The former Viceroy of the Visby (SWEDEN), Mats Hermansson, became famous for ringing the church bells in protest against the conservative journalist Thomas Gür giving a speech outside the cathedral. Now he has painted an icon of the underage climate activist Greta Thunberg – complete with halo glory and gold background. The icon will soon be exhibited in Malmoe church.
Last December, Limhamn’s congregation in Malmö posted a tweet in their virtual “advent calendar” on Twitter, claiming that Jesus had appointed Greta Thunberg as his “successor”. The tweet got wide spread, but was met with so much criticism that the congregation deleted its twitter account. Despite this, the tweet was praised by several left-wing personalities like Aftonbladets Anders Lindberg. The congregation, however, apologized to those who had “misread” the message. In late September, the Church of Sweden’s Archbishop Antje Jackelén issued a statement in an interview with Expressen, claiming that the 16-year-old activist is a “prophet in the same way that the Old Testament prophets were persistent in his message”. A remarkable message from a Christian church leader, critics claim.
In conjunction with these statements, satire images were circulated in social media where Greta Thunberg was portrayed as a saint with glory and the hand raised to blessing. Now the pastor and former vicar in Visby, Mats Hermansson – who is also a leisure artist focusing on icon-inspired art – has taken this a step further and seriously published an image on his facebook page on an icon he painted depicting Greta, complete with full-time glory and golden background – in the icon painting tradition a symbol of the saint’s heavenly affiliation.