Expulsion of Catholics from Denmark–Norway

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The expulsion of Catholics from Denmark–Norway, from 1613 onwards, was a precaution taken against the Counter-Reformation movement, which was orchestrated by the King of Denmark–Norway.


Following the events of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church and its missionary organization, the Society of Jesus, strived to regain control of the religion in Northern Europe. In 1612 it was reported that some prominent priests in Norway had undertaken studies at Jesuit colleges, and that they secretly supported Catholicism. Several of these suspected Catholic priests were called to the country's highest court of law, called Herredag. The trial was held at the vicarage of Gjerpen in Skien, and started on 2 August 1613. Among the suspects was Christoffer Hjort, vicar in Aker and priest at the chapel of Akershus Castle, and his two brothers Jakob Hjort and Evert Hjort. Also the priest Herman Hanssøn was among the suspects.[1][2] Niels Claussøn Senning, Bishop of the Diocese of Oslo, was responsible for the inqusitions.[3] King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway was present at the trial, and he had ordered all bishops of the country to attend.[1] The trial ended on 21 August. Several of the priests were found guilty. They were convicted to loss of benefice and inheritance, and were instructed to leave the country.[1][4][5] Two suspected students, Petrus Alphæus and Mogens Haakenssøn, were also expelled from the country.[1]

A decree dated 28 February 1624 made it explicitly illegal for Jesuits and monks to be in the country. Offenders risked the death penalty, and those who supported the Jesuits or monks by providing lodging or food risked severe punishment. In 1646 the regulations were somewhat relaxed, as foreign sailors were then allowed to practice their religion at three dedicated locations, in Oslo Old Town, Nordnes and Christianssand.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Bang, A. Chr. (1912). Den norske kirkes historie. Kristiania and Copenhagen: Gyldendal. pp. 356–362. 
  2. ^ Marmøy, Reidar (1963). Dahl, Thorleif, ed. Vårt folks historie 4. Oslo: Aschehoug. pp. 302–304. 
  3. ^ Godal, Anne Marit (ed.). "Niels Claussøn Senning". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Norsk nettleksikon. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Bratberg, Terje. "Christoffer Hjort". In Helle, Knut. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Godal, Anne Marit (ed.). "Christoffer Hjort". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Norsk nettleksikon. Retrieved 7 October 2012.