Icelanders abandon National State Church, as old pagan Ásatrú continues to grow

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The National Church of Iceland continues to lose congregants. The latest data on religious registration from Registers Iceland reveals that the church lost 2,029 members during the first nine months of 2018. The State Church is the only of the five largest religious congregations to lose members this year.

Four Christian, one pagan congregation
The five largest religious congregations in Iceland are the National Church, with 233,062 members, 65.6% of the population, the Catholic Church of Iceland, with 13,799 members (3.9%), The Free Church of Reykjavík with 9,866 members (2.8%), the Free Church of Hafnarfjörður with 6,946 members (2%) and Ásatrúarfélagið, the Pagan Association of Iceland, with 4,349 members (1.2%). No other congregation tops 1% of the population.

Read more: Ásatrú, the old Norse Paganism is the fastest growing and largest non-Christian religion in Iceland

In addition to the five largest congregations there are 47 recognized religious congregations in Iceland. Most only have a handful of congregants, and none has a membership which exceeds 1% of the population. 

Old pagan religion continues to grow
Ásatrúarfélagið is by far the largest non-Christian congregation in Iceland, its congregation growing 8% during the first nine months of 2018. Other non-Christian religious congregations are three Buddhist congregations, with a combined membership of 1,297 (0.4%), two different Muslim congregations with a combined membership of 687 (0.2%), and the Bahai community with 357 members. 

Icelanders are also increasingly choosing to register as not belonging to any religious or spiritual congregation or organization (24,501, 6.9% of the population), an increase of 8.7% in 2018.

More on this topic: Trust in the National Church and the Bishop of Iceland at historic low