Ritual and Liturgy research

Ritual and liturgy research is a fairly new research field at the Faculty of Theology. Work is done on ritual religious actions: public church liturgy, other collective rituals connected to religious faith and more private rituals such as personal prayer


Painting by Helge Bøe.

The aim of liturgical history, as a discipline in church history, is to reconstruct historical Christian rituals and to investigate their theological and contextual (social, political, etc.) significance.

The ritual dimension of religions has been gaining ground in Theology in recent decades, not least through the discipline of Ritual Studies and social scientists’ emphasis on rites. The Faculty of Theology reflects this development not least through the establishment in 2008 of a Professorial chair in Liturgical Studies, as the first of its kind in Norway.

The history of liturgy studies central Christian rites such as eucharist, baptism, ordination, the daily office, festivals etc. The scholarly discussion at the faculty focuses in particular on the history of liturgy in the first Christian millennium, and in particular on the Eastern church, both the first three centuries, with their considerable variety and development, and the following centuries, during which various Christian liturgical traditions are developed and fixed. In addition, work is done on Norwegian liturgical history, both in the Middle Ages and in Protestantism. Important themes are the structural development of the rites and their relation to church canon and authority.