My name is Magnus Lundberg and I’m Professor of Church and Mission Studies at the Department of Theology, Uppsala university, Sweden. Though I teach World Christianity and Church History more broadly, my own research is focused on colonial Latin American church history. I have also devoted much time to the study of Catholic traditionalism, especially sedevacantist groups and modern alternative popes (“antipopes”). Recently, however, I have developed a research project on early-nineteenth-century Sweden, focusing on the revival in the south-western parts of the country.

In this blog, I intend to publish research papers and drafts on topics that are of interest to me. Most of the articles will be in English, but some will be written in Spanish or in my mother tongue, Swedish. Some of the texts have already been published elsewhere (as books or articles), but here they will be available open-access. Some is written exclusively for this blog. These latter texts include both more substantial essays and briefer comments.

Contact: magnus.lundberg@teol.uu.se

For more information on my research and publications, see the “about-section”

For my series of articles on the Palmarian church, see the Palmarian page

For my series of articles on modern alternative popes, see the Pope page

For articles and monographs on Latin American church history, see the Church and Mission Studies page


New Book on the Palmarian Church

FeaturedNew Book on the Palmarian Church

My new book on the Palmarian Church is now available.

Lundberg, Magnus. A Pope of Their Own: Palmar de Troya and the Palmarian Church.

Series: Uppsala Studies in Church History, volume 1.

Uppsala: Uppsala University, Department of Theology, 2017.

ISBN 978-91-984129-0-1

Full-text is available here

The book is the first volume in a series published by the Department of Theology, Uppsala University, Sweden. The plan is to publish some five titles a year, including both book-length works and brief reports. The volumes are only published in digital form and are available open access.

Continue reading “New Book on the Palmarian Church”

Dan Brown and the Palmarians

Dan Brown and the Palmarians

I have studied the Palmarian Church for many years. In May 2017, I published a book on the subject and through the years I have written some twenty blog posts on El Palmar de Troya and the church’s development, structure and teaching. Interestingly enough, the Palmarian Church plays a part in bestselling author Dan Brown’s most recent book, Origin, which was published in September 2017.

Why haven’t I mentioned Origin in any blog post until now? The reason is simple. I think that it is a very bad book even by Dan Brown standards. In the afterword, the author, as always, claims that the book is based on much research. I doubt it and I wonder how it is possible to write such a boring book about such an intriguing theme as the Palmarian Church. Only Dan Brown knows and does he even care?

If you want to read something good about Brown and El Palmar, I would suggest that you read Damian Thomson’s  Dan Brown’s new target?: The creepy Catholic sect with its very own pope and ‘Vatican'”, published in The Spectator in October 2017 or why not Matthew Walther’s “Dan Brown is a very bad author”, published in The Week at about the same time.

The Italian-American Celestial Messenger

The Italian-American Celestial Messenger

I am currently working on a project about Giuseppe Maria Abbate (1886-1963). Born in Sicily, he spent most of his life in Chicago. Abbate claimed that he was a Celestial Messenger and even God incarnate, the Padre Celeste. In 1917, he founded the New Jerusalem Catholic Church of the Celestial Messenger, which attracted at least hundreds of Italian-Americans in the city.

I hope to be able to finish this research report soon, but for now, I post scanned versions of two articles, written by Alfredo Pieroni that were published in the Italian journal La Settimana INCOM illustrata in 1950. The story and the photos are quite astonishing.

Continue reading “The Italian-American Celestial Messenger”

Recensioner i Kyrkohistorisk Årsskrift 2017

Recensioner i Kyrkohistorisk Årsskrift 2017

Kyrkohistorisk Årsskrift ges sedan år 1900 ut av Svenska kyrkohistoriska föreningen. Den innehåller forskningsartiklar, men också en betydande mängd recensioner av nyutkommen kyrkohistorisk litteratur.

I 2017-års upplaga bidrar jag med recensioner av fyra böcker om ganska skiftande ämnen:

William B. Taylor
THEATER OF A THOUSAND WONDERS. A History of Miraculous Images and Shrines in New Spain. (Cambridge Latin American Studies 103)
New York: Cambridge University Press 2016, 654 sid.

Paul Peucker
A TIME OF SIFTING. Mystical Marriage and the Crisis of Moravian Piety in the Eighteenth Century. (Pietist, Moravian, and Anabaptist Studies)
University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press 2015, 248 sid.

Jeffrey D. Burson & Jonathan Wright (red.)
New York: Cambridge University Press 2015, 297 sid.

Chris Maunder
OUR LADY OF THE NATIONS. Apparitions of Mary in Twentieth-Century Catholic Europe.
Oxford: Oxford University Press 2016, 219 sid.

Recensionerna kan läsas här


The Faithful Remnant and the Canadian Last Pope

The Faithful Remnant and the Canadian Last Pope

There is a small religious group, which by November 2017 had about twenty members, which is called the Faithful Remnant and believe that they constitute the true Roman Catholic Church. The leader of the group is the Canadian Douglas (Doug) Kuzell who claims that he is the Last Pope, Petrus Romanus. Moreover, Kuzell and his wife, Teresa Jackson (Mary Romanus) claim that they are the Two Witnesses, referred to in the Book of Revelation 11:1-14. My research report on the Two Witnesses was originally written in February 2017, but due to the quite dramatic development, it was updated in February 2018.


The research report is found here: The Faithful Remnant and the Last Canadian Pope

Tomás Ruiz: Utbildning, karriär och konflikter i den sena kolonialtidens Centralamerika

Tomás Ruiz: Utbildning, karriär och konflikter i den sena kolonialtidens Centralamerika

Lundberg, Magnus. Tomás Ruiz: Utbildning, karriär och konflikter i den sena kolonialtidens Centralamerika (Uppsala Studies in Church History 5). Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, Teologiska institutionen, 2017; 147 sidor.
ISBN 978-91-984129-4-9

Min bok är en biografi om Tomás Ruiz (1777–efter 1819), en nicaraguansk präst och professor, som Nicaraguas parlamentet genom en lag från 2012 officiellt utnämnt till befrielsehjälte (prócer). Som ”ren indian” var Tomás Ruiz en pionjär på flera områden. Han var den första nicaraguanska indian som blev prästvigd och den första centralamerikanska indian som avlade doktorsexamen.

Mitt syfte är att rekonstruera Tomás Ruiz levnadslopp så detaljerat som möjligt genom en kritisk analys källor i centralamerikanska och spanska arkiv och att genomgående placera honom i ett brett historiskt sammanhang. Jag undersöker vilken roll Ruiz spelade för utvecklingen av den högre utbildningen i Nicaragua, hur hans kyrkliga och akademiska karriär såg ut, hur han förhöll sig till det motstånd han mötte i sina försök att göra kyrklig karriär i Nicaragua och Honduras, samt i vad mån han kritiserade och agerade mot den spanska kolonialmakten och den faktiska kolonialadministrationen.

Continue reading “Tomás Ruiz: Utbildning, karriär och konflikter i den sena kolonialtidens Centralamerika”

The Palmarian Order of Mass

The Palmarian Order of Mass

Unlike most traditionalist groups with roots in the Roman Catholic Church, the Palmarian Catholic Church does not use the Tridentine Mass Order, but a very brief version which is thought to include ”the essential parts” of that rite.

Nevertheless, in his first papal decrees in 1978, Palmarian Pope Gregory XVII (1946-2005) declared that the only rite that should be used in the Palmarian Catholic Church was the so-called Tridentine Mass, promulgated in 1570 by Pius V. Shortly thereafter, however, he made changes in the rite and introduced several new elements, and, by 1980, he referred to the rite as Latin-Tridentine-Palmarian.

A much greater change came on October 9, 1983, when Gregory XVIII promulgated a new, much briefer Mass Order, which is concentrated to offertory, consecration and sacrificial communion. Making it very brief, about five minutes long, each cleric could and should read several masses a day; in fact, they say turns of Masses, not individual ones. Likewise, concelebrating was banned, as it would lessen the number of Masses that could be read per day.  In this way, the Palmarian views resembles the practise in the Renovated Church of French Pope Clement XV’s, who in the 1960s introduced a much reduced Mass liturgy, celebrating series of Masses instead. Still, unlike the Renovated church, the Palmarians only say Mass in Latin.

Continue reading “The Palmarian Order of Mass”

Text of the Palmarian Catechism

Text of the Palmarian Catechism

One of the most important sources for the study of the teachings of the Palmarian Catholic Church is their catechism. Those who consult the book will find doctrines that have much in common with traditional Roman Catholicism, but also very different teachings. Throughout the years, the church has published many versions of the catechism, including basic, intermediate and superior levels. Below you will find a scanned version of Palmarian Catechism: Superior Grade, which was promulgated by Pope Peter III (Markus Josef Odermatt; Fr. Eliseo María) on June 29, 2016. The book was published by the Secretariat of His Holiness, El Palmar de Troya in 2016.

Palmarian Catechism-part 1

Palmarian Catechism-part 2

To read more about Palmarian doctrine and the history of the church, see my new book, A Pope of Their Own, which is downloadable here