Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Estonia, historically a Lutheran Protestant area, is one of the "least religious" countries in the world in terms of declared attitudes, with only 14% of the population declaring religion an important part of their daily life. The religious population is predominantly Christian and includes followers of 90 affiliations, most prominently Orthodox Christians and Lutheran Christians.According to Ringo Ringvee, "religion has never played an important role on the political or ideological battlefield" and that the "tendencies that prevailed in the late 1930s for closer relations between the state and Lutheran church were ended with the Soviet occupation in 1940". He further states that "the chain of religious traditions was broken in most families" under the Soviet policy of state atheism.Before the Second World War, Estonia was approximately 80% Protestant; overwhelmingly Lutheran.
Between 2001 and 2011 census, Eastern Orthodoxy overtook Lutheranism to become the largest Christian denomination in the country, ending almost five centuries of Protestant predominance among the country's Christian population. However, Lutheranism still remains the most popular religious group among ethnic Estonians, while Eastern Orthodoxy is practised mainly by ethnic Russian minority.