Thomas von Westen

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Thomas von Westen
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Personal details
Born(1682-09-13)13 September 1682
Trondheim, Norway
Died 9 April 1727(1727-04-09) (aged 44)
Trondheim, Norway
Nationality Norwegian
Denomination Lutheran
Parents Arnoldus von Westen (1643-1698)
Inger Marie Thomasdatter Meyer (1660-1715)
Spouse Anna Pedersdatter (ca. 1655–1746)
Occupation Priest
Education Cand.theol. in 1699
Alma mater University of Copenhagen

Thomas von Westen (13 September 1682 9 April 1727) was a Norwegian Lutheran priest and missionary. [1] He was a driving force in the Sami mission, and founded the education institution Seminarium Scholasticum, the later Seminarium Lapponicum, in Trondheim.

Lutheranism branch of Protestantism based on the teachings of Martin Luther

Lutheranism is a major branch of western Christianity that identifies with the teaching of Martin Luther, a 16th century German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation. The reaction of the government and church authorities to the international spread of his writings, beginning with the 95 Theses, divided Western Christianity.

Seminarium Lapponicum was an educational institution established in Trondheim, Norway.

Trondheim City in Norway

Trondheim is a city and municipality in Trøndelag county, Norway. It has a population of 193,501, and is the third-most populous municipality in Norway, although the fourth largest urban area. Trondheim lies on the south shore of Trondheim Fjord at the mouth of the River Nidelva. The city is dominated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF), St. Olavs University Hospital and other technology-oriented institutions.


Personal life

Von Westen was born in Trondheim in Sør-Trøndelag, Norway. He was the son of Arnoldus von Westen (1643-1698) and his second wife, Inger Marie Thomasdatter Meyer. [2] His father was a pharmacist at Løveapoteket Apothecary. [3] His grandfather had been mayor of Trondheim.

Sør-Trøndelag County in Norway

Sør-TrøndelagUrban East Norwegian: [²søːrˌtrœndəlɑːɡ](listen) was a county comprising the southern portion of the present-day Trøndelag county in Norway. It bordered the old Nord-Trøndelag county as well as the counties of Møre og Romsdal, Oppland, and Hedmark. To the west is the Norwegian Sea, and to the east is Jämtland in Sweden. The county was separated into a northern and southern part by the Trondheimsfjord. Slightly over 200,000 of the county's population lives in the city of Trondheim and its suburbs. The Norwegian dialect of the region is Trøndersk.

Apothecary historical name for a medical professional now called a pharmacist

Apothecary is one term for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons, and patients. The modern pharmacist has taken over this role. In some languages and regions, the word "apothecary" is still used to refer to a retail pharmacy or a pharmacist who owns one. Apothecaries' investigation of herbal and chemical ingredients was a precursor to the modern sciences of chemistry and pharmacology.


Von Westen attended Trondheim Cathedral School and was educated for the priesthood at the University of Copenhagen where he took his Artium Baccalaureus degree in 1698. He received his Cand.theol. in 1699. After completing his education, he started working as a priest in Helgeland. In 1709, he was appointed vicar of Veøy in Romsdal. [3] [4]

Trondheim Cathedral School

Trondheim Cathedral School is an upper secondary school located next to the Nidaros Cathedral in the center of Trondheim, Norway.

University of Copenhagen University in Copenhagen, Denmark

The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) is the oldest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479 as a studium generale, it is the second oldest institution for higher education in Scandinavia after Uppsala University (1477). The university has 23,473 undergraduate students, 17,398 postgraduate students, 2,968 doctoral students and over 9,000 employees. The university has four campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the headquarters located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has several thousands of foreign students, about half of whom come from Nordic countries.

Candidatus theologiæ (male), Candidata theologiæ (female), abbreviated cand. theol. is an academic degree with a long tradition, awarded after a six-year higher education in theology in Iceland, Denmark, and Norway. In Norway, the title has remained after the "Quality Reform". In Denmark the title is described as equivalent to Master of Theology, while in Norway it ranks higher. The title is protected by law in Denmark and Norway. In Norway it can only be issued by three institutions, the University of Oslo, the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo and the School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger. The latter two are private.

Along with his friend and fellow priest Nils Engelhart, von Westen was an active participant of an association of priests which they named Syvstjernen. Established in 1713, Syvstjernen was an association of the seven priests in Romsdal. The group met regularly to establish mutual support and to advance the principals of Pietism (Pietismen). [5] [6]

Nils Engelhart (c.1668–1719) was a Norwegian Lutheran priest.

Pietism movement within Lutheranism

Pietism is a movement within Lutheranism that combines its emphasis on biblical doctrine with the Reformed emphasis on individual piety and living a vigorous Christian life.

He was also a pioneer of Christian mission among Sami people in Norway. He undertook three trips to northern Norway between 1716-1723. He also educated Sami boys to become teachers. During 1717, he founded a school at his home in Trondheim which he called "Seminarium domesticum". The school closed after Westen died in 1727 however it served as a model for the later Seminarium Lapponicum which operated between 1752-1774. [7] [2] [8]

Christianity is a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, Eucharist [Holy Communion], prayer, confession, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations have ordained clergy and hold regular group worship services.

See also

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  1. Thomas von Westens runebomme 1723 (Finnmark Forlag)
  2. 1 2 Grankvist, Rolf. "Thomas Von Westen". In Helle, Knut. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  3. 1 2 "Løveapoteket". WikiStrinda. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  4. "Arnoldus von Westen". WikiStrinda. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  5. Bjørn Jonson Dale. "Nils Engelhart". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  6. "Pietismen". Norges Historie - University of Oslo. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  7. Godal, Anne Marit (ed.). "Thomas von Westen". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Norsk nettleksikon. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  8. Godal, Anne Marit (ed.). "Seminarium Lapponicum". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Norsk nettleksikon. Retrieved 20 August 2012.

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