Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland

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The Turku Cathedral , the oldest church of Finland, is the seat of an archbishop and the spiritual center of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland ( Finnish Suomen evankelis-luterilainen kirkko , Swedish Evangelisk-lutherska kyrkan i Finland ) is one of two national churches in Finland , alongside the Orthodox Church of Finland . It includes 70.9% of the country's population (as of December 31, 2017).


The arrival of Saint Henry of Uppsala in Finland during the crusade of King Erik IX is considered to be the hour of birth of the Finnish Church . to Finland. The dating of this event, as well as its historical classification, is highly uncertain, but the Church puts it at the year 1155. The bishopric was originally located in Nousiainen , was moved to Koroinen in 1229 and later to Turku . The cathedral chapter of Turku has existed since 1276. When the Swedish Diet confirmed the Reformation in 1527 , the Roman Catholic was replaced by the Evangelical - Lutheran creed.

The Church in Finland was part of the Church of Sweden until Finland came under Russian rule as an autonomous Grand Duchy in 1809 . Tsar Alexander I confirmed the position of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at the Diet of Porvoo . In 1817 the bishop of Turku was raised to the rank of archbishop . At the beginning of the 19th century, various revival movements , such as Laestadianism , spread in Finland. The church initially rejected these movements, but in 1869 suspended the convent poster that had banned the events of the revival movements and integrated the revival movements in the congregations. After Finnish independence in 1923, freedom of religion was enshrined in the Finnish constitution. It was now possible to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church without joining any other church.

Social relevance

Number of church exits (purple) and entries (black). Child baptisms and deaths are not included.

At the end of 2017, the Evangelical Lutheran Church had 3,904,284 members. More than 97% of the denominational Finns belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The absolute number of church members has been declining for years, especially since a law in 2003 made it easier for people to leave the church. Meanwhile (at the end of 2017) 26.3% of the population are non-denominational. The number of worshipers is also decreasing. Only 2% of church members attend a church weekly, around 10% once a month. Most believers attend church services only on major holidays such as Christmas, Easter, or on family occasions such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals. Nevertheless, the church enjoys a high reputation among the population and is an important social network, especially in rural areas.

In some rural areas, revival movements dominate church life . Laestadianism is widespread in northern Finland ; in total he has around 120,000 followers in Finland. Especially in parts of Savo and Ostrobothnia are pietistic groups strongly represented.

Organization and structure

The current organization is divided into nine dioceses , of which the Archdiocese of Turku, founded in 1276, is the oldest and still the highest today. The Archbishop of Turku is the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The Diocese of Borgå today as a special task taking care of all Swedish-speaking believers in Finland.

Dioceses by year of foundation:

Diocese founding year Seat Dom bishop
Archdiocese of Turku 1276 Turku Turku Cathedral Archbishop Tapio Luoma 2018–
Bishop Kaarlo Kalliala 2011–
Diocese of Tampere 1554 Tampere (since 1923) Tampere Cathedral Bishop Matti Repo 2008–
Porvoo (1723-1923) Porvoo Cathedral
Viipuri (1554-1723) Old Vyborg Cathedral
Diocese of Oulu 1851 Oulu (since 1900) Oulu Cathedral Bishop Jukka Keskitalo 2018–
Kuopio (1851-1900) Kuopio Cathedral
Diocese of Mikkeli 1879 Mikkeli (since 1945) Mikkeli Cathedral Bishop Seppo Häkkinen 2009–
Viipuri (1924-1945) Vyborg Cathedral
Savonlinna (1879-1924) Savonlinna Cathedral
Borgå diocese 1923 Porvoo (Swedish Borgå ) Porvoo Cathedral Bishop Bo-Göran Åstrand 2019–
Diocese of Kuopio 1939 Kuopio Kuopio Cathedral Bishop Jari Jolkkonen 2012–
Diocese of Lapua 1959 Lapua Lapua Cathedral Bishop Simo Peura 2004–
Diocese of Helsinki 1959 Helsinki Helsinki Cathedral Bishop Teemu Laajasalo 2017–
Diocese of Espoo 2004 Espoo Espoo Cathedral Bishop Kaisamari Hintikka 2019–

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is a member of the Lutheran World Federation , the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC). She also belongs to the Porvoo community and has agreed to full church fellowship with its other members .

The seat is in Helsinki .


  1. a b Statistics Finland
  2. ^ Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
  3. International Religious Freedom Report 2004 (US State Department)
  4. Luentosarja lestadiolaisuudesta ( Memento of May 5, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) March 8, 2000
  5. https://www.lutheranworld.org/content/evangelical-lutheran-church-finland


  • Simo Heininen, Markku Heikkilä: Church history of Finland. A. d. Finn. by Matthias Quaschning-Kirsch, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2002.
  • Jussi Nuorteva: Christianity . In: Olli Alho (Hrsg.): Kulturlexikon Finland . Finnish Literature Society, Helsinki 1998, ISBN 951-746-032-5 , pp. 50–53

Web links

Commons : Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files