Nathan Söderblom

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The Most Reverend

Nathan Söderblom
Archbishop of Uppsala
Primate of Sweden
ChurchChurch of Sweden
Elected20 May 1914
In office1914–1931
PredecessorJohan August Ekman
SuccessorErling Eidem
Ordination1893 (priest)
Consecration8 November 1914
by Gottfrid Billing
Personal details
Lars Olof Jonathan Söderblom

(1866-01-15)15 January 1866
Died12 July 1931(1931-07-12) (aged 65)
Uppsala, Sweden
DenominationChurch of Sweden
ParentsJonas Söderblom and Nikolina Sophie Blûme
SpouseAnna Söderblom (born as Forsell) (1870–1955)
Alma materUppsala University
Ordination history of
Nathan Söderblom
Priestly ordination
Ordained byGottfrid Billing
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byGottfrid Billing
Date8 November 1914
PlaceUppsala Cathedral
Bust of Nathan Söderblom at Kungsholms Church in Stockholm, Sweden
Bust of Nathan Söderblom at Kungsholms Church in Stockholm, Sweden

Lars Olof Jonathan Söderblom (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈnɑ̌ːtan ˈsø̌ːdɛrblʊm]; 15 January 1866 – 12 July 1931) was a Swedish clergyman. He was the Church of Sweden Archbishop of Uppsala between 1914 and 1931,[1] and recipient of the 1930 Nobel Peace Prize. He is commemorated in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on 12 July.[2]


Söderblom was born in the village of Trönö in Söderhamn Municipality, Gävleborg County. His father was a parish priest. He enrolled at Uppsala University in 1883. Although not initially convinced what he wanted to study, he eventually decided to follow in his father's footsteps. On returning from a journey to the U.S., he was ordained priest in 1893. During the years 1892 and 1893, Söderblom was first vice president and then president of the Uppsala Student Union.[2]

From 1894 until 1901, he held a ministry at the Swedish Embassy in Paris, where his congregation included both Alfred Nobel (1833–1896) and August Strindberg (1849–1912). In 1897, he conducted the memorial service following the death of Alfred Nobel. From 1901 to 1914, Söderblom held a chair in the School of Theology at Uppsala University and from 1912 to 1914 was also a professor of Religious studies at Leipzig University. In 1914, he was elected as Archbishop of Uppsala, the head of the Lutheran church in Sweden. During the First World War, he called on all Christian leaders to work for peace and justice while working to alleviate the conditions of prisoners of war and refugees.[3]

He believed that church unity had the specific purpose of presenting the gospel to the world and that the messages of Jesus were relevant to social life. His leadership of the Christian "Life and Work" movement in the 1920s has led him to be recognised as one of the principal founders of the ecumenical movement. He had begun the movement toward intercommunion between the Church of Sweden and the Church of England and was a close associate of the English ecumenist George Bell (1883–1958), Dean of Canterbury, Bishop of Chichester. He was instrumental in chairing the World Conference of Life and Work in Stockholm, in 1925. In 1930 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[2][4]

Selected works[edit]

  • Den enskilde och kyrkan : föredrag (1909)
  • Helighet och kultur (1913)
  • Gudstrons uppkomst (1914)
  • 9 Works by Nathan Söderblom at The Documentation of Chinese Christianity program, Hong Kong Baptist University Library

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Religious Organizations" (in Swedish). World Statesmen. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Nathan Söderblom". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  3. ^ "Nathan Söderblom". The Giffordlectures. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "Nathan Söderblom 1930". Nobel Peace Center. Retrieved July 1, 2020.

Other sources[edit]

  • Andrae, Tor J.E. (1931) Nathan Söderblom (Uppsala University)
  • Curtis, Charles J. (1967) Söderblom: Ecumenical Pioneer (Minneapolis, Augsburg Publishing House)
  • Jonson, Jonas (2016) Nathan Söderblom: Called to Serve (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company) ISBN 0802873081
  • Katz, Peter (1949) Nathan Söderblom: A Prophet of Christian Unity (London, James Clarke)
  • Sundkler, Beng (1968) Nathan Söderblom: His Life and Work (Lutterworth Press) ISBN 9780718815738

Further reading[edit]

  • Dietz Lange, Nathan Söderblom und seine Zeit, Göttingen 2011
  • Klas Hansson, Nathan Söderblom's ecumenical cope. A visualization of a theological and ecumenical concept. Studia Theologica – Nordic Journal of Theology, vol 66, issue 1, 2012

External links[edit]

Titles in Lutheranism
Preceded by Archbishop of Uppsala
Primate of Sweden

Succeeded by
Cultural offices
Preceded by Swedish Academy,
Seat No. 16

Succeeded by
Awards and achievements
Preceded by Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize
Succeeded by