Free Online Bible Library | Eivind Berggrav

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Eivind Berggrav

1884-1959. Norwegian Lutheran bishop. Son of a clergyman (who later became a bishop), he studied theology and was ordained in 1908. He was a teacher in various types of schools from 1909, became pastor in a rural parish in 1918, penitentiary chaplain in 1924, bishop of Tromso in 1928, bishop of Oslo 1937-50. Originally influenced by liberal theology, he nevertheless took no part in debates on the subject, and as bishop won the confidence of the majority of active church people. Berggrav was a prolific writer who published about thirty books on various subjects: psychology of religion, philosophy of education, the relation between church and state, devotional works, etc. He wanted to establish a fruitful relationship between the church and contemporary cultural life, and for this purpose he edited from 1909 the magazine Kirke og Kultur. During the German occupation (1940-45) he was the leader of the church in its controversy with the Nazi government. He took a prominent part in the writing of the pastoral letters and declarations which became vital factors in this struggle. From Easter 1942 until the close of the war he was placed in heavily guarded police internment. In 1950 because of poor health he resigned his position as bishop, but remained active. He took a leading part in the ecumenical efforts of this period. From 1950 to 1954 he was one of the presidents of the World Council of Churches.*