Religion

The state religion in Norway is Protestant Christian (Evangelical-Lutheran), and about 80% of the population belong to the established Church of Norway. Most Norwegians are baptized as infants and confirmed as teenagers, yet only a small number attend church services regularly.

Early Norwegians believed in Norse mythology and worshipped many different gods, including Odin and Thor. Thanks to the work of Christian missionaries, and of St. Olav, the patron saint of Norway, who converted most Norwegians to Christianity, Norway was Christianized between 1030 and 1150 AD. Many Christian sites of worship were built in places that had been holy sites in the Norse religion. Norway remained mostly Catholic until the conversion to Protestantism in 1536. The native Sami people had their own beliefs based on nature worship but were encouraged to convert to Christianity in the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of the Sami people still follow the old customs of their faith today.

Once the Vikings started to invade Great Britain and Europe, they came into contact with Christian beliefs and adopted them as they settled in new countries.  


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Did You Know?

Norse mythology is the study of the myths told in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Faroe Islands) during the pre-Christian times, especially during the Viking age. Historians and archaelogists used ancient burial grounds to measure how Christianity spread across Norway. Pagans were buried with some of the belongings, but Christians weren’t.