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Nathan Söderblom
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Religious Figure
    (January 15, 1866-July 12, 1931)
    Born in Trönö, Sweden
    Birth name was Lars Olaf Jonathan Söderblom
    Lutheran (Church of Sweden) minister
    Archbishop of Uppsala (1914-31)
    Chaired the first Universal Conference on Life and Work (1925), a forerunner of the World Council of Churches
    Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting international understanding through Christian unity (1930)
    His selection as Archbishop of Uppsala (and thus head of the Church of Sweden) was a surprise: normally the King of Sweden chose the person who had received the most votes from the Church’s sixteen electoral colleges. Söderblom had been a distant third behind two distinguished bishops.
    He was the first non-bishop chosen for the position since 1670.
    As was the case with Bertha von Suttner, his Nobel Prize may have had more to do with his connections to Alfred Nobel (Nobel had been a member of his congregation; he conducted Nobel’s memorial service) than his achievements.
    He was the first foreigner to earn a doctorate in theology from the Sorbonne.
    He was appointed to the Swedish Academy (1921), allowing him to vote for the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
    During World War I, he worked to alleviate the conditions of prisoners of war and refugees.
    He urged churches to work against racism and militarism.
    He was declared a saint in the Lutheran and Episcopal churches.

Credit: C. Fishel

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