Swedish bishop quits after office bashing

Sven Thidevall, the Swedish bishop at the heart of a period of ecclesiastical turbulence which left the diocese of Växjö in southern Sweden reeling, has resigned to take up a research post.

The controversial Church of Sweden bishop has found himself swept up in a conflict of biblical proportions in recent months as the diocese has battled with internal strife, including accusations of threats and counter-accusations of physical assault.

The problems became so serious that Ragnar Persenius, a bishop in the diocese of Uppsala and the representative of the archbishop, had been called in to help resolve the escalating conflict and hold peace talks with those involved.

The Local reported in the beginning of February that the problems had come to a head after Thidevall signed off on sick leave following an office quarrel which ended in a bout of clerical fisticuffs and a subsequent police report for alleged assault.

On Monday evening the diocese of Växjö released two statements announcing that Sven Thidevall will resign on July 1st.

“The chain of events is regrettable, but we respect his decision and consider this the best solution for all concerned,” explained Jan-Erik Forsberg at the diocese in the statement.

Forsberg explained that a crisis of confidence was the underlying cause for the course of action.

“It also concerns a chronic communication problem. With such a loss of faith it is impossible to function as a bishop. In this situation it is best to separate in a dignified way and with respect for each other,” Forsberg said.

Thidevall explained his side of events in a further statement.

“That the increased tensions and the open conflict are serious can be read into the deteriorated psychosocial atmosphere at the diocese office. In the current situation I can see no other alternative other than, with regret, to resign my position at the diocese of Växjö,” Thidevall said.

Sven Thidevall will now take up a research position within the Church of Sweden.