Constitutional monarchy of Europe, occupying the western side of the Scandinavian Peninsula.
Christianity had reached this region by the 10th century; some of the vikings were baptized in England and Normandy, and they brought back missionaries with them.
Haakon the Good and Olaf Trygvesson, two of the earliest kings of united Norway, gave their protection to Christian churches and priests and attempted to abolish pagan sacrifices.
Sigurd, an Anglo-Saxon bishop, is sometimes called the Apostle of Norway.
About the year 1000 the nation divided, part of it coming under the control of Canute the Great, of Denmark; Olaf Haroldsson, who reestablished the separate and independent kingdom of Norway, became its patron saint.
He made this kingdom nominally Christian, though the faith had not yet been established throughout the land, and he built churches and schools.
The early dioceses were suffragan to the Archdiocese of Lund until 1152, and then to the Archdiocese of Trondhjem (Nidaros); they became numerous and; prosperous, and church buildings and furnishings are the chief representatives of the early development of Norwegian art.
With the subjection of Norway to Denmark in the 16th century, Catholicism was gradually superseded almost entirely by Lutheranism.
Churches were destroyed and their lands confiscated by kings and nobles, many monasteries were suppressed, and, in the persecution of Catholics Mogens Lawridtzen, Bishop of Hamar, died in prison, and Bishop Jon Arason was executed.
Norway remained a Danish province until 1814, and was then united with Sweden until 1905.
The Lutheran Church is still the church of the majority; it is endowed by the government and the clergy are nominated by the king.
A small Catholic parish founded, 1843, in Christiania was a center for revival of Catholicism, and a series of laws, 1845, granted toleration to Catholics and other non-Lutherans.
According to the present laws all religions are tolerated, and all religious orders may be admitted except the Jesuits.
In 1783, the country became part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Sweden; in 1868, it was made a separate prefecture apostolic, and in 1913 it was enlarged and entitled Vicariate Apostolic of Norway and Spitzbergen.
Approximately one per cent of the countries 3.5 million inhabitants are Catholic.
Ecclesiastically it is governed by the diocese of
and the territorial prelatures of
New Catholic Dictionary