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In Europe’s least Catholic nation, the Church grows amid financial hardship

Recent years have seen the Catholic population in Finland rise by 3-4 percent per annum, and the country’s eight Catholic churches now have parishioners from almost 100 different countries.

With little more than 15,000 registered Catholics in an overall population of 5.5 million, Finland has the lowest Catholic percentage of any European nation. However, recent years have seen the Catholic population rise by 3-4 percent per annum, and Finland’s eight Catholic churches now have parishioners from almost 100 different countries.

Catholicism established itself in Finland in the mid-1100s. But the faith largely disappeared in the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation. However, a Catholic presence resurfaced in Helsinki in the mid-1800s, when Finland was part of the Russian Empire. In 1917, Finland became an independent nation, and its new code of laws guaranteed religious freedom.

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