Church of Norway consecrates Olav Fykse Tveit as presiding bishop

In historic Nidaros Cathedral, the ancient shrine and pilgrimage destination of medieval Trondheim, the Church of Norway on Sunday, 10 May 2020, consecrated the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit as bishop of the Diocese of Nidaros and installed him as Preses or presiding bishop of its Bishops’ Conference.

In observance of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the cathedral service was held with minimal attendance but live-streamed internationally. As presiding bishop, Tveit succeeds Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien, who was the first woman to hold the post and who has led the church through the reframing of its position in national life.

At the service, Dr Tveit preached on the gospel text from John 15:1-9, on Jesus as the true vine, cultivating his disciples to bear much fruit, namely, faith, hope, and love.

“This is the church’s task in this world,” he said, “to preach and demonstrate God’s love, so that we can get the strength and will and ability to love others. It can and should demand something from us, for it concerns the most important thing of all. We can do this because we have been inserted into a relation with Christ.”

Noting the unique and tumultuous circumstances of a global pandemic while congratulating the former general secretary on his new ministry, WCC moderator Dr Agnes Abuom and acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca voiced their prayers for Tveit and “the people’s church” that he will lead, saying, “We earnestly pray that, with your leadership, the Church of Norway will seize this time to strengthen faith, encourage participation, cultivate community, and foster dedication to the care of the people of Norway and the service of the whole human family.”

Echoing Tveit’s own hopes and their confidence in him, Abuom and Sauca said, “We look to a new birth of the church through the continued presence of the Risen Lord among us. May the Church of Norway be and become, as you have phrased it, ‘a fellowship of hope,’ a haven always safe yet never comfortable, a herald and true beacon of hope for all humanity.”

For his work in ecumenical peacemaking, Dr Tveit has received several honours, most recently just last week, when he was awarded the Dongbaek Medal of the Order of Civil Meritfrom the president and prime minister of the Republic of Korea for his dedicated and persistent work over ten years toward peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula.