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Orthodox Churches

The 2011 population census revealed an important change in the Estonian religious composition, as the Orthodox tradition has become for the first time the largest denomination. According to the population census from the year 2011, 16% (in the 2000 census 12,8%) of the population over 15 years old defined themselves as Orthodox Christians. This change of proportion is partly due to a slight increase among ethnic Estonians who define themselves as the Orthodox; although in Estonia the Orthodox tradition is connected to Russian ethnic identity and the majority of the Orthodox are Russians. The main reason for this change, however, is the decline of the number of Lutherans. Lutherans are mainly ethnic Estonians (over 90%), and Estonians are considerably less religiously affiliated than any other ethnicity in Estonia. In addition, younger generation being less religiously affiliated, the number of Lutherans diminishes by the effect of the aging of the group.
The Orthodox community in Estonia is divided between the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church and the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Patriarchate of Moscow. For historical reasons, the relations between the two Orthodox Churches, one under the canonical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the other under the canonical jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Moscow, are rather tense.

D 29 September 2015    ARingo Ringvee

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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