Region of N Norw., N Swed., N Fin., and the Kola Peninsula of NW Russ.; most of it is N of the Arctic Circle. Lapps (word of obscure origin; probably from Swed), Finno-Ugrians who call themselves Samelats, were carried N to this their present homeland before the birth of Christ by migrations of Slavs, Goths, and other Finno-Ugrians, to whom they are linguistically related. Swedes and Russians influenced Lapps culturally and religiously by propagating the Luth. and Gk. Orthodox faith resp. Attempts to Christianize Lapps in the late Middle Ages yielded no large results. Effective miss. work began in the 17th and 18th cents. by Erik Bredal (d. 1617; bp. Trondheim, Norw.) after Swedes drove him out of Trondheim 1658 and by T. v. Westen.* After decline, miss. work again prospered mid-19th c. under leadership of N. J. C. V. Stockfleth.*
Lapps in Swed. were introd. to Christianity in the late Middle Ages. Several Vasa kings showed interest in them, esp. Charles* IX, who laid the foundation of an ecclesiastical organization in Lapland. A 1723 royal ordinance required all clergy in Lapland to know the native tongue and provided educ. facilities and printed matter in Lapp at pub. expense. An early Swed. miss. to Swed. Lapps was Pehr Högström (171484). Pehr Fjellström (16971764) issued a cat. 1738, ch. manual and hymnal 1744, and a Lapp NT 1755. A Lapp Bible appeared 1811. The work of L. L. Laestadius* and his brother Petrus Laestadius (d. 1841) is noteworthy. Important adjustments in ch. organization were made 1846 and 1896.
See also Gustavus I.
E. Haller, Svenska Kyrkans mission i Lappmarken under Frihetstiden (Stockholm, 1896); East Carelia and Kola Lapmark, ed. V. T. Homén (New York, 1921).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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