With 3.9 million members as of 2017, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is one of the largest Lutheran churches in the world. It is Finland's largest religious body; at the end of 2017, approximately 71% of Finns were members of the church. The current head of the Church is Kari Mäkinen, Archbishop of Turku, who succeeded Jukka Paarma on 1 June 2010.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland traces its lineage to the medieval Diocese of Turku, which coincides geographically with present-day Finland. Christianity was introduced to Finland slowly: the first signs of the Christian faith being found in burial sites dated to the 11th century.
Based on etymological evidence, it seems that its very first influences came to present-day Finland from the Eastern Christian tradition. Archaeological evidence shows that by the middle 12th century, Christianity was dominant in the region around present-day Turku. One legend recounts a crusade dated around 1054, but no contemporary or archaeological evidence backs the story. Another legend is that the martyr-bishop St. Henry founded the Finnish Church, but that is also most likely fictional.