Gunnar Rosendal

Gunnar Rosendal (1967)

Gunnar Rosendal (4 April 1897, Grevie parish – 26 December 1988, Kristianstad) was a Swedish Lutheran priest, Doctor of Theology, and parish priest of Osby. Through his books promoting High Church Lutheran theology and spirituality, especially Kyrklig förnyelse (1935), he became a leading and disputed figure of the Catholic movement in the Church of Sweden.

Early life

Rosendal was born in Grevie, Skåne, the son of Andreas and Teolinda Rosendal. His mother died early and his father moved to the United States so he and his sister were raised by an aunt.[1] After graduating from Lunds Privata Elementarskola he began his theological studies at Lund University in 1918. He was ordained on 25 May 1922 by bishop Gottfrid Billing and moved to Väsby to begin his work as a priest.[2]

International contacts

Rosendal had many contacts to the liturgical movement in the Roman Catholic church, especially in Benedictine monasteries, and knew personally many theologians of the liturgical and ecumenical movement, such as Pius Parsch and Paul Couturier. He also had plenty of contacts with Anglo-Catholicism in the Church of England, e.g. to Dom Gregory Dix, and was member of Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius. Rosendal often liked to show himself as catholic as possible, but he was also rooted in the theology of 17th century Lutheran orthodoxy, which he knew well. By the recommendation of Bo Giertz he started to read books of Carl Olof Rosenius, which made a lasting impression. Rosendal himself used the neo-thomistic paradigm and resisted all kinds of liberal theology as well as the dialectical theology of Karl Barth. Rosendal was one of the theologians that worked for the foundation of the International League for Apostolic Faith and Order (ILAFO).


In Sweden his influence can be seen in the foundation of the high church organization arbetsgemenskapen Kyrklig Förnyelse (aKF), which was inspired by his book, Kyrklig förnyelse.


  1. ^ Kilström p. 94
  2. ^ Kilström p. 95
  • Gunnar Rosendal - en banbrytare för kyrklig förnyelse, edited by V.-A. Grönqvist. (with summaries in English - Gunnar Rosendal - a pioneer for church renewal in Church of Sweden.) Artos 2004.
  • Staffan Ljungman, Fader Gunnar i Osby - En alldeles ovanlig präst, 1997.
  • Bengt Ingmar Kilström, Gunnar Rosendal (1897-1988), in Societas Sanctae Birgittae 1971-1995. 1995
  • Oloph Bexell, "Gunnar Rosendal", in Svenskt bografiskt lexikon 30. -Also free by Internet: sok.riksarkivet.se
  • Oloph Bexell "Renewal of the Church from within the Church itself. Gunnar Rosendal's Kyrklig förnyelse - an Ecclesiastical Classic in the Church of Sweden." Classics in Northern European Church History over 500 Years. Essays in Honour of Anders Jarlert. Ed. Gumundsson, Maurits och Nykvist. Frankfurt 2017.

External links

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