Orthodoxy is largest religion in Estonia—population census

Estonia, November 9, 2022

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn. Photo: estonianworld.com St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn. Photo: estonianworld.com     

Orthodoxy remains the most widespread religion in Estonia, according to data from the 2021 population census.

Orthodox Christians currently make up 16% of the population, reports Statistics Estonia, the country’s official statistics agency. This number remains unchanged since the 2011 census.

The faithful are divided between two jurisdictions: the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, and the much larger Estonian Orthodox Church of the Patriarchate of Moscow.

In the same period, the country’s second largest confession, Lutheranism, fell from 10 to 8%.

Overall, 29% of people in Estonia are affiliated with a religion—remaining stable over the past 3 censuses, though those who are not affiliated has increased from 54 to 58% over the past decade.

Concerning ethnic groups, Estonians themselves are the least religiously affiliated—just 17%. Just 3% of Estonians are affiliated with Orthodoxy.

On the other hand, “Half, or 50%, of people of Russian nationality feel an affiliation of Orthodoxy, compared with 47% of Ukrainians and 58% of Belarusians,” states the statistics agency.

Information on religion was collected from all people aged 15 or older in the population and housing census from the end of 2021 to the beginning of 2022.

In September 2021, the oldest surviving Orthodox church in Estonia celebrated its 300th anniversary.

Take a virtual tour of Estonian Orthodox churches, and learn more about Orthodoxy in Estonia in the interview, “Orthodoxy in Estonia Began with Yaroslav the Wise,” with the now-reposed Metropolitan Cornelius of Tallinn and Estonia.

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Andrew11/9/2022 4:06 pm
Interesting. Orthodoxy is now the largest religion in two traditionally Protestant/Catholic countries - Latvia and Estonia - not because of any major growth of Orthodoxy, but simply because Orthodox Christians remained faithful while the Protestants and Catholics abandoned their churches and turned into atheists. We see the same process taking place all over Europe, at various speeds. In a hundred years, the major religions of Europe will be Orthodoxy and Islam. The rest of the people will be atheists, and shrinking in number since they hate having children.
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