Rev. Árni Svanur Daníelsson
Born in 1973
Head of communications
Lutheran World Federation
Geneva, Switzerland

Work and leadership experience

Head of Communications, Lutheran World Federation, 2016-

As Head of Communication I lead the implementation of the LWF communication strategy, lead the communications office and communication projects in the LWF. A central goal is to raise the visibility of the work of the LWF as a global communion of churches.

Director of communications, ELCI, 2009-2015

Leader of the communications team for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, co-ordinator of media and public relations for the church on national level, editor-in-chief of the church websites and newsletters, editor of the ELCI web-tv, team leader for work on a new communications strategy for the church, national co-ordinator with the Nordic chiefs of communication.

Parish and district pastor, ELCI, interim positions 2011-2012, 2014-2015

Interim positions for brief periods in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. This has given important insight into the communication of the church on a local level. As district pastor I have also participated in the administrative work in the deaneries.

Web pastor, ELCI, 2008-2015

Ordained in November 2008 to work with education, ministry and mission on the web. Focus on using the new media for education and mission, on raising visibility of the church in the new media and empowering church workers on local and regional level to use the new media.

Director of web communications, ELCI, 2001-2009

Chief editor of the main websites of the ELCI, and Co-ordinator of public relations for the ELCI in the new media. Leader of redesign work on church websites. Established a presence for the church on social media sites such as Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook and worked towards integrating social media in the mission and diakonia of the church. My work for the ELCI also involved fundraising for various projects.

Part time lecturer in theology, Faculty of Theology, University of Iceland, 2003-2010, Newman Institute, Uppsala, 2011-2012.

Lecturer in courses on systematic theology, practical theology, history of theology, liturgical theology and religion and film. I have lectured extensively on religion and film in an academic and church context. Taught a course on theology and film at the Newman Institute in Uppsala spring 2011 and autumn 2012.

Ecumenical and international experience

In my work for the ELCI I have been involved in various ecumenical projects and meetings. I have worked with the LWF, the World Council of Churches, the Ekumenik i Norden network. I have participated in conferences arranged by the Porvoo churches. I have also worked extensively with the chiefs of communication in the Nordic national churches and participated in the NordKOM conferences held jointly by the Nordic churches. I prepared the NordKOM conference held in Stockholm 2015 with colleagues from the Church of Sweden.


  • M.A. in theology, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Iceland, 2015. My thesis is an analysis of the representation of pastors in Nordic films from 2003-2013.
  • Postgraduate diploma in public administration with a focus on leadership, strategic planning and public administration, Faculty of Political Science, University of Iceland, 2015.
  • Candidate of theology, Faculty of Theology, University of Iceland, 2000
  • Exchange student studying systematic theology and church history, Faculty of Theology, University of Uppsala, 1996 and 1997.

Research and teaching

I have done extensive research in the field of religion and culture, focusing on film and religion. I have also done research in the field of religion and communication, with a focus on the use of new media in the church. I have lectured extensively on church and communication, theology and culture, film and religion.

I have taught courses on the history of theology, systematic theology, practical theology, liturgical theology, theology of the diaconate and religion and film at the University of Iceland and at Newmaninstitutet in Sweden. I taught summer courses on theology and film at Háskóli unga fólksins – University of the young – at the University of Iceland from 2004-2012.

Member of the Deus ex cinema research group since 2001.

Member of the The Nordic Research Network on the Mediatization of Religion and Culture. National co-ordinator for Iceland 2009-2010.

Contributor to the NOREL-project on religion in the public sphere. My contribution focuses on religion in Nordic films from 1998-2008 and the discussion about religion in Icelandic newspapers during the same period.

Selected projects

I have co-edited Kirkjuritið, a journal on religion and society, with Kristín Þórunn Tómasdóttir since 2012. This is a printed journal on religion and society that has the goal of presenting religion and christianity in a way that is easily understood.

Reformation talks – Samtal um siðbót
I am co-host with Ævar Kjartansson of Samtal um siðbót – Reformation talks. This is a series of radio interviews on the reformation in the 16th century and its effects on Icelandic society. The interviews are broadcast on Radio 1, the main channel of the national broadcasting company. The series consists of nine interviews broadcast in the autumn of 2014, seven interviews in the autumn of 2015. More interviews are planned for 2016 and 2017.

Op-ed articles in Fréttablaðið
I am a frequent contributor of op-ed articles in Fréttablaðið which is the Icelandic newspaper that has the widest distribution in Iceland.

Martin Luther –
I co-wrote and directed an ebook and a website on Martin Luther and the reformation in Iceland which was released in 2012. This project is a part of the preparations in Iceland for the anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. The project is partly sponsored by Kjalarnes deanery in Iceland.

Expecting Hope – Að vænta vonar – ELCI advent calendar 2010
Love Arrives – Koma kærleikans – ELCI advent calender 2012
I was co-producer and director of the ELCI Advent calendar in 2010 and produced and directed the advent calender in 2012. Each calendar consisted of 24 short videos that conveyed messages of hope and love. They were published on YouTube and distributed through social media. They can be viewed on YouTube.

Lífið og tilveran – talk show
I was co-host and co-producer of seven episodes of the talk show Lífið og tilveran. This was a joint venture of the ELCI and the NFS news-channel. The show was broadcast live on Sunday mornings in August and September 2007.

ELCI Communications strategy 2011-2015
I was team leader during the work on a new communications strategy for the ELCI. The strategy establishes a plan for the use of diverse media in the church. I was also a part of the management team working with the strategic planning process for the ELCI 2004-2009.

ELCI film work
I was co-host of Jesúbíó, a Jesus-film festival during lent 2006. This was sponsored by the Kristnihátíðarsjóður fund. I have been host of the Deus ex cinema program in the Bíó Paradís cinematheque since 2010. I have led the jury work of the ELCI at the Reykjavik International Film Festival since 2006 and was a member of the jury for the Church of Sweden film award in Gothenburg 2006.

Selected skills

I have extensive editing experience and have been chief-editor of, the main website of the ELCI, 2001-, chief-editor of, an ELCI website about religion, 2004-, editor of, the website of Deus ex cinema, 2001-, editor of Víðförli, the ELCI newsletter 2009-. Extensive editing of print publications in my work for the ELCI.

Web and social media work
I have led work in establishing a web presence for the ELCI on a national level, for parishes, deaneries and institutions. I have extensive knowledge and use of social media, in particular Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr and YouTube.

I Have given courses on the use of Facebook and other social media in church work and trained employees and volunteers in the ELCI in the use of social media.

Language skills
English, excellent. German, moderate. Swedish, excellent. Danish, moderate. Norwegian, moderate.

Selected publications in English

  • „Awake. Faith, Hope and Love in Stalker“, Through the Mirror. Reflections on the Films of Andrei Tarkovsky, ed. Gunnlaugur A. Jónsson & Thorkell Á. Óttarsson, Cambridge Scholars Press, Newcastle 2006, 200-218.
  • „Images of Salvation in Tsotsi, In America and Levity“, Recent Releases. The Bible in Contemporary Cinema, ed. Geert Hallbäck & Annika Hvithamar, Sheffield Phoenix Press, Sheffield 2008, 50-61.
  • „From State Officials to Teddy Bears: A Study of the Image of Pastors in Selected Nordic Films“, Studies in World Christianity, Edinburgh 2009, Vol. 15 Issue 2, 162-175.
  • „Detraditionalization, diversity and mediatization: explorations of religion in Nordic films“, Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, Trondheim 2013, Vol. 26:1. With dr. Sofia Sjö.

I have also published a number of articles and sermons in Icelandic on and on

Hobbies and interests

I am an amateur photographer and have published photos on since 2004. My photos have been featured in numerous books, journals, magazines and on the web.

I have devoted a lot of my time to writing on the web and establishing and nurturing communities on the web. I established the blog communities at and with Örvar Kárason.

I enjoy cycling, hiking and keeping myself fit. I am a certified kettlebells instructor and have taught courses on kettlebells.

I enjoy listening to music and singing and was a member of the Langholtskirkja choir in 1994 when it performed the Mass in B minor by Johann Sebastian Bach at the Barbican Centre in London.

Member of the parish council in Háteigssókn 2003-2009.


Married to rev. Kristín Þórunn Tómasdóttir who is a parish pastor in the ELCI. Together we have six children, Unnur Balaka, Jakob Agni, Guðrún María, Elísabet, Tómas Viktor and Heiðbjört Anna.