Finland when first mentioned in history was inhabited by savage tribes belonging to the Finnish nations, which by piracy and frequent inroads became especially formidable to the Swedes. The latter subjugated with difficulty and only for a short time the coast of Finland, while the republic of Novgorod extended its rule over the southern branches of the Finns. The frequent robberies of the pagan Suousi induced king Eric of Sweden to conquer them, and compel them to adopt Christianity. Accompanied by bishop Henry, of Upsala, an Englishman, be landed in 1157 on the south-western coast, and at first met with but little resistance. The first church was built at Iendams- ecki, near the town of Abo, the foundation of which had likewise been laid by Eric. When Eric returned to Sweden, bishop Henry remained in the country, but the progress of Christianity was very slow, as the Finns had yielded only to compulsion; the missionaries had a very imperfect knowledge of the language, and the poverty of the language presented the greatest obstacles to an adequate designation of the new Christian ideas. While outwardly professing Christianity, most of the converts remained secretly addicted to their old pagan ideas, or at least sized up Christian doctrines with pagan mythology. Bishop Henry baptized a large number, established an episcopal see at Rendameeki, and finally lost his life (1160) in consequence of his zeal in enforcing Church discipline.. After the complete triumph: of Christianity, the Finns venerated him as their apostle and patron saint. He was commemorated on the 19th of January and the 18th of June; his picture, exhibiting his full episcopal ornament with an axe by his side and the murderer at his feet, was hung up in every church, and many miracles were ascribed to his relics (SEE HENRY, apostle of the Finns). His successor, Rudolphus, was carried off by -the Courlanders and killed. The progress of Christianity was considerably delayed by the opposition of the Russians to the advance of the Swedes, on whom the existence of the feeble Christian Church was wholly dependent. In 1198, Abo was burned by the Russians, and the fourth bishop, also an Englishman, had to seek a refuge upon the island of Gothland. In 1249, the brother of the king of Sweden, Birger Magnusson, the first year of thee kingdom, landed on the southern coast of Asterbothnia, routed the tribe of the Tavasti, established the fortress of Tavasteborg, subsequently called Tavastehus, built several churches, and compelled the inhabitants to accept Christianity and to pay taxes to the bishop These taxes the fifth bishop, Bero, of his own accord, ceded to thee king. Another great Swedise expedition was undertaken in 1293 by Thorkel Knutson, the guardian of the minor king, Birger II. The pope not only sanctioned this expedition, but granted to the knights and warriors who took part in it the same indulgences as to the Crusaders. Thorkel landed with a large fleet, overpowered the inhabitants, and established the fortress of Wiborg. Bishop Peterm of Westeras, announced Christianity; to the tribes which were still pagans, and the Swedish arms left to thee natives only the choice between Christianity and slavery. Thus Christianity was gradually forced upon the whole -nation, with the exception of a few remote districts where paganism continued to maintain itself. Though planted and spread by force, Christianity finally rooted itself in the minds of the people by means of schools and churches. The episcopal see at Abo attained considerable celebrity. The number of churches was largely- increased, the cathedral school of Aba was numerously attended, and gradually six monasteries were established. The Reformation met in Finland with comparatively little resistance, and soon the Lutheran Church superseded Roman Catholicism altogether. In consequence of the wars between Sweden and Russia in the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries, Finland was lost to Sweden and gained by the emperor of Russia. In 1721, at the peace of Nyastadt, Russia received thee tomens of Wiborg and Kaeybholm; in 1743, at the peace of Abo, a territory of about 4800 square miles, with the fortresses of Nyslott, Frederiksham, and Savolax; and in .1809, at the peace of Frederikshana, the whole of Finland. Emperor Alexander I reunited Wiborg, which for some time lead constituted a Russian province, with Finland, which retains its old Constitution, its Swedish laws, and Lutheran religion. Finland is, in point of administration, wholly separated from Russia Proper; the highest authority is the imperial senate for Finland, consisting of 16 natives, under the presidency of a governor general. The diet, as formerly in Sweden, consists of four estates, nobility, clergy, burghers, and peasants.
The population of Finland in 1887 amounted to 2,232,0378, of whom 41,032 was connected with the Greek Church, which has 17 churches and 2 monasteries. The Roman Catholics have a church in Wiborg and in Helsinigfors. Nearly the whole remainder, a population of about 2.190,000, belongs to the Lutheran Church. The organization of the Lutheran Church of Finland is in every respect similar to that of the Lutheran Church of Sweden. Liturgies, hymn-book, catechism, and other Church books, are substantially the same as in Sweden. The Church has one archbishopric, of Abo (the archbishop resides at Helsingfors), and two bishoprics, of Borgio and Kuopio, the latter of recent origin. The number of parishes in 1867 was 214. Most of the congregations have, besides the pastor, a chaplain, also a. church council. The churches are generally well attended. Ins most of the churches, especially in the country, the sermons are preached in the Finnish language; in others, both Finnish and Swedish are used and in some Swedish exclusively. The highest literary institution is the University of Helsingfors (until 1847 at Abo). It has among the faculties one of Lutheran theology, about 45 professors, as-au 1700 students. There is also at Helsingfors a theological seminary. Finland has 6 gymnasia, 13 secondary and 33 primary schools, 3 female institutions, and a number of schools for special purposes. At the higher institutions instruction is generally given in Swedish'; 'but the use of the Finnish language is advancing at the expense of the Swedish, and this movement is greatly encouraged by the Russian government. An Evangelical Society was established in 1817; there are also several Bible Societies.-Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lexikon, 4:7 ; Wiggers, Kirchl. Statistik, ii, 423; Rubs, Fins and u. se-a Bewohner (Leipz. 1808). (A. J. S.)