In Memoriam: Günther Gassmann (1931–2017) and Per Lønning (1928–2016)

The Institute mourns the death of two former colleagues who have died in recent months.

Günther Gassmann (pictured left) served from 1969 to 1976 as Research Professor at the Strasbourg Institute, after which he moved to Hanover to work in the leadership of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (VELKD) and later in Geneva as the Director of Faith and Order. He was largely responsible for tasking the Institute with a major role in the ecumenical dialogues of the Lutheran World Federation. His specialty was Anglican-Lutheran dialogue at the international level.

Per Lønning (pictured right) came to the Institute in 1981. His special interest was in the ecumenical dimensions of fundamental theological questions that up until that point had occupied little attention on the agenda of the dialogues. He conducted a study project on creation and, taking into account input from many churches, drew up conclusions that remain to this day of great significance for reflection on the responsibility of the church for the care of creation. Questions about God were also of great interest to him, and he wrote much on this topic. In 1987 he was called to be bishop of Bergen in Norway.

The Institute thanks God for the service of these two theologians, who strove mightily on behalf of the unity of the church.