Vikings: How the Pagans Became Christians (Part 2 of 2)

Posted by Ms Elly on

Vikings: How the Pagans Became Christians (Part 2 of 2)

In the previous blog post about the religious conversion of the Vikings, we have discussed the possible reasons why the Vikings chose to follow a new religion. In this part 2, we are to discuss how the process of conversion took place in three major Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

The possible reasons for the Viking religious conversion related to the economy, political power, gender equality, and peace and security problems. Though this process didn't need much violence, it took centuries to totally finish. 

At first, the Vikings didn't prefer the new religion. They respected and loved their Norse gods. Around 800s, the Christian priests and monks started their trip to spread Christianity. But it took many years until the Vikings started to believe in Christianity. Even when some of the Viking kings claimed themselves to be the Christians, many of their people still worshipped their old gods. By the end of the Viking glory, they completely turned into the Christians, got baptized, and buried in their new faith. 

The process of conversion of the Vikings into the Christians

The ritual of baptism. Many of the Vikings got baptized and gave up their belief in gods. They later got buried in their new faith


Though Harald Bluetooth claimed himself to succeed in converting the Danes into Christians, he was not the early Dane to change his belief. 

In 826, King Harald Klak was forced to leave Denmark. He fled to ask for the help of King Louis I. King Louis was willing to offer his help as long as King Harald Klak gave up his belief in Norse Pantheon. The Viking king agreed. He, his family, and his 400 men were baptized 

The year was 965 when King Harald Bluetooth Gormsson was baptized. He erected the Jelling stone and carved onto it his success in converting the Danes into the Christians. The Jelling stone was also the first birth certificate of Denmark. 

Jelling Stone of Denmark

Jelling stone depicting the man on the cross. The Jelling stone by King Harald Bluetooth Gormsson was the birth certificate of Denmark. Harald also claim himself as the one who converted his people into Christians


In Norway, a few earlier kings converted themselves into the Christians. But it was not until 995 when Olaf Tryggvason became King Olaf I. During his reign, he forced his people to change their belief into the Christians. 

King Olaf I resorted to violence when someone didn't choose to follow the god. He burnt down the pagan temples and killed the Vikings who stubbornly didn't want to convert. Because of this violence of the king, nearly every part in Norway became the Chrisitan-dominated regions, at least in their name. 


Conflicts and wars took place when the Christians tried to convert the pagans into the Christians. The belief in pagans and the Christian belief existed in the Viking community for many years. 

Many of the Vikings in this part preferred this slow process of conversion. By the 12th century, the majority of the Swedens became Christians. 

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