Gustavus Vasa

gustav I) (1496-1560. King of Sweden from 1523. He not only led Sweden to independence from Denmark, but established the Lutheran state church in his domain. During the Swedish war of independence the Roman Catholic Church made several ill-advised moves and stirred great opposition to Catholicism among Swedes at a particularly sensitive period in their history. For instance, Gustavus Trolle, archbishop of Uppsala, placed himself firmly on the side of Denmark; for his political activities he became known as the “Swedish Judas Iscariot.” Though Gustavus Vasa (who led the independence movement after 1520) had some leanings toward Lutheranism, the issue that especially led him to break with Rome was his great need for money. His main support was the poor peasants; most of the nobles had been massacred by Denmark in 1520. The Roman Church controlled a great percentage of Sweden's wealth; some claim it owned as much as two-thirds of the land. The Diet and Ordinances of Westeras* (1527) confiscated most church property, ordered teaching of the Gospel in the schools, and provided for royal confirmation of the higher clergy. Lutheranism henceforth gained rapidly, especially under the influence of Lars Petersson, professor of theology at Uppsala and translator of the NT into Swedish (1526), and Lars Andersson, archdeacon of Uppsala, royal chancellor, and publisher of the entire Bible in Swedish (1540- 41).