having it as a fact for the sake of the unity of the Church was what mattered.

Pastor Smidt asked whether Anglican theologians had ever admitted a break in the continuity of the Succession. Dr Telfer said that Anglican scholars emphasized two categories in which the Succession might be considered: (a) A succession of chief pastors, in office and function, without specifying the means of their consecration; and (b) the consecration of a bishop by three or more other bishops before he succeeds to his see. (b) went back to the Fourth Canon of Nicaea: before that the practice was not clearly and universally approved. But there was clear evidence for (a) from the beginning. The rise of (b) was linked with the definition of the Canon of Scripture.

Professor Ramsey summarized the statement of the Lambeth Conference 1930 about the meaning of the historic Episcopate. The important point was that the historic Episcopate as understood by Anglicans provided the Church with a ministry which from the second century onwards discharged such of the functions of the Apostles as could continue after their own generation.

Professor Molland pointed out that Irenaeus stresses orthodoxy in his theory of the Succession. According to him, a heterodox bishop would be outside the Succession. The bishop was the legitimate successor to his predecessor because he taught the true faith. Professor Molland also referred to the fact that the Alexandrian Church did not have the Apostolic Succession up to the Council of Nicaea.

Dr Telfer agreed with this last point, but said that after the Fourth Canon of Nicaea, Athanasius was consecrated by the Egyptian bishops, and the great Church of Egypt came into line with the rest of Christendom.

Professor Molland then mentioned the problem of the Succession in the Church of Sweden. He said that the two Roman Catholic consecrators of the first Lutheran Archbishop of Sweden had signed a document beforehand to the effect that they were acting vi et metu and that what they were about to do was to be held as null and void. They had no intention of continuing the Succession.

Professor Ramsey questioned whether intention to continue the Succession was the essential point. The intention rather was to ordain a bishop, and a prerequisite of this was that those who laid on hands should themselves be bishops in the Church. It was this that preserved the Succession.

Professor Greenslade said that if a man were consecrated by a bishop having Succession in a Church which previously did not have the Succession, then there was an historic fact which was not a fact before. The historic fact carried with it a religious symbolism of great value.

Dr Telfer said that the succession of Amt was a very big and important part of the Anglican concern. The fact that the Scandinavian Churches did not accept the 4th Canon of Nicaea was not so important, though Anglicans hoped these Churches would eventually do so.

Professor Prenter said that the Lutheran Churches would not accept such a description as the "restoration" of the Apostolic Succession. That implied making a change in the character of their ministry and this would not be agreed to.

It was pointed out from the Anglican side, with reference to Bishop Berggrav's statement, that the limited intercommunion which the Church of England enjoyed with the Church of Finland, as also with the Churches of Latvia and Estonia, did not in fact depend on Anglican belief that the Churches in question had regained the Apostolic Succession, though again it was hoped they might yet do so.

The discussion then turned on the Anglican attitude towards intercommunion and especially towards Anglicans communicating in Churches with which the Church of England was not in full communion.

Professor Greenslade said that there was not official prohibition of Anglicans communicating in foreign Protestant Churches. The decision was left to the individual conscience.

Professor Ramsey said that there were two levels in the Church of England:

(1) It was not forbidden by legal authority to communicate in any church in Christendom.

(2) But when in recent years the Church of England had negotiated agreements with other Churches, this had been in a way that implies the opposite.

The one thing that would carry us beyond problems of conscience was one ministry, and that ministry should be one which effected and symbolized as fully as possible the unity of the Church. He would put in a plea for interconsecration, not as making retrospective judgments, but that there might be a ministry acceptable all round.

Professor Prenter said that if our coming unity was the main issue, could there not be a mutual recognition of ministries first? As long as there was no such real recognition, there was no way forward. If a Norwegian bishop were to take part in an Anglican consecration first and not vice versa, this would indicate that mutual recognition had been reached.

Bishop Berggrav asked whether the Church of England would not recommend its members to communicate in the national Churches when they were abroad.

Professor Ramsey said that he did not think the Church of England would go further than not issuing any prohibition against the practice.

At the end of the first day's session it was agreed that the Anglican and Lutheran delegations should meet separately to consider what immediate action they would recommend to the Conference.


Friday, 30 March, 11 a.m.

Professor Ramsey summarized the hopes of the Anglican delegates for the Conference as follows:

1. The Anglican delegates would carry back fuller knowledge of the Scandinavian Churches and especially of the great unity in doctrine and practice between these and the Church of England.

2. They would also carry back information as to the great dissatisfaction and grief felt in the Scandinavian Churches about the experience of their members seeking communion in the Church of England and the great diversity of their treatment.

3. They would recommend to the authorities of the Church of England some fuller measure of welcome to Scandinavian communicants in good standing seeking communion in the Church of England. They would recommend the welcome of Scandinavians to communion irrespective of the presence or absence of the ministration of their own Churches.

4. They were anxious for greater mutual understanding with regard to the ministry. The term "Apostolic Succession" was not a single one and many elements in the office of a bishop were present in the Scandinavian Churches. But they were anxious that the Scandinavian Churches should understand better the Anglican conviction that the technical aspect of the Apostolic Succession was to be cherished for the sake of the ultimate unity of the Church in its fullest sacramental expression.

5. They wished to convey to the Church of England how it was that Scandinavians felt dissatisfied with interconsecration as a solution of the problem of the ministry. This was an ambiguous act: on the one side it simply implied a fraternal action; on the other, the restoration of something lost.

After the report of Professor Ramsey from the Anglican separate conversations,

Bishop Berggrav said: From our Lutheran group meeting I have three points to report:

1. First of all we were all deeply impressed by the accordance, very often direct conformity, which we had found between your doctrines and ours, especially in the fundamental ones, as well as in the practice of the Churches. Taking then also into consideration how deep the concord is between us as to Holy Communion, we on these grounds find that we ought to recommend to our Church authorities that regulations are made, according to which Anglican communicants are welcomed fully and freely as partakers in the Lord's Supper in our churches, inland as well as abroad, in seamen's churches and in the mission field.

2. Our second idea concerns the clergy of the Anglican Church. The regulations in Norway--not so certain in Denmark--now are that all Lutheran pastors from the Northern countries and from the Norwegian-speaking U.S.A.-Lutherans are admitted to conduct full service (including Baptism and Holy Communion) in our churches. For non-Lutherans there has to be the consent in each case by the Department for Church and Education.

I must confess that I for my own part have had great doubts as to the setting of the Anglicans on the same footing in this respect with the Lutherans. I know there will be strong opposition in the Church of Norway--and the Danes tell me the same about their Church--and it seems a bad policy to make a recommendation which will possibly not be accepted. After having gone deeply into the matter first with my Norwegian co-delegates and then with the Danes, I, in spite of my hesitation, feel obliged to run the risk. The reason is a twofold one: Firstly that my theological conscience is satisfied that the proposal is justified on grounds of the creed and general mind of the Church of England. In spite of your "looking two ways", in spite of what may seem to us a sort of ambiguity in some of your practices and even your conceptions, we find that when we arrive at the root of the matter you are through-and-through determined by the one and common standard of faith, the Holy Scripture, and have the full and pure Gospel and the sound Christian creed.

Besides this theological consideration of ours, I must frankly say that we have felt obliged by our common Lord not to keep up a separation among His faithful ones in your Church and in ours. All of us have felt that we are under the obligation of Christ when we have resolved to recommend to our Church authorities to resolve that pastors of the Anglican Church be admitted to conduct services in our churches as the Lutheran Church pastors now are.

The Icelandic delegate joins us, saying that he does not expect any opposition in the Church of Iceland.

3. In our talks Professor Prenter called attention to the fact that the Lambeth Quadrilateral uses the phrase "the Historic Episcopate". It does not use the more mechanical expression: Apostolic Succession. He wonders if much could not be gained if we in the light of our conversations during these days started an investigation of the complete implication of the phrase. We other Lutherans agree that the expression really is a complex one, and that we more easily could hope to understand each other if we got the involved facts and conditions more explicitly considered. Our suggestion to the Anglicans is that this be undertaken to the benefit not only of our own Churches. We, for instance, draw attention to the distinction between nuda successio--that which someone has called the more "mechanical" aspect of the question--and on the other side the succession in office and in function, being first of all a means for the safeguarding of pure Christian creed and of Apostolical administration of the Sacraments.

We recommend a small joint committee for collecting material in this matter to be made available as soon as possible to the Churches.

In suggesting these we have in mind our duty to remove stones in the way of the unity in Christ, but we have no direct intention to open a way to what has been called interconsecration, a prospect which we have told you that we do not think it appropriate for us to enter into.

Sira Jakob Jonsson then submitted the following resolution for the consideration of the Conference:

As it has been stated in our discussions that neither the Anglican nor the Lutheran Churches forbid their members to receive the Sacrament at each other's services, we herewith ask our respective bishops and Church authorities that they recommend their members to go to communion not only in cases of emergency and when isolated from their own Churches but also whenever they believe it to be in accordance with the will of our loving God as an act of Christian fellowship in faith and love.

Bishop Berggrav asked what was meant by a "fuller measure of welcome" for Scandinavian communicants in Professor Ramsey's statement.

Professor Ramsey explained that present practice in the Church of England was governed by Resolution 2 (a) on the Unity of the Church, of the Upper House of Convocation, 1931. The Anglican delegates wanted now to recommend that Scandinavians be admitted to communion in the Church of England as such whether or not "they were cut off by distance from the ministrations of their own Church."

Dean Brodersen asked what was the difficulty felt in admitting Scandinavians to communion from the Anglican side.

Professor Ramsey said this would be a big step towards full communion, for which agreement on the Ministry was necessary. He wanted to see Scandinavians coming to Anglican altars not under the general heading of "all is well", but under "economic action".

Dr Telfer called attention to the fact that intercommunion had its basis in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, who was above all our divisions. He thought it important to make this point of view known in England.


Saturday, 31 March, 10 a.m.

The Conference discussed some practical questions in this closing session.

Bishop Berggrav read a letter of greeting from the Bishop of Chichester, who had been prevented from being present at the Conference by illness. A statement to the Norwegian press was also agreed to.

A commission of three was appointed by the Conference to continue the discussion on the Historic Episcopate. The members were to be Bishop Berggrav, with whom Professor Molland would be associated, Professor Prenter, and Professor Greenslade.

It was agreed that a joint report should not be issued, but that the Anglican and Lutheran delegates would each submit their own report to their respective Church authorities. It was agreed that these reports should be exchanged between the group for mutual information.

Bishop Berggrav closed the Conference at 1.30 p.m. with a speech of thanks to the delegates, to which Professor Ramsey replied. The Conference had opened every morning with united prayer, and it was so closed, Bishop Berggrav leading the prayer and Professor Ramsey saying the grace.

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