English and Northern Irish bishops have snubbed an invitation to be present at the ordination of the next Bishop of Stockholm, Eva Brunne, due to her openly gay status.
“The Anglican Church has a moratorium right now concerning the ordination of bishops who live together with someone of the same sex,” said Alan Harper of Northern Ireland’s Armagh in a report by the Local.
A total of five bishops from a range of levels at the Anglican Church have declined invitations to the ceremony which took place on November 8th. Among the five was Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. “We send invitations to those with the highest rank. That’s why the Archbishop of Canterbury received an invitation, but no one expected him to say yes,” said Swedish Archbishop Anders Wejryd.
Brunne’s appointment to the post as head of the Stockholm Diocese of the Church of Sweden came in May this year; just weeks after same-sex marriages were given the same status under Swedish law as those between heterosexual couples. The announcement was met both at home and abroad with raised eyebrows.
Relations between the Church of England and the Church of Sweden have become increasingly strained in recent times, as the Scandinavian branch takes on a more welcoming approach to homosexuality, illustrated by its decision last month to allow gay couples church weddings. In July, two British bishops claimed such a move would be damaging to the ongoing relationship between the two churches.
Eva Brunne lives with partner Gunilla Linden, also a Church of Sweden pastor.