Register of Religious Communities

The Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) keeps the Finnish Register of Religious Communities. In September 2018, the register contained 136 religious communities and 345 congregations or other local communities. Neither the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland nor the Orthodox Church of Finland with their congregations are included in the Register of Religious Communities.

The PRH requests statements from an expert board under the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture about start-up notifications of religious communities, notifications of changes concerning the purpose and forms of activity of religious communities, and corresponding preliminary check applications.

The PRH does not enter the members of religious communities into the register. Instead, the Finnish Population Register Centre records them in the Finnish Population Information System.

Instructions for filing notifications with the register

When you establish a new religious community or a local community under it, file a start-up notification for registration with the PRH. Read our instructions on how to file a start-up notification for a religious community.

Religious communities and local communities must also file changes with the PRH. See our instructions for filing changes.

If your details have been recorded in the Register of Religious Communities because of your position in the community and you have either resigned or your appointment has otherwise terminated, you can yourself file a notification about that. Read our instructions on how to notify the PRH of the termination of your appointment.

The dissolution of a religious community, local community or congregation must be notified to the PRH. Read further instructions for filing a notification of dissolution for registration.

Register extract, rules and other details

The Register of Religious Communities is intended for public use. Anyone is entitled to acquire information about the details recorded in the register. This principle of public access also applies to the notifications and enclosed documents submitted to the Register of Religious Communities.

However, please observe that the charter of foundation enclosed with the start-up notification of a religious community is not public.

For information about the details recorded in the register, go to “Basic details about associations, chambers of commerce and religious communities”.

The Register of Religious Communities also contains personal data. See the privacy statement for the Register of Religious Communities.

The register-keeping is based on the Freedom of Religion Act

The Finnish Act on the Freedom of Religion also lays down provisions on the establishment of religious communities and the basis for their activities. The purpose of the Act is to create a framework for the freedom of religious association, which is a part of the freedom of religion. Under the reference provisions of the Freedom of Religion Act, the Associations Act applies quite extensively to religious communities.

For more information about freedom of religion, go to the website of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

Go to the reference database of Finnish legislation Finlex to read the Freedom of Religion Act.

Go to Finlex to read the Associations Act in Finnish.

Go to Finlex to read the Associations Act in Swedish.

See also our website for an unofficial English translation of the Associations Act.

Printable version
Latest update 18.09.2019