Head of Swedish Church to quit next year

K G Hammar has announced that he is to quit as the Archbishop of the Swedish church next summer. He put his decision down to personal reasons.

“It is my life situation which has led to the decision to leave next summer. It has been a long process,” he said in a press release on Thursday.

Hammar, who took up the post in 1997, will be 63 years old when he leaves.

“Since it is a personal decision there is no more to say. It is entirely his own affair and he has chosen to keep his reasons to himself,” said the archbishop’s press secretary, Eva Röllgårdh, to TT.

K G Hammar made public his decision at the end of a meeting of the Uppsala diocese and it comes just days after he launched an information campaign in advance of the church’s autumn elections.

Lars Friedner, the general secretary of the Swedish Church, said Hammar’s decision was “regrettable”.

“He is an eminent leader who has not chosen the simplest way to be an archbishop. He has got involved in some difficult discussions and has been praised as well as abused and even threatened,” said Friedner.

K G Hammar will formally leave in August 2006.