Icelanders Continue Delisting from National Church Skip to content

Icelanders Continue Delisting from National Church

By Iceland Review

From early December 2009 to the end of June 2011, deregistration from the National Church of Iceland exceeded new registrations by 6,500. Last month alone, 890 people delisted from the National Church.


An Icelandic church. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

In his column on, Bishop of Iceland Karl Sigurbjörnsson describes this development as a challenge for the National Church.

“The National Church of Iceland has gone through difficult times and struggled with hard and sensitive issues. It has often proven uncertain and slow in its reactions,” he began his column, referring to criticism of himself and other of the church’s leaders to reports of sexual offenses within the church.

“Now we are dealing with this in an organized manner and working on radical improvements to the execution and work methods of the church,” Sigurbjörnsson promised.

“There is certainly reason to be concerned about the delisting and decreasing numbers in the National Church’s congregations,” the bishop wrote, however pointing out, “This is not a uniquely Icelandic phenomenon.”

In the same period that the National Church lost 6,500 members, members of the three independent churches in Iceland increased by 1,200 and of other religious associations by 500, Morgunbladid reports.

However, most people who have deregistered from the National Church, almost 4,800, have not registered to any other religious associations.

Click here to read more about sexual offenses within the National Church and here to read about such issues regarding the Catholic Church in Iceland.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!