Antje Jackelen elected Sweden's first woman archbishop

Antje Jackelen Image copyright AFP
Image caption Antje Jackelen who has been comfortably elected as archbishop for the Church of Sweden

The Lutheran Church of Sweden has elected its first woman Archbishop.

German-born Antje Jackelen, who is a bishop in Lund in southern Sweden, polled just over 55% of the vote, beating her rival by a clear margin.

She is the latest in a handful of women appointed heads of churches in Germany, Norway and the United States.

The mother of two is known in Sweden for her statements questioning the Virgin birth and endorsing the theory of evolution.

She was backed by a clear majority of the 324-strong ecclesiastical college.

Commenting on the Church's decision to elect a woman she said that "it doesn't come as such a surprise".

"We've had female priests for 50 years," she said,

"I've been out on the international scene a lot and I can see that there is a curiosity about female church leaders. I have confidence and that is also an asset."

The outgoing archbishop, Anders Wejryd, echoed her sentiments, saying "it was about time" a woman took the post.

"We already have female leading bishops in Norway, USA and Germany," said Archbishop Wejryd, who will step down next summer.

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