I've always found it interesting that the Reformation 'began' in Norther Europe. It strikes me that most of the various Christian sects seemed to form within different ethnic groups. So, I'm wondering how long Catholicism lasted in northern Europe before being official rejected.

  • Interesting question, perhaps even deeper than you realize - lousy title for it. I think you are trying a bit too hard for title impact. Nov 16 '13 at 3:57
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    I am a bit confused by your question, since the title seem to contain a completely different question than the body. Perhaps you can clarify? Nov 16 '13 at 4:39
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    @dwstein But you see "how long Catholicism lasted in northern Europe" is a question with absolutely zero connection to the headline. So you are still confused on what you want to answer. Nov 16 '13 at 14:06
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    Are you talking about paganism or Protestantism? The Reformation has nothing to do with paganism.
    – MCW
    Nov 16 '13 at 20:45
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    Your headline speaks of converting pagans (i.e. non-Christians in a Christian context) to Christianity. Your question text speaks of the reformation, which changed Catholic areas into protestant ones. Two completely different things (unless you consider Catholicism to be a pagan religion of course).
    – jwenting
    Nov 18 '13 at 8:47

The last major pagan group in Europe was the Sami in northern Scandinavia.

Although missionaries traveled north and churches were built aready in the 16th-17th century, the sami were predominantly pagan until forced christianization that started in the 18th century. (1720 in Norway, late 18th century in Sweden).

Although officially Christian since the 18th century, the Sami didn't really take to christianity until the 19th century with Lars Levi Laestadius' revival movement.

Further reading.

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    Figured it would probably be the Sami (if indeed they have converted). However, also voting up Mario's answer, because the Sami never really had an organized state that participated meaningfully in European politics.
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 18 '13 at 14:17

An answer to the question in your title would be the 14th/15th century and relate to the Duchy of Lithuania. For an account of the causes see eg. W Urban: The Conversion of Lithuania (1987).


It could be that the question is really about the end of Catholicism is Northern Europe. If so my answer is this:

  • Catholicism was not rejected all over Northern Europe. Lithuania is in Northern Europe, and it is still a very Catholic country. .
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    Seems like you are a century or three off, though myself I originally expected this to be the correct answer. Nov 16 '13 at 4:48
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    @PieterGeerkens Yes and no. The conversion in Lithuania would be the last one in Europe for a polity, the conversion of the Sami (or the Nenets in Russia) the last for an ethnic group. Nov 16 '13 at 5:02
  • I also expected this answer to be correct. I had no idea about the Sami. Still, both answers make it pretty clear that "the last pagans" has very little to do with how long catholicism lasted.
    – mcv
    Mar 22 '14 at 23:08

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