Enhetens polyfoni

– berättigad mångfald


  • Per Olof Nisser


The purpose of this article is to explicate some perspectives on the relationship between the Hymnal of the Church of Sweden (Den svenska psalmboken) and ecumenism. An initial scholarly review reveals in the earlier Swedish hymnals a more or less critical attitude to the surrounding confessional (non-Lutheran) world. Over time, this attitude has yielded to one more open. In order to get a grip on ecumenical attitude to congregational singing, the author has studied declarations and reports from some of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and its general assemblies. The hymn was not a hot topic in these contexts; attention has mainly been directed to the issue of worship and the WCC song collection Cantate Domino. This forms the background to the ecumenical process that led to the decision of 325 common hymns placed first in all the hymnals of Swedish Christian denominations from 1986 and the following years. In 2016, the general synod of the Church of Sweden decided on a revision of its hymnal. In the meantime, major ecumenical shifts have occurred. Some practical and fundamental consequences for the review are discussed here, anticipating that the Swedish Church needs to clarify its position regarding form and direction for ecumenical collaboration in the future. Further discussion in such matters therefore has to be left aside, while a concluding section focuses on two special perspectives on the relationship between ecumenics and hymn: firstly, concerning congregational singing as an ecumenical event and act in itself, to sing together, and secondly, concerning the challenge of utilizing and applying ecumenical affirmation of ”justified diversity” in order to present a broad and deep unity of
polyphony in congregational singing.