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Financing of Churches

Financing of Churches

The Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Orthodox Church are entitled to levy taxes. The church tax is collected together with state and communal taxation and its amount varies locally from 1% to (...)

The Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Orthodox Church are entitled to levy taxes. The church tax is collected together with state and communal taxation and its amount varies locally from 1% to 2%. In April 2015 Finnish parliament passed a law, which states that the Lutheran church no longer receives a part of the corporate tax levied by the state. Instead, the state finances the church directly with an index-linked funding. This is considered to be a compensation for the societal duties discharged by the Church, for example population registration, cemetery maintenance and maintenance of historical buildings. In 2016 this amount was 114 million euros. The Evangelical Lutheran parishes pay their own share of the tax collection costs to the state. The Orthodox Church is not obliged to do so. Other religious organizations finance their operations mostly through donations, membership fees and their own fundraising activities. Other religious organizations have been able to apply for state subsidies to support their activities from 2008 onwards. In 2015 the total amount was 200.000 euros but rose to 532.000 euros in 2016.

D 25 May 2017    AKimmo Ketola

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 (...)

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

D 25 May 2017    AKimmo Kääriäinen

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