Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1
The country has an area of 25,000 square miles and a population of 2.2 million. The largest religious groups and their percentage of the population include: Roman Catholicism (22 percent), Lutheranism (20 percent), and Orthodox Christianity (15 percent). Sizeable religious minorities include Baptists, Pentecostals, and evangelical Protestant groups. The once large Jewish community was virtually destroyed in the Holocaust during the 1941-44 German occupation. In 2008, according to official sources, 10,168 persons identified themselves as ethnically Jewish.
As of April 2008, the Board of Religious Affairs had registered approximately 1,200 congregations. These included Lutheran congregations (301), Roman Catholic (250), Orthodox Christian (119), Baptist (93), Old Believer Orthodox (69), Seventh-day Adventist (51), Muslim (17), Jehovah's Witnesses (14), Methodist (13), Jewish (13), Hare Krishna (11), Buddhist (4), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) (4), and 211 other congregations.
Interest in religion increased markedly following the restoration of independence; however, many adherents do not regularly practice their faith. In 2007 religious groups provided the following estimates of membership in congregations to the Justice Ministry: Roman Catholics (500,000), Lutherans (435,000), Orthodox Christians (350,000), Baptists (7,089), Seventh-day Adventists (3,900), Old Believer Orthodox (2,287), Mormons (858), Methodists (649), Muslims (334), Jews (247), Jehovah's Witnesses (176), Hare Krishnas (122), and Buddhists (100). Orthodox Christians, many of whom are Russian-speaking, noncitizen permanent residents, are concentrated in the major cities, while many Catholics live in the east.
Note: The World Christian Database (WCD) estimates, used in the Religious Adherents section above, count each person as belonging to a maximum of one religious group. For more information, see the WCD methodology document. The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom report estimates, used in the Religious Demography section, use less restrictive criteria in which a person who identifies with more than one religion is classified as a follower of each. In certain cases (such as Japan and other nations with strong folk religion traditions), this can cause counts to vary widely between estimates. Users are advised to consult the relevant source documents before determining which counts to cite.
1. The World Christian Database (WCD) is based on the 2600-page award-winning World Christian Encyclopedia and World Christian Trends, first published in 1982 and revised in 2001. This extensive work on World religion is now completely updated and integrated into the WCD online database. Designed for both the casual user and research scholar, information is readily available on religious activities, growth rates, religious literature, worker activity, and demographic statistics. Additional secular data is incorporated on population, health, education, and communications. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.
2. The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. These State Department reports are open source.