Nathan Söderblom


Nathan Söderblom

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Lars Olof Jonathan (Nathan) Söderblom
The Nobel Peace Prize 1930

Born: 15 January 1866, Trönö, Sweden

Died: 12 July 1931, Uppsala, Sweden

Residence at the time of the award: Sweden

Role: Archbishop; Leader in the ecumenical movement

Prize motivation: “for promoting Christian unity and helping create 'that new attitude of mind which is necessary if peace between nations is to become reality'”

Prize share: 1/1

Cooperation between Christian Church Communities Brings Peace

The Swedish bishop Nathan Söderblom was the first clergyman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. As a student he was active in the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), and in the international Christian student movement.

Söderblom obtained a doctorate at the Sorbonne and became a professor of theology at the University of Uppsala. In 1914 he was appointed archbishop.

As a church leader, he wanted most passionately to create a common Christian platform for peace, and this was the work for which he was awarded the Peace Prize. Söderblom was the prime mover behind the Universal Conference on Life and Work in Stockholm in 1925, a church meeting which declared its support for efforts to bring about an international system of justice and arbitration, as well as for the League of Nations. Since the Church had a supranational call, all Christian church communities were called on to fight unhealthy nationalism, racism, militarism and the oppression of minorities. At the same time, Jesus' message of love must be disseminated from pulpits, in newspapers, and in school. By such means one would create a powerful body of Christian opinion across national borders in favor of peace.

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