Helsinki, January 19, 2017
Statistics on the Finnish Orthodox Church of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for 2017 have been published, indicating a continued decline in Church numbers, reports the site of the Finnish Orthodox Church.
The recently-published statistics show an unfortunate decline for the fifth year in a row. At the end of 2017 there were 60,186 parishioners, which is 380 fewer than at the end of 2016.
The number of Baptisms have been declining over the course of the present decade. 357 babies were baptized in the Finnish Church in 2017, which is 30 less than in the previous year, due to the low fertility rate in the nation, and parents’ failure to pass on their religion to their children.
858 people became Orthodox in the Finnish Church in 2017, which corresponds to the annual trend in the 2000s, but this number is not enough to compensate for the reduction in the overall number of parishioners caused by demographic changes and the reduction in the number of Baptisms.
729 Orthodox Christians of the Finnish Church reposed in 2017, which is about average for recent years. 811 people left the Church in 2017, more than half of which were from the Diocese of Helsinki, which is the largest in the Finnish Church.
The decline in numbers in the other dioceses is due to migration and the negative ratio of Baptisms to deaths, and people leaving the Church.
Of the total number of parishioners, nearly a third belong to the largest parish, located in Helsinki, which had 19,913 parishioners at the end of 2017 (19,929 in 2016). The next largest parish is in Joensuu, in southwest Finland, with 6,139 parishioners (6,216 in 2016).
There were 9 nuns laboring at the Lintula Holy Trinity Convent at the end of 2017, and 8 monks at the New Valaam Monastery. One nun, Mother Elizabeth, tragically went missing in July of last year.