Religious Beliefs In Greenland

A small church in Greenland.
A small church in Greenland.

Greenland is a self-ruling country that is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It lies between the Atlantic and the Arctic oceans and borders the Arctic Archipelago of Canada. Geographically, Greenland is in the North American continent, but the country is culturally and politically closely tied to Europe especially with Denmark and Norway which were the former colonial powers. Similarly, the territory is also closely associated with the island nation of Iceland.

Greenland is the largest island in the world. As of 2013, the Greenland population was approximately 56,480 making it the world’s least densely populated region. The country's capital city is Nuuk, and almost one-third of the country's population lives in the city. Greenland has had human habitation for at least 4500 years by the arctic people whose ancestors are believed to have migrated from Canada.

Religion In Greenland

Most people in Greenland are Christians who are followers of the Lutheran denomination with close ties to the church in Denmark. In Denmark, the church was established through the country's constitution and is supported by the state. The current reigning monarch is the circular supreme authority in the church, and this applies throughout the whole of Denmark but excludes the Faroe Islands whose church became autonomous in 2007.

Christianity was introduced in about 1000 AD by the Norse settlers; however, because of the harsh climatic conditions such as the snow storms, the colonists left Greenland. In the 18th C, the same Norse settlers returned, and when Denmark and Norway parted ways in 1814, the territory of Greenland was retained as Danish although it had a certain level of autonomy which was supported by its isolation. Presently, the church in Greenland has some level of autonomy, and it has its bishop and about 19 parishes which are divided among three deaneries and 40 churches.


The bishop serves as the head of the Lutheran church in Greenland. The church is semi-independent of the church in Denmark but it still somehow thought to be one of the dioceses of the church of Denmark. Between 1905 and 1923 the church in Greenland was a constituent of what is now the abandoned Zealand diocese, but between1923 and 1993 the church in Greenland came under the Copenhagen diocese.

Catholic Christians

The Catholics in Greenland are affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church which is headed by the Catholic Pope of Rome. The numbers of the Catholic adherents in Greenland are low because it is an overwhelmingly Protestant region. In Greenland, there are only 50 recorded Catholics and about four native Greenland Catholics in the population currently standing at about 57,000 people. All the Catholic members in Greenland are members of Greenland’s single parish located in the capital city of Nuuk. The parish in Greenland falls under Denmark’s Copenhagen diocese. 

Other Religions in Greenland

Other religious groups in Greenland include the Inuit traditional beliefs. The Inuit people are believed to be descendants of people who originated from Siberia and crossed to North America from Asia and settled in Greenland. The Inuit traditional religion emphasized appeasing of a Sea goddess who was believed to be vengeful and was controlling the successful hunts of whales and seals. Other religions which have been established in Greenland include the Bahá'í faith among other groups.

Religious Beliefs In Greenland

RankReligionPopulation (%)
3Inuit Spirituality0.8
5Other Christianity0.4

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