Archbishop Olav Engelbrektsson 1523-1537


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Olav Engelbrektsson 


Olav Engelbrektsson, chosen as Erik Valkendorf's successor, was the last Roman Catholic archbishop in Norway. Olav was also a politician, serving as leader of the National Council when it elected Frederik I as king of Norway at a meeting in Bergen in 1524. The National Council adopted a separate Norwegian coronation charter Ė a document specifying the duties of the elected king in relation to his subjects. King Frederick accepted the Councilís wishes and allowed it to rule Norway at the beginning of his reign. 

However, it is clear that Olav Engelbrektsson mistrusted and disliked Frederick from the very start. The archbishop succeeded in delaying his coronation three times with the result that Frederick was never actually crowned as King of Norway. Frederick showed good-will to lay Protestant preachers by granting them free reign in Norway. At the same time he set out, together with the nobility, to corner some of the Catholic churchís sizeable revenue by presenting financial claims against the church. The king also confiscated the feudal estates of the bishops. When Archbishop Olav Engelbrektsson was required to surrender Trøndelag, he refused, and instead built a fort at Steinviksholm just north of Trondheim along with a force of soldiers and battleships. 

Under the «feud of the count» that followed Frederick Iís death in 1533, Olav championed Norwegian independence. His aim was to establish an independent Norway under its own, Roman Catholic king. His candidate of choice was Christian II's son-in-law, Frederick of Pfalz. However, most of the Danish noblemen wanted Christian III as king in Norway. This conflict motivated the events at negotiations in Trondheim in 1536: Olav Engelbrektson had the Danish nobleman Vincens Lunge killed and the other participants arrested. In July the same year, Christian III and the Danish National Council formally adopted the Reformation in Denmark, and in October, King Christian proclaimed his own coronation charter in which Norway was made a Danish province. Olav Engelbrektsson never succeeded in rousing a popular revolt in Norway and in 1537 he was forced to flee the country. Olav died in the Netherlands the following year. 

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