Leaders of the (Lutheran) Church of Norway accused the government of overruling church democracy by stipulating that the denomination's presiding bishop be based in Trondheim, an ancient ecclesiastical capital.
Rigmor Aasrud, government minister for Church of Norway affairs, said Trondheim reflected the country's thousand-year history of Christianity.
But Nils Tore Andersen, lay moderator of the church's national council, said the state "is humiliating the church by not basing the new bishop in Oslo as we asked for."
In November 2009, the church's General Synod voted to establish a permanent presiding bishop (rather than having a diocesan bishop serve both roles) based out of Oslo, a decision that must be authorized by the state.
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