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Independent Finland

In 1917, Russia plunged into the chaos of the Revolution: Finland seized the opportunity on December 6, 1917, and Parliament approved the declaration of independence.

Freedom of religion was guaranteed in 1923. The Freedom of Religion Act (passed in 1922, came into effect in 1923) granted citizens the right to freely found religious denominations and to belong to them, or to remain entirely without religious affiliation.

The Winter War against the Soviet Union (1939–1940) was characterised as a struggle for the defence of "home, faith and fatherland". The will to defend one’s country had religious overtones.

The administrative and financial independence of the Lutheran Church increased during the Second World War. After the war, the Church took on new tasks, for example family counselling. Church social work (diaconia) expanded rapidly, as did youth work. The state and local authorities have taken over some of the functions that formerly belonged to the Church. In the mid-sixties, Finnish culture was shaken by migration from rural to urban areas, emigration, growing influence from abroad and the pluralistic image of the world conveyed by television. This trend has continued to present days with the increasing immigration to Finland and growing secularization of the populace.

The new Freedom of Religion Act came into effect in August 2003.

Updated by Kimmo Ketola

D 25 May 2017    AKimmo Kääriäinen

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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