Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Kristina Petri

?1561

The first clergyman's wife in Sweden

Kristina Petri was the first woman to marry a Lutheran priest in Sweden. She was the wife of Olaus Petri the reformer.

Very little is known of Kristina Petri’s background apart from the fact that she was the daughter of a Stockholm burgess. She married Olaus Petri in February 1525 and the ceremony was conducted at Storkyrkan in Stockholm. It is believed that this marriage service was the first occasion on which mass was celebrated in Swedish. This marital union marks the beginning of the reformation in the Swedish kingdom: it served as the starting pistol for developments which turned the priest’s household into a central institution of local society.

Olaus Petri had studied in Wittenberg from 1516–1518. He had met Martin Luther there and become heavily influenced by ideas of reform. Kristina Petri must have met Olaus Petri in 1524, following his move to Stockholm, where he took up the position of secretary to the town council and preacher at Storkyrkan. During his ordination as deacon in 1520 Olaus Petri had taken a vow of celibacy. However, the breaking of this vow by entering into marriage had become one of the popular ways in which reformers demonstrated their support, during the early stages of the reformation, for the new theology espoused by Martin Luther and other professors at Wittenburg. Several of Luther’s students got married, causing a major scandal. Kristina Petri was therefore probably aware of the significance of her actions when she agreed to marry an ordained man and must have known that she faced consequences. The reaction of Hans Brask, the bishop of Linköping, to news of their marriage was to condemn it and to announce that by breaking his vow of celibacy Olaus Petri faced damnation according to church law and that significant difficulties would arise when seeking to determine inheritance rights of any children the couple might have. Kristina Petri and her husband did, however, have the support of King Gustav Vasa, who defended their decision to marry.

Olaus and Kristina Petri had two children: a daughter called Elisabeth, born in 1526, and a son called Reginald born in 1527. Kristina Petri was widowed in 1552. She herself died in 1561.


Kajsa Brilkman
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)


Published 2018-03-08



You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Kristina Petri, www.skbl.se/sv/artikel/KristinaPetri, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Kajsa Brilkman), retrieved 2020-04-07.




Other Names

    Maiden name: Mikaelsdotter
    Alternate name: Christina


Family Relationships

Civil Status: Widow
  • Mother: Malin Hansdotter
  • Father: Mikael Jönsson
  • Husband: Olaus Petri
more ...


Activities

  • Non-profit work: Prästfru


Contacts

  • Friend: Gustav Vasa, kung av Sverige


Residences

  • Stockholm


Sources

Literature
  • Westman, Knut Bernhard, Reformationens genombrottsår i Sverige, Svenska kyrkans diakonistyrelses bokförl., Stockholm, 1918, S. 222-226

  • Schück, Henrik, Några småskrifter af Olavus Petri., [Upsala], 1888

  • Olaus Petri, Självbiografiska anteckningar, Jubileumskommittén Olaus Petri, 500 år, Örebro, 1993

Encyclopaedia
  • Rasmussen, Tarald, 'Olaus Petri', Das Reformatorenlexikon / redaktion: Irene Dingel & Volker Leppin, Lambert Schneider, Darmstadt, 2014, S. 207–214