Eva Margareta Frölich was a mystic and an author of Pietistic writings who was active during the late seventeenth century.
Eva Margareta Frölich was born and raised in Mecklenburg. Very little is known of her childhood and youth. Her brother came to Sweden and had a career there. She married the Swedish colonel Johann Henning Neumeijer in Riga. In the early 1680s she became acquainted with the goldsmith Bernd Dörchmann. He claimed to have had a vision in which King Karl XI was the new Cyrus, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah, and appointed by God to be lord of all Christendom. Eva Margareta Frölich spent the rest of her life promulgating this vision and even claimed that she herself had had it. Later she described her life as the manifestation of the 109th psalm of the Bible, which describes how the righteous are persecuted. Similarly to what had happened to many of the prophets in the Old Testament, Eva Margareta Frölich was persecuted by priests and the authorities in Stockholm. She compared her time in Dresden to the prophet Jonah’s life in Nineveh in order to affirm her prophetic authority. She described herself as a weak woman, as there are several points in the Bible describing those who live simply and who are despised are actually living truthfully. Her powerful appearance, however, seems to discredit any notion that she was physically weak.
During a visit to Stockholm in 1683 she wrote two letters to King Karl XI, and even obtained an audience with him. She presented the king with her teachings and those of Bernd Dörchmann, and she attempted to convince Karl XI of their truth. The Stockholm consistory had her questioned by German priests, while the king requested a written answer to the “noise” she was causing, and the privy council decided to place her under house arrest. The reasons for this were her vision regarding Karl XI, her claim to being a prophet, and her violent attacks on the priests. She was released from house arrest after she had rescinded her claims. In the autumn of 1684 she continued to propagate her views and was subsequently placed in a children’s home, where she was expected to earn a living by spinning. On 12 November that year she was condemned to banishment from the land by the Svea court of appeal. Five days later the hangman at Norrmalmstorg burned one of her writings.
In early 1685 Eva Margareta Frölich travelled to Lübeck and then on to Dresden, where she attempted to gain the electoral prince Johann Georg IV’s support for her visions about Karl XI. She was expelled from Saxony and so travelled on to Amsterdam, where she placed a sign on the house she lived in which stated: “Here lives a 1000 year old prophetess named Eva Margaretha Frölich.” She started an intensive literary production, composing five millenarian works which attacked the orthodox clergy of Sweden and once again promulgated the end of the 1000-year old kingdom. In 1692 she returned to Sweden where she was immediately imprisoned. She died before a new trial could be brought.
Eva Margareta Frölich’s millenarianism and criticism of the church presumably influenced the followers of Lars Ulstadius, the first radical Pietist in Finland, who studied at Uppsala in the mid-1680s. Eva Margareta Frölich’s visions concerning Karl XI can be understood through a socio-historical lens as an exaggerated expression of the contemporary pro-monarchical ideology as held by the lower nobility. Her admiration of the absolute monarch, Karl XI, who himself demanded religious conformity and forbad the very idiosyncratic religious beliefs which she expounded, create a stark contrast. Theologians see her prophecies as heresy given that she interpreted prophecies of Christ as visions about King Karl XI.
Eva Margareta Frölich died in Stockholm in 1692.