Nation of Little Faith

Estonia is the least religious country in the world - and that's official.

As international surveys confirm, fewer than 1 in 5 people in the northernmost Baltic country say that religion is an important part of their daily lives.

Tom Esslemont sets out to discover why this is so - and whether this means Estonians really have no interest in spiritual matters.

Christianity came to this part of Europe comparatively late, and over the centuries, Estonians associated it with different foreign occupiers - first the Germans, more recently the Russians.

But, as Tom discovers, this does not mean that Estonians have rejected the spiritual dimension of life altogether.

Many involve themselves in a type of earth spirituality which they say goes back thousands of years, and in which sacred hills, trees, and the annual cycle of nature play an important part.

Tom joins them for one of their most important festivals, midsummer's eve, and meets a man who communicates with trees.

He asks whether new Christian groups like the Pentecostals, who have flooded into many former Soviet territories in recent years, stand a chance in a country where the established Lutheran and Orthodox churches have had so little success.

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Mon 29 Aug 2011 00:32 GMT