Finland - (Europe)
Information about Finland
Since the 9th century Finland has been at the intersection of Western and Eastern Christendom. From the time of the Crusades in the 12th century RCath gained in influence while Byzantine Christianity was predominant among the population of Karelia, a region which over the centuries came to the zone of influence of either Russia or Sweden. Since the Reformation, Finland has remained, like the other Scandinavian countries, an almost exclusively Luth country. After 1860 small Bapt, Meth, and Free Church congr developed. They were followed around the 1900s by Pentecostals, Salvation Armyists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses; Mormons arrived after World War II. The Law on Religious Freedom (1923) defined the rights and obligations of these communities. By 1982 some 24 denominations other than Luth were registered, with a total of 46,000 members. Strongest among them today are the Advent (some 40,000) and the Free Churches. The Orth Church (3 bishops and 25 congr) is an autonomous church in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. RCath number less than 3,000.
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