Lars Olsen Skrefsrud

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Portrait of Lars Olsen Skrefsrud

Lars Olsen Skrefsrud (4 February 1840 – 11 December 1910) was a Norwegian Lutheran missionary and language researcher in India.[1]


Skrefsrud came from the parish of Fåberg situated north of Lillehammer in Oppland, Norway. As a young man he was imprisoned for three years, and during his incarceration started to both read the Bible and study languages. Upon his release, he studied at the missionary school of Johannes Evangelista Goßner in Berlin, where he was prepared for his mission. [2]

In 1863, he left for India. Together with Hans Peter Børresen he is regarded as the founder of the Norwegian Santal Mission (Den norske Santalmisjon) (from 2001 a part of Normisjon). Skrefsrud learned the language of the Hindi, Bengali and Sanskrit. He published a songbook in the Santali language with Christian texts for local melodies and later a grammar for the Santal people. In 1881-83, he traveled to Denmark and Norway to gain support for the mission. In 1882, he was ordained by Bishop Carl Peter Parelius Essendrop in Kristiania (now Oslo).[3] [4]

Skrefsrud died during 1910 in the village of Benagaria in Jharkhand, India. He was followed at the mission by the missionary, linguist and folklorist Paul Olaf Bodding. The mission he established in India has grown to a church with over 150,000 members in the Indian states of Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. In the 1950s it became an independent institution - The Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church (NELC).[5][6] [7] [8]


  1. ^ Dan Graves. "Lars Skrefsrud, Norway's Famous Missionary". Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  2. ^ "Lars Olsen Skrefsrud". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  3. ^ "Om Normisjon". Normisjon. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  4. ^ Charles Lindquist (January 1, 2005). "Skrefsrud". World Mission Prayer League. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  5. ^ "Hans Peter Børresen". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  6. ^ "Den norske Santalmisjon". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  7. ^ Vidar L. Haanes. "Lars Skrefsrud". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  8. ^ "Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church". Lutheran World Federation. Retrieved February 1, 2018.

Related reading[edit]

  • Ivar Saeter (1935) Lars Olsen Skrefsrud, der Gründer der Santalmission (Stuttgart : Evang. Missionsverlag)

External links[edit]

Media related to Lars Olsen Skrefsrud at Wikimedia Commons