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President of Iceland speaks about Icelandic missionary in America 1000 years ago

2011-03-04

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
President of Iceland

“She was the first person in world history to be both in America and in Rome 500 years before Christopher Columbus arrived on the scene. And she was a Christian woman so her journey to America 1000 years ago was a missionary journey, she had some priests with her, so her life story embraces the world of Christianity.”

Just over 300,000 people live in the entire country of Iceland, which is a largely Lutheran nation. 

However, President Grimsson says there is a small population of native Icelandic Catholics that have been faithful to the Church for centuries.

There has also been a spike in the number of faithful due to a large number of immigrants to the country who are also Catholic.

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
President of Iceland

“For the last 20 years we have had considerable immigration from Poland and the Philippines and many other Catholic countries. So the size of the Catholic community is now 10 times bigger than it was 20 years ago and they play a very important role in our society, our community.”

The president noted that this remarkable Icelandic woman is not just an important figure for the people of Iceland but also for the entire Catholic world because she was the first person to bring Christianity to America 1000 years ago.


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