Estonia
Republic of Estonia
May 3
Europe


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 45,215 sq.km. Northernmost of the three Baltic states. Separated from Finland to the north by the Gulf of Finland.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 1,396,158 -1.24% 31 per sq. km.
2010 1,260,920 -1.01% 28 per sq. km.
2025 1,131,222 -0.67% 25 per sq. km.

Capital Tallinn 435,000. Urbanites 69%.

PEOPLES

Finno-Ugric 65%. Estonian 892,000. Finnish 16,000.

Slavic 33.3%. Russian 405,000; Ukrainian 38,000; Belarusian 22,000.

Other 1.7%. Jews 3,500; Tatar 3,500.

Literacy 99%. Official language Estonian; Russian is also common. All indigenous languages 5. Languages with Scriptures 4Bi.

ECONOMY

Aggressive reforms from a Communist command economy to a capitalist free market society have made Estonia more prosperous than any other region of the former USSR, but not without pain to those on fixed incomes. HDI 0.773; 54th/174. Public debt/person 4% of GNP. Income/person $2,860 (10% of USA).

POLITICS

Long dominated by surrounding nations. Independent 1918-1940. The Soviet invasion in 1940 and subsequent deportation and murder of a large minority of Estonians is still a cause of deep resentment against Russia. Became independent during 1988-91 as a multi-party democracy. Estonia has single-mindedly sought to integrate with the Nordic nations and is a front-runner for early entry into the EU.

RELIGION

Severe persecution of all faiths under the Soviet occupation 1940-1988. Freedom of religion since independence was regained in 1988.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
non-Religious/other 60.41 843,400 +0.6%
Christian 38.63 539,336 -3.8%
Muslim 0.70 9,773 +10.5%
Jewish 0.26 3,630 -4.0%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 9 14.12 197 -1.1%
Independent 12 0.83 12 +3.0%
Anglican 1 0.24 3 +22.8%
Catholic 1 0.27 4 +1.1%
Orthodox 4 3.51 49 -9.0%
Marginal 2 0.66 9 +4.3%
Unaffiliated   19.00 266 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Lutheran P 168 56,000 160,000
Estonian Orthodox O 52 16,807 40,000
Evang Chr/Baptist Union P 85 6,125 18,559
Jehovah's Witnesses M 16 4,100 8,000
Christian Pentecostal P 45 3,200 7,000
New Apostolic I 14 3,000 4,410
Catholic C 18 1,876 3,700
Methodist P 19 1,850 3,200
Union of Chr Free Cong P 6 1,100 3,146
Seventh-day Adventist P 18 1,876 3,000
Other denoms [19]   126 13,178 23,000
Total Christians [29]   567 109,112 274,000

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 5.7 79 +0.8%
Charismatic 2.3 32 +4.2%
  Pentecostal 1.6 22 +6.4%

Missionaries from Estonia
P,I,A 16 in 7 agencies to 3 countries.

Missionaries to Estonia
P,I,A 95 in 17 agencies from 9 countries: USA 44, Finland 36.



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Answers to Prayer

1 Praise God for religious freedom! Christians can freely evangelise, and many denominations are pressing forward in this vital task.

Challenges for Prayer

1 The introduction of capitalism has brought wealth – accompanied by a moral slide. In Estonia's growing economy, luxury co-exists with severe poverty. Western-style materialism is found everywhere, and crime and divorce has skyrocketed since 1991. Pray for the Holy Spirit to create a hunger and thirst after God and His righteousness.

2 Estonia's attempts to preserve national identity have alienated the large Russian minority. The Russians are not popular because of 50 years of oppression and because of the $4 billion clean-up bill left by their military forces. Pray that Estonia's government may act with wisdom and discretion in establishing an identity for all of its people.

3 The Church is now free. Pray that it may not become 'soft' now that persecution has ended. Nominalism is widespread in an aging Lutheran state church. Younger churches (Pentecostals, charismatics, Baptists) are growing more rapidly than others.

4 Estonia is in need of evangelism in much the same manner as the rest of Europe. Most people notionally recognize Christianity's principles, but have little desire to commit themselves to Christ. Pray that God might strip away their secular materialism and empower the Church to reveal the living Christ to them.

5 Leadership training is a priority with church leaders. Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist and Pentecostal seminaries or Bible schools now exist, training pastors and lay leaders alike. Denominations in the Estonian Evangelical Alliance all agree on the necessity of cooperation in reaching Estonia's less evangelized and are preparing believers for this goal.

6 The contribution of foreign Christian agencies has been significant. Finland, with its proximity, wealth, closely related culture, language and spiritual heritage has a unique role to play. Pray that all such may prove a blessing to Estonia.

7 The Estonian Bible revision was completed in 1996. IFES continues to grow. Christian radio, television, and printed media are all flourishing ministries. Pray that these may all contribute to moulding Estonia's post-Communist culture.

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