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Despite being a captive nation under the rule of the officially atheistic Soviet regime for nearly half of the 20th century, the northern European Baltic country of Latvia (population 2.2 million) has historically been a multiconfessional and largely Christian nation. Since the 16th century, the regions that comprise modern Latvia were largely under Lutheran religious influence. Lutheranism, however, cannot be considered a national church in Latvia, as the faith, like Catholicism beginning in the 13th century, was introduced by the German minority, who dominated the region from the late Middle Ages to the early decades of the past century. Polish influence also played a significant role in Latvia's religious history; as a result of Polish clerical efforts, much of eastern Latvia (Latgale) today is Roman ...

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