Christianity in Iceland

About one third of the world population is Christian, making it the world’s most common religion. Even in Japan, where most people are non-religious or Buddhist, there are churches here and there. Here’s a Japanese church that I photographed in Kushiro:

City ChurchHave you ever wondered why Christianity is so common? Country ChurchOne reason is that Christian people believe in spreading their religion to others, and many Christian churches send missionaries to spread their beliefs. There are other religions, like Hinduism or Judaism, in which it’s less common for people to try to convert others to their religion. Missionary work is very common in Christianity, however, and that’s how the religion came to America. Explorers and settlers from Europe brought Christianity here when they first arrived, and today, missionaries still travel, as we saw last week when Jen wrote about her experience doing mission work in Trinidad. This is one way that a religion could spread to a new place.

In Iceland, the earliest people worshipped the Norse Gods. But back around the year 1000, missionaries brought Christianity to Iceland. Today, most people in Iceland are Christian, and one particular branch, the Lutheran State Church, is the official religion of the Icelandic government. On my vacation in Iceland, I saw churches everywhere. I saw big ones in cities:

Akureyri Church

And tiny little churches in small countryside towns:

Country ChurchMost of the churches were white, but I saw black ones:

Black Church

And historic churches made from sod and grass:


Because Iceland has so many country towns, many churches were tiny, with just a few rows of pews.Colorful Inside of Church

However, there were giant churches, like this one in Reykjavik, with the biggest organ in all of Europe:Church

Inside the churches, I often saw beautiful artwork, like these images of the Last Supper:

Whether you are Christian or not, Iceland is a wonderful place to check out some unique churches and see some beautiful architecture. It was a very interesting part of my trip!

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If you’d like to keep learning about world religion, there are lots of posts on this site that teach about different religions and we even study world religion during our Holy C.O.W. (Cultures of the World) unit. Hasedera Leaning BuddhaCheck out our Sacred to Me, Sacred to You website, or posts here about our field trips to houses of worship, Orthodox Easter in Ukraine (Pysanky eggs and traditional foods), Islam and Christianity in Turkey (The Sacred in Istanbul), Buddhism in China (About the Lotus FlowerLama Temple, and Jing’an Temple), or temples in Japan (the Giant Buddha and temple rituals). Enjoy!

ChristianityNote: If you like numbers, here are some interesting ones. According to my favorite world facts site, Nationmaster, this is the estimated percent of people who are Christian:

  • In the world: 33%
  • In Iceland: 91%
  • In Japan: 0.7%

Categories: Iceland

8 replies »

  1. The numbers are certainly interesting, I wonder what the Christianity percentage in the United States is? Also, which church did you find the most interesting?

  2. That is super cool I didn’t know there are that many Christian people in the world and I remember learning about spreading religon in social studies. I wonder how the christans were able to spread their religon to that many people?

  3. I would like to visit Iceland someday. I am Christian and think the churches there are beautiful. The smaller ones are cute. I play piano and would like to play the organ in that big church in Reykjavik.

  4. Blessings thank you. Please add me to your email list. I always wanted to know about Iceland and there faith. I am so thankful that you Love the Lord as much as i do. I’m becoming quite the enquire of religion around the world. Thank you and God Bless. Please keep me up dated on your latest events.

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