Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Kristina (hustru till Olaus Petri)


The first clergyman's wife in Sweden

Kristina was the first woman to marry a Lutheran priest in Sweden. She was the wife of Olaus Petri the reformer.

Very little is known of Kristina’s background apart from the fact that she was the daughter of a Stockholm burgess. She married Olaus Petri in February 1525 and the ceremony was conducted at Storkyrkan in Stockholm. It is believed that this marriage service was the first occasion on which mass was celebrated in Swedish. This marital union marks the beginning of the reformation in the Swedish kingdom: it served as the starting pistol for developments which turned the priest’s household into a central institution of local society.

Olaus Petri had studied in Wittenberg from 1516–1518. He had met Martin Luther there and become heavily influenced by ideas of reform. Kristina must have met Olaus Petri in 1524, following his move to Stockholm, where he took up the position of secretary to the town council and preacher at Storkyrkan. During his ordination as deacon in 1520 Olaus Petri had taken a vow of celibacy. However, the breaking of this vow by entering into marriage had become one of the popular ways in which reformers demonstrated their support, during the early stages of the reformation, for the new theology espoused by Martin Luther and other professors at Wittenburg. Several of Luther’s students got married, causing a major scandal. Kristina was therefore probably aware of the significance of her actions when she agreed to marry an ordained man and must have known that she faced consequences. The reaction of Hans Brask, the bishop of Linköping, to news of their marriage was to condemn it and to announce that by breaking his vow of celibacy Olaus Petri faced damnation according to church law and that significant difficulties would arise when seeking to determine inheritance rights of any children the couple might have. Kristina and her husband did, however, have the support of King Gustav Vasa, who defended their decision to marry.

Olaus Petri and Kristina had two children: a daughter called Elisabeth, born in 1526, and a son called Reginald born in 1527. Kristina was widowed in 1552. She herself died in 1561.

Kajsa Weber
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)

Published 2018-03-08

You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Kristina (hustru till Olaus Petri) ,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Kajsa Weber), retrieved 2024-05-24.

Other Names

    Maiden name: Mikaelsdotter?
    Alternate name: Christina

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Widow
  • Mother: Malin Hansdotter
  • Father: Mikael Jönsson
  • Husband: Olaus Petri
more ...


  • Non-profit work: Prästfru


  • Friend: Gustav Vasa, kung av Sverige


  • Stockholm


  • Olaus Petri, Självbiografiska anteckningar, Jubileumskommittén Olaus Petri, 500 år, Örebro, 1993

  • Schück, Henrik, Några småskrifter af Olavus Petri., [Upsala], 1888

  • Westman, Knut Bernhard, Reformationens genombrottsår i Sverige, Svenska kyrkans diakonistyrelses bokförl., Stockholm, 1918, S. 222-226

  • Rasmussen, Tarald, 'Olaus Petri', Das Reformatorenlexikon / redaktion: Irene Dingel & Volker Leppin, Lambert Schneider, Darmstadt, 2014, S. 207–214