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Legal position of the Orthodox Church

The Finnish Orthodox Church is an autonomous Orthodox church that belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. It has about 60,000 members. There is a special mention of the Orthodox Church in Freedom of Religion Act. In addition, there is a separate Law on the Orthodox Church approved by the Parliament of Finland, which came into effect in 2007. This Act replaced the earlier one from 1969. According to the 1969 Act, the Bishops’ Council and the Synod decided on spiritual matters of the Church. In addition, the Synod had the right to govern the Church administration in issues, which do not need a decision of the Government. However, the highest decision making body was the Government. According to the Law on the Orthodox Church from 2007, the Orthodox Church has a wide internal autonomy. The highest legislative bodies are the Church Assembly and the Council of Bishops, while the Synod is responsible for the church’s administration and executive functions. There are three dioceses in the Orthodox Church and the Office of the Archbishop is in Kuopio. The state´s subsidy for the Orthodox Church in 2016 was 2,5 million euros.

Updated by Tommi Heino
25 May 2017