Above: A skilling from Erik Valkendorf
Erik Valkendorf was probably born in 1465. He was appointed to the king's
chancery around 1490 Having completed his theological training in Germany.
When Christian II was sent to Norway as governor
by his father, King Hans, Valkendorf accompanied
him as chancellor. It is clear that Valkendorf was one of Christian's most
prominent – and most trusted – advisors.
When Archbishop Gaute died in 1510, Valkendorf was appointed as his successor in Nidaros, Trondheim. As archbishop, Valkendorf accomplished a great deal in many different areas.
Valkendorf was responsible for the production of liturgical books intended for use throughout the country: Missale Nidrosiense and Breviarium Nidrosiense. He has also won a deserved place in the history of Norwegian literature through his account of Finnmark, northern Norway, composed as a letter to the pope.
Christian's nomination of Valkendorf as archbishop in Nidaros, probably had the ulterior motive of winning control over this important office and, through it, over the Norwegian church. In the first part of Christian II's reign, relations between him and the archbishop were good. However, a deep discord gradually developed between them. The argument was primarily about the church's commercial trade, the extent of the church's tax exemption and the scope of the clergy's powers to impose legal judgements.
The conflict finally forced Valkendorf into exile. He went to Rome where he wanted to present his case to the pope. However, before Valkendorf had carried out his plan, the pope died, probably of the plague that ravaged Rome at the time.