Full text: The national Church of Sweden

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$ 9.—THE House oF STENKIL (1066 A.D.—II130 A.D.). 
After Emund Gammal’s death the old divinely descended 
line of Swedish kings came to an end, and the West Goths 
seem to have been able to carry an election in favour of 
Stenkil, son of Ragnvald. His father has been identified, 
perhaps without sufficient reason, with the old Jarl Ragn- 
vald Ulfsson, who has been already mentioned more than 
once. Stenkil had previously shown kindness to the 
Bremen bishop, Adalward 1., and the latter hoped by this 
means to carry out the destruction of the idols of Svithiod, 
and to introduce a reform after the Norwegian model. In 
this he was abetted by Bishop Egino of Skane. But 
Stenkil knew the temper of the Sveas too well. He told 
the bishops that if they persisted they would lose their 
lives, he would lose his kingdom, and the people would 
relapse into paganism (Adam: ch. 238). 
This prudent king did not, however, live long, and a 
period of confusion and civil war followed, in which force 
was used on both sides to promote the interests of Christen- 
dom and heathendom. Inge, son of Stenkil, abolished the 
sacrifices in Svithiod, and enjoined that all folk should 
be christened, and, in consequence, was pelted with stones, 
and obliged to abdicate, for a time, as his father had pre- 
dicted (Appendix to Hervarar Saga; cp. Geijer: p. 41). 
This use of force in matters of religion was alien from the 
Swedish character, and stands very much alone in Swedish 
history, although crusades to convert other peoples were 
undertaken by Swedish kings later on. But the forcible 
conversion of Smiland a little later was the work of a 
Norwegian, not a Swedish, king, Sigurd, the Jerusalem- 
farer (1121 A.D.~—I120 A.D.). In Sweden, at this time, the 
heathen Sven, Inge’s brother-in-law, reigned for three 
years, and received the name of Blot-Sven, or Sven the 
Sacrificer. Inge then recovered his kingdom, but did not 
destroy the Upsala Temple. It was left for one of the later 
kings, Sverker L, in 1138 a.p. (as we are told) to lay the 
foundation of old Upsala Cathedral and to work into it 
the materials of the pagan temple of the three gods (E. 

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