Roman Catholics in Norway have consecrated what officials have said is the first cathedral to be built in Europe in a decade. Immigration has led to an increase in registered Catholics in Norway.
Norway's Roman Catholics consecrated the New Saint Olav cathedral in the prelature of Trondheim, 400 kilometers (243 miles) north of Oslo on Saturday. It is the first cathedral to be built in Europe in a decade, the Nordic Bishops Conference said.
An envoy of Pope Francis, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, attended the mass.
The 12.5 million euro ($11.7 million) cathedral has a capacity of 450 people and was built on the site of the Saint Olav cathedral, which had fallen into disrepair and was demolished. Priests and parishioners had held Mass in an old World War II bunker for the last two and a half years.
Norway has about 125,000 registered members of the Catholic Church, making it home to the largest Catholic community in Scandinavia. Numbers have soared from a few thousand in the 1960s due to immigration from Poland, the Philippines and other predominantly Catholic countries.
The country is home to about 3.8 million members of the Lutheran Church, comprising 73 percent of the county's population.
Two German Catholic charities contributed 4.6 million euros to the building costs, including funding for Bavarian limestone instead of cheaper tiles, as originally planned due to limited resources.
cw/kl (AP, KNA)