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Swedish priest scores fame with wedding selfie

Maddy Savage · 8 Sep 2015, 15:14

Published: 08 Sep 2015 15:12 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Sep 2015 15:14 GMT+02:00

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Reverend John Liljeblad from Förslöv in southern Sweden had not held a selfie stick until last Saturday and was taken by surprise when a young couple suggested he used their official photographer's stick during their ceremony.
He explained that that Elin Elofsson, 24, and her now husband Jonas, 25 had got the idea from a family member's girlfriend but said he had been more than happy to "have a go", despite his inexperience using the new technology.
"The bride was very excited and said it would be a very nice moment in the wedding," he told The Local.
"Everyone was a bit nervous in the church but when I took the photo it became less tense and people cheered and it was like everyone exploded with happiness."
Liljeblad's photo went viral in Sweden after being shared by Swedish tabloid Expressen on Tuesday, as the newspaper dubbed it the nation's first 'prälfie', combining the Swedish word for priest ('präst') with the word 'selfie'.
But the priest said he was still "a little confused" that it had caught so much attention.
He compared the hype to the global reaction to an Irish priest who stunned wedding guests with a surprise rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah in 2014. 
"It's good that everybody has seen how happy they were," he said in reference to the newlyweds, saying he hoped the photo would encourage other couples to consider getting married in church.
According to Liljeblad, his efforts are just one example of a trend towards more "welcoming" church services in largely-secular Sweden, where church attendance is falling.
"It's so different [around the country], you still have some funny conservative priests...but on the whole Sweden is changing a lot to make it more convenient for people to come to church, not having such dull or long speeches and so on," he explained.
Asked if he would regularly be offering his 'prälfie' services at future ceremonies, he burst out laughing.
"Erm...maybe...I hope so, well, why not!" he chuckled.
Story continues below…
"I am just so happy that my first photo with a stick could be this good."

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Maddy Savage (maddy.savage@thelocal.com)

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