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Religion in Estonia

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Title: Religion in Estonia  
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Subject: Culture of Estonia, Religion in Europe, Estonian literature, Music of Estonia, List of radio stations in Estonia
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Religion in Estonia

Religion in Estonia (2011)[1][2]

  Non-religious (54.14%)
  Undeclared (16.55%)
  Eastern Orthodoxy (16.15%)
  Lutheranism (9.91%)
  Other religions (3.25%)

Estonia, although nominally a Protestant country,[3] is one of the least religious countries in world, with only 14% of the population declaring religion an important part of their daily life.[4] Among the religious population there are followers of 90 affiliations, Orthodox Christians and Lutheran Christians are the most prevalent.[5] According to Ringo Ringvee, "religion has never played an important role on the political or ideological battlefield" and that the "tendencies that prevailed in the late 1930s for closer relations between the state and Lutheran church were ended with the Soviet occupation in 1940". He further states that "the chain of religious traditions was broken in most families" under the Soviet policy of state atheism.[6][3]


  • History 1
  • Statistics 2
  • Censuses 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


St. John's Church in Tallinn was threatened with demolition under Soviet occupation of Estonia.[7]

In the 13th century, the Teutonic Knights brought Christianity to Estonia and during the Protestant Reformation, the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church became the established church.[8] Robert T. Francoeur and Raymond J. Noonan write that "In 1925, the church was separated from the state, but religious instruction remained in the schools and clergymen were trained at the Faculty of Theology at Tartu University. With the Soviet occupation and the implementation of anti-Christian legislation, the church lost over two thirds of its clergy. Work with children, youth, publishing, and so on, was banned, church property was nationalized, and the Faculty of Theology was closed."[9] Aldis Purs, a professor of history at the University of Toronto writes that in Estonia, as well as Latvia, some evangelical Christian clergy attempted to resist the Soviet policy of state atheism by engaging in anti-regime activities such as Bible smuggling.[10] The text titled World and Its Peoples: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, published by the Marshall Cavendish, states that in addition to the Soviet antireligious campaign in Estonia, which mandated the confiscation of church property and deportation of theologians to Siberia, many "churches were destroyed in the German occupation of Estonia, from 1941 through 1944, and in World War II (1939-1945)".[3] After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, this antireligious legislation was annulled.[11]


According to the Gallup showed that 14% of Estonians answered positively to the question: "Is religion an important part of your daily life?", which was the lowest among 143 countries polled.[13]

Less than a third of the population define themselves as believers; of those, the majority are Lutheran, whereas the Russian minority is Eastern Orthodox. There are also a number of smaller [16]


Religion 2000 Census[17] 2011 Census[1]
Number % Number %
Orthodox Christians 143,554 12.80 176,773 16.15
Lutheran Christians 152,237 13.57 108,513 9.91
Baptists 6,009 0.54 4,507 0.41
Roman Catholics 5,745 0.51 4,501 0.41
Jehovah's Witnesses 3,823 0.34 3,938 0.36
Old Believers 2,515 0.22 2,605 0.24
Christian Free Congregations 223 0.02 2,189 0.20
Earth Believers 1,058 0.09 1,925 0.18
Taara Believers 1,047 0.10
Pentecostals 2,648 0.24 1,855 0.17
Muslims 1,387 0.12 1,508 0.14
Adventists 1,561 0.14 1,194 0.11
Buddhists 622 0.06 1,145 0.10
Methodists 1,455 0.13 1,098 0.10
Other religion 4,995 0.45 8,074 0.74
No religion 450,458 40.16 592,588 54.14
Undeclared 343,292 30.61 181,104 16.55
Total1 1,121,582 100.00 1,094,564 100.00

1Population, persons aged 15 and older.

See also


  2. ^ "PHC 2011: over a quarter of the population are affiliated with a particular religion".  
  3. ^ a b c Triin Edovald, Michelle Felton, John Haywood, Rimvydas Juskaitis, Michael Thomas Kerrigan, Simon Lund-Lack, Nicholas Middleton, Josef Miskovsky, Ihar Piatrowicz, Lisa Pickering, Dace Praulins, John Swift, Vytautas Uselis, Ilivi Zajedova (2010). World and Its Peoples: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.  
  4. ^ "Estonians least religious in the world".  
  5. ^ "Eestis on 90 usuvoolu: lilla leegi hoidjad, kopimistid, tulekummardajad..." [Estonia has 90 religious affiliations: Keepers of the violet flame, Kopimists, Fire worshipers].  
  6. ^ Ringvee, Ringo (16 September 2011). "Is Estonia really the least religious country in the world?".  
  7. ^ Kalme, Albert (1951). Total Terror: An Exposé of Genocide in the Baltics.  
  8. ^ Francoeur, Robert T.; Noonan, Raymond J. (2004). The Continuum Complete International Encyclopedia of Sexuality.  
  9. ^ Francoeur, Robert T.; Noonan, Raymond J. (2004). The Continuum Complete International Encyclopedia of Sexuality.  
  10. ^ Purs, Aldis (15 February 2013). Baltic Facades: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since 1945.  
  11. ^ Francoeur, Robert T.; Noonan, Raymond J. (2004). The Continuum Complete International Encyclopedia of Sexuality.  
  12. ^ Biotechnology report 2010 p.383
  13. ^ Crabtree, Steve; Pelham, Brett (February 9, 2009). "What Alabamians and Iranians Have in Common".  
  14. ^ Ahto Kaasik. "Old estonian religions". Maavalla Koda. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  15. ^ Barry, Ellen (2008-11-09). "Some Estonians return to pre-Christian animist traditions". The New York Times. 
  16. ^ Uut usuühendust juhib ülemvaimulikuna Vene Erakonna Eestis poliitik
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