The Reykjavik newspaper MorgunblaðiðA reports the reappointment of the Bishop of Iceland in 2022 was invalid, making all of her subsequent ecclesial actions void.
In 2022 a suspended minister filed suit against the Rt. Rev. Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir and alleged she had no authority under the canons of the state church (Þjóðkirkjan) to remove him from office as her appointment was improper.
The Church of Iceland (Þjóðkirkjan) is the established Lutheran church of the island nation, and its clergy are paid by the state. Clerical salaries and parochial responsibilities are laid out in a contract negotiated by the Association of Icelandic Clergy and the state and governed by civil and canon law.
The President of Iceland appointed Bishop Sigurðardóttir to a five year term of office, from 1 July 2012 to 1 July 2017. Her term was extended for five further years, to conclude on 30 June 2022. Ragnhildur Ásgeirsdóttir, Executive Director of the Office of the Bishop of Iceland appointed her superior, Bishop Sigurðardóttir, to serve as a bishop temporarily for 28 months, reported Morgunblaðið, after the term of episcopal office was extended to six years. However, the reappointment was made without knowledge of the synod.
Drífa Hjartardóttir, President of the Kirkjuráð (Church Assembly), told Morgunblaðið that “it is strange for a subordinate to make an employment contract with their superior, as in this case. Neither the Church Assembly nor its executive committee were aware of the agreement.”
The question was passed to Supreme Court Justice Einar Gautur Steingrímsson for adjudication. Last month he held “the situation is that there are no decisions that the bishop Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir has taken after 1 July 2022 that are valid …”
“There is no bishop over Iceland,” Justice Steingrímsson.
The issue now passes to the Church Assembly to untangle.