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The Church was established in the 16th century when Sweden broke away from the Catholic Church and became a Lutheran Church. Protestant Reformation in Sweden was led by King Gustav Vasa assisted by clergymen, primarily the brothers Olaus Petri, and Laurentius Petri in Sweden, and Mikael Agricola, in Finland. An important part of the reformation was the transition from Latin to the domestic language to be used in church services and in translation of the Bible. Because of this the reformers, Olaus Petri and Agricola, also had an instrumental importance for the develoment of Swedish and Finnish as written languages.
The head of the Swedish Church is the Archbishop of Uppsala. As a state church, and during the 20th century, bishops were nominated by a conclave of clerics and then formally appointed by the Government of Sweden, ultimately depending on legislation by the Parliament of Sweden. In 2000 when the Church was separated from the state, a new body, the Church Assembly, or Kyrkomötet, was created to fulfill the role previously held by the national parliament. Members of the Church Assembly as well as local Parish Councils are appointed in elections held every three years among church members.
The Church describes itself in the following manner:
- The Church of Sweden is an Evangelical Lutheran community of faith manifested in parishes and dioceses. The Church of Sweden also has a national organisation.
- The Church of Sweden is an open national church, which, working with a democratic organisation and through the ministry of the church, covers the whole nation.
- Church of Sweden - Official site