The Baltic Region

2015 Issue №4(26)

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Lutheranism in Finland: past and present



The article focuses on the spatial and temporal differentiation of Lutheranism in Finland. The study aims to identify historical and geographical features of the development of Lutheran space in Finland, as well as modern trends in its transformation. This study is very relevant, since Lutheranism is currently the major confession in Finland and religion tends to strongly affect the system of values and worldview prevalent in society. The article describes the administrative structure transformation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. It is argued that Finnish Lutheranism emerged in 1923. The religious and national unity of Finland contributed to bringing together the Finnish society during the Winter War, the Continuation War, and the post-war reconstruction of Finland. In the following decades, the number of Lutheran parishes and parishioners decreased. These processes were most pronounced in the first years of the 21st century. Probably, they mark the beginning of Finland’s transition to a ‘new society’ that is not based on Christian values. Similar processes are observed in other countries of United Europe. The authors establish a connection between secularisation processes in the society and changes in the administrative structure of the Lutheran church of Finland. A decrease in the number of Lutherans is accompanied by the closure or merger of the church primary territorial units - parishes. Probably, this process will be followed by the transformation of the diocesan division.


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