The St. Pauli church in the multicultural Swedish city of Malmö has unveiled a LGBT-themed altar painting featuring same-sex couples to celebrate advent.
The painting, entitled Paradise, depicts two same-sex couples along with transgender individuals and is based on the 16th-century painting Adam and Eve by German master painter Lucas Cranach, Swedish newspaper Expressen reports.
Artist and photographer Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin, the creator of the painting, initially attempted to donate it to Skara cathedral which refused it stating it was too overtly political.
Sofia Tunebro, the head pastor of St. Pauli, welcomed the painting labelling it “pure joy” and added: “We are very grateful to have it, we have become a credible church.”
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“The Swedish Church has been important for same-sex couples for ten years, but we have no representation of them in art. Similar images really need to hang in many churches,” she added.
Tunebro went on to say that “everyone should be able to be wed and buried in front of all the pictures. It is not up to the individual to decide, but this is how it looks in St. Paul’s Church. The architect designed the church round because it is a democratic form, in Lutheran spirit. So it fits well here.”
One theme that has been common among Swedish church clergy is a very positive attitude towards Islam.
In 2015, openly lesbian Stockholm Archbishop Eva Brunne proposed removing crosses from some churches and installing Muslim prayer spaces during the height of the migrant crisis.
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The Archbishop expressed her fondness for Muslims again in June of 2019, stating that she felt she had more in common with Muslims than with right-wing Christians.
Bishop Fredrik Modeus has also expressed similar beliefs, stating in 2018 that he was looking forward to hearing the public broadcast of the Muslim call to prayer in the city of Växjö.