Antje Jackelén

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The Most Reverend
Antje Jackelén
Archbishop of Uppsala
Primate of Sweden
Antje Jackelén 2011.jpg
Church Church of Sweden
Archdiocese Uppsala
Elected 15 October 2013
Installed 15 June 2014
Predecessor Anders Wejryd
Ordination 1980
Consecration 15 April 2007
Personal details
Birth name Antje Zöllner
Born (1955-06-04) 4 June 1955 (age 59)
Herdecke, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
Nationality Swedish and German
Denomination Lutheran (Church of Sweden)
Spouse Heinz Jackelén
Children 2
Previous post Bishop of Lund (2007-2014)
Alma mater
Motto Gud är större ("God is greater") [1][2]

Antje Jackelén, born 4 June 1955 in Herdecke, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany, is the Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala in Sweden and primate (prima inter pares) of the Church of Sweden. On October 15, 2013, she was elected the 70th Archbishop of Uppsala and formally received through a service in Uppsala Cathedral on June 15, 2014, making her Sweden's first foreign-born archbishop since the 12th century, and the first female archbishop.[3][4]

Jackelén was ordained a priest in the Church of Sweden in 1980 and became a doctor of Theology at Lund University in 1999. Previously she was Bishop of Lund from 2007 to 2014.


Jackelén was born June 4, 1955 in Herdecke, West Germany. She studied Lutheran theology at the University of Tübingen and Uppsala University.

Jackelén served as a priest in Tyresö parish in the Diocese of Stockholm 1981-1988, in Gårdstånga parish in the Diocese of Lund 1988-1994 and in the Cathedral parish of Lund 1995-1996. After finishing her doctorate, she worked at Lund University 1999-2001 and was assistant professor of Systematic Theology/Religion and Science at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago 2001-2003. From 2003 she was Associate Professor and Director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science until 2007.

Jackelén was elected Bishop of Lund in 2006, and succeeded Christina Odenberg in 2007. Odenberg had been the first female bishop in the Church of Sweden, and Jackelén became the third. Jackelén was the first female bishop to be appointed after a popular vote in the diocese, the two former (Odenberg in 1997, and Caroline Krook, Bishop of Stockholm, in 1998) having both been appointed by the Swedish government before the separation of the Church of Sweden from the state in 2000. Jackelén was ordained bishop of Lund by Archbishop Anders Wejryd in Uppsala Cathedral on 15 April 2007, and was received in her diocese through a service in Lund Cathedral on 21 April. As her official motto, she chose Gud är större ("God is greater"), referring to a passage in the First Epistle of John (1 John 3.18-20) and this also became the title of her pastoral letter, published in 2011.

As Bishop of Lund, Jackelén was one of the assistant officiants during the state wedding of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, and Daniel Westling, in 2010. [5]

She has served as representative of the Church of Sweden on the Lutheran World Federation council.

She was elected Archbishop of Uppsala on October 15 in 2013 and was officially received in Uppsala Cathedral on June 15, 2014, in the presence of the King and Queen of Sweden, after the retirement of Archbishop Anders Wejryd.[6] In March 2014, Johan Tyrberg was elected to succeed her as Bishop of Lund.


Her doctoral dissertation Zeit und Ewigkeit: die Frage der Zeit in Kirche, Naturwissenschaft und Theologie (Lund 1999) was later republished on Neukirchener Verlag under the same title in 2002. A Swedish translation came in 2000 and an English translation Time & eternity: the question of time in church, science, and theology was published in 2005. She was the speaker at the 2003 Goshen Conference on Religion and Science, a conference that features noted academics in the field of religion and science. The proceedings were published by Pandora Press.

Private life[edit]

Antje and Heinz Jackelén during the royal wedding gala in 2010.

Her husband, Heinz Jackelén, is a retired priest, also originally from Germany, and they have two daughters and several grandchildren. The couple met as undergraduate theology students at Uppsala University. The name Jackelén is believed to come from French-German Huguenot ancestors. The couple lives in the Archbishop's official residence (Ärkebiskopsgården) in Uppsala.[3]

Theological views[edit]

Jackelén has published several works which deal with the relationship between the natural sciences and religious faith, as well as the role of religion in modern society. Jackelén doesn't believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. She has said that the virgin birth is a mythological term or a metaphor rather than an actual event. She endorses the theory of evolution and sees no contradiction in believing both in God and in evolution.[7][8][9][10][11][12]

She supports same-sex marriage in church, while calling for the state to support the institution of marriage as such.[13]

Political positions[edit]

Jackelén has spoken out against a ban on school graduation ceremonies in churches, believing a total ban on religious influences in public schools to be detrimental to the spiritual development of children, while emphasising the role of the Church of Sweden in Swedish civil society.[14] Together with the Bishops' conference she has also addressed climate change in a Bishops' letter, calling for the members of the Church of Sweden as well as the Swedish state to set goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for Sweden to enter binding international agreements on the issue.[15]


External links[edit]

Media related to Antje Jackelén at Wikimedia Commons

Religious titles
Preceded by
Anders Wejryd
Archbishop of Uppsala
Lutheran Primate of Sweden

Succeeded by