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He was educated in Lincoln, England, and in Paris, France.
Returning to Iceland, Þorlákur became an abbot of the Canon Regular monastery of Þykkvibær, soon gaining a reputation for his sanctity.
The next day he called the assembly together and made his decision known.
"If we put asunder the law, we will put asunder the peace," he said.
In the late 10th century missionaries from the continent sought to spread Catholicism among the population.
Ari Þorgilsson, in his historical work Íslendingabók, recounts that the nation was deeply divided between the adherents of the different religions that would not tolerate each other.
Thereafter, Skálholt was the centre of Christian learning and spirituality in the country through the 18th century.
In spite of all the upheavals of history there is a marked continuity within the church of Iceland.
The first Icelandic bishop, Ísleifur Gissurarson, was consecrated in Bremen in 1056, and he made Skálholt the episcopal see.
This powerful and enduring literary tradition with its strong national character has shaped the Icelandic language and inspired literary activity.
Icelandic has had a continuity that makes it the oldest living language in Europe.
"Let it be the foundation of our law that everyone in this land shall be Christian and believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit." He also decreed that pagan sacrifice, the exposure of infants, and the eating of horseflesh would be tolerated for the time being, if practiced in private.
The people agreed and many were subsequently baptized.