THE CHRISTIAN KINGDOM AS AN IMAGE OF THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM ACCORDING TO ST. BIRGITTA OF SWEDEN
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY, INSTITUTE OF HISTORY, CULTURE AND CIVILISATION, CENTRE FOR MEDIEVAL STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN DENMARK (2010)
In his recent book on Scandinavian crusading history, Dick Harrison wrote of St. Birgitta: “According to the future saint, kingdoms, duchies and counties were insignificant in God’s eyes, only Christendom itself was significant.” Birgitta’s ideas of politics and patriotism undoubtedly were much different from ours, but were political structures altogether insignificant for her? And what did she actually say about the relation of these structures to Christendom as a whole? This study is an attempt to discuss these questions as Birgitta describes them in her Revelationes celestes.
The thesis of this study is that the idea of Christian community is an important subject of St. Birgitta’s Revelationes celestes, especially in relation to structures of political power on the one hand and to the heavenly community of saints on the other. Birgitta was an advisor to King Magnus Eriksson for many years, until she left Sweden. Later, she became active supporter of the pope’s return to Rome and gave her prophetic advice to a number of Christian rulers.