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This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for Vanilla.

For information on individual religions, see religions and denominations. For religious events, see religious historical events.
Religion interface

The religion that a country follows and how tolerant it is of other faiths is of paramount importance. Religion will have an effect on diplomatic actions and countries of mutually accepted religions have a better chance of reaching agreements with each other. Tolerance is also connected to the risk of revolt inside a country. Provinces of non-tolerated religions are more likely to revolt. As the empire builder, you have some control over things by having the option to change your state religion. You need to make religious decisions that may impact your internal and external religious relations, and, of course, you can send missionaries to convert infidel or heretic provinces to your country’s state religion.

Religion map[edit]

Religion by province in 1444

Religious unity.pngReligious unity[edit]

Religious unity is the percentage of a country's tax base provided by provinces that follow the state religion or a positively tolerated heretic or heathen religion.

  • Provinces of the state religion always contribute 100% unity regardless of tolerance.
  • Provinces of a heretic or heathen religion contribute a percentage determined by how tolerated they are.

The effects of tolerance on religious unity per province are as follows:

Tolerance Contribution
Negative Tolerance +0%
0 +25%
1 +50%
2 +75%
3 +100%

Religious unity directly affects revolt risk and stability cost, scaling linearly up to +2% revolt risk and +100% stability cost for 0% religious unity. Catholic nations get a benefit to Papal influence if they have high religious unity, up to +5 per year.

Ideas which increase religious unity:

Idea Modifier
Indian Sultanate Traditions +50%
Timurid Ideas 2: Tolerate the Idol Worshipers +50%
Bengali Traditions +33%
Ottoman Ideas 1: Ottoman Tolerance +33%
South Indian Traditions +33%
Granadan Traditions +25%
Polish Traditions +25%
Punjabi Traditions +25%
Saxon Traditions +25%
American Traditions +20%
Ayutthayan Traditions +20%
Swiss Ideas 5: Swiss Tolerance. +20%
Taungu Ideas 3: Nat Worship +20%
Vijayanagar Traditions +20%
Pueblo Ideas 6: Clown Societies +10%

No religion penalty.pngTolerance[edit]

Countries have three tolerance values. These tolerance values are national, but have provincial effects depending on the province's religion, relative to the state religion.

Each point of positive tolerance gives:

  • -1 revolt risk

Each point of negative tolerance gives:

  • +1.25 revolt risk
  • -10% tax modifier
  • -10% trade goods
  • Hungary and the USA have national ideas which remove all penalties for having negative tolerance.

Tolerance own.pngTolerance of the True Faith[edit]

This refers to the state religion. For example, if the state religion is Catholic, Catholic provinces will use this tolerance value.

  • Base value of 3

National ideas that affect tolerance of the true faith:

  • +2 from Danish Ideas 7: Religious Freedom is Atheism
  • +1 from Austrian Ideas 5: Edict of Restitution
  • +3 from Byzantine Traditions
  • +2 from Papal Ideas 1: Ecclesiastical Primacy
  • +2 from Songhai Ideas 6: Sharia
  • +2 from Najdi Ideas 7: Enforce Tawhid
  • +2 from Hedjazi Ideas 1: Custodian of the Two Holy Cities

Tolerance heretic.pngTolerance of heretics[edit]

This refers to religions in the same group. For example, if the state religion is Catholic, the religion group is Christian, and provinces that are Protestant, Reformed, Coptic, or Orthodox will use this tolerance value.

  • Base value of -2
  • Maximum value of 3

National ideas that affect tolerance of heretics:

See also: #Heretic
  • -1 from Spanish Ideas 2: Spanish Inquisition
  • +3 from Dutch Ideas 5: Embrace Humanism
  • +2 from French Ideas 7: Liberté, égalité, fraternité
  • +1 from Prussian Ideas 7: Religious Toleration
  • +3 from Polish Ambitions
  • +2 from Burgundian Ideas 6: Allow Freedom of Worship
  • +1 from Vijayanagar Ideas 4: Tolerance
  • +3 from Bohemian Ideas 1: Compacta of Prague
  • +2 from Palatine Ambitions
  • +3 from Saxon Ideas 4: Wittenberg University
  • +4 from Lithuanian Traditions
  • +1 from Tibetan Ideas 4: The Way of Virtue
  • +1 from Bengali Ideas 1: Bengali Hindu-Sufi Syncretism
  • +1 from Gujarati Ideas 1: Garba!

Heretic conversion events[edit]

Tolerance of heretics of 2+ means provinces may randomly convert to those heretic religions. The median time to happen is 5000 months, lowered by Innovative Ideas and having a neighboring province with the new religion. The Theocracy government type increases the median time.

A province is more likely to convert via event to a particular religion if a neighboring province has that religion. Adjacency is not required for most conversions. However, the following conversions only occur if a neighboring province has the new religion:

  • Orthodox <-> other Christian
  • Buddhism, Shinto -> Confucianism, Hinduism
  • Confucianism <-> Hinduism

In addition, only Japanese-culture provinces can convert to Shinto.

Tolerance heathen.pngTolerance of heathens[edit]

See also: #Heathen

This refers to religions of other groups. For example, if the state religion group is Christian, provinces that are of Muslim, Eastern, or Pagan religious groups will use this tolerance value.

  • Base value of -3
  • Maximum value of 3

National ideas that affect tolerance of heathens:

  • -1 from Spanish Ideas 2: Spanish Inquisition
  • +2 from French Ideas 7: Liberté, égalité, fraternité
  • +3 from Ottoman Ideas 1: Ottoman Tolerance
  • +3 from Timurid Ideas 2: Tolerate the Idol Worshipers
  • +1 from Vijayanagar Ideas 4: Tolerance
  • +2 from Omani Ideas 3: Association With Unbelievers
  • +3 from Granada Ideas 1: People of the Book
  • +2 from Punjabi Traditions
  • +1 from Tibetan Ideas 4: The Way of Virtue
  • +1 from Bengali Ideas 1: Bengali Hindu-Sufi Syncretism
  • +1 from Gujarati Ideas 1: Garba!
  • +3 from Indian Sultanate Ideas 1: Tolerate the Idol Worshipers
  • +2 from Malayan Ideas 2: Sufi Legacy

Become Defender of the Faith.png Defender of the Faith[edit]

Each Christian or Muslim denomination can have one Defender of the Faith. It costs 500 gold for a country to claim the title of Defender of the Faith. Only nations in the Western, Eastern, Ottoman or Muslim tech groups can claim the title. Being Defender of the Faith gives the following modifiers:

Countries automatically call the Defender of the Faith of their religion to arms if attacked by a nation of another religion. The Defender of the Faith loses the title, but no prestige, if they refuse or lose the war.


The most common way to convert provinces is the use of missionaries, but there are also several other methods.


Missionaries are envoys that can convert a province to the state sponsored religion. Missionaries slowly convert provinces over a period of time. Each month, the effective missionary strength in that province is added as ongoing progress, and when it reaches 100%, the province is converted. If strength is insufficient, the province will never convert (although the missionary will not lose progress). There is a 0.4 gold/month cost per active missionary, and while a province is being converted it has +6% revolt risk.

Each country has 1 Missionary by default. The following give more missionaries:

  • +1 missionary from the idea Missionary Schools (Religious idea group)
  • +1 missionary from playing as Spain / generic theocracies
  • +1 missionary from being Defender of the Faith (Christian or Muslim only)
  • The following triggered modifiers award more missionaries:
    • +1 missionary from being Christian and owning Mecca.
    • +1 missionary from being Christian or Muslim and owning Jerusalem.
    • +1 missionary from being non-Catholic and owning Rome.
    • +1 missionary from being Orthodox and owning and converting Rome, Constantinople, Aleppo, Jerusalem, and Alexandria.
  • +2 missionary from joining the Counter-Reformation

Unique national ideas which give missionaries:

  • 1: Spanish Traditions, Religious Ideas 2: Missionary Schools, Najdi Ideas 2: Hanbali School, Najdi Ambitions, Divine Traditions

Global missionary strength.pngMissionary strength[edit]

The base strength is 2% at full missionary funding, scaling down to 0% at no funding. Things that increase strength include:

  • Advisors: +2% from an Inquisitor advisor
  • Ideas: +3% from the Divine Supremacy idea in the Religious idea group, and several national ideas.
  • Stability: +0.5% for each point of positive stability
  • Piety: up to +3% for Muslim states that are pious
  • Patriarch Authority: up to +2% for Orthodox states that have Patriarch Authority.
  • Fortress level: +0.1% for each fort level in a province
  • Decisions: A number of national decisions increase (or decrease) missionary strength.
  • Events: Many events give a temporary bonus (or penalty) to missionary strength.
  • Province's current religion: +2% in pagan provinces.

Unique national ideas which increase missionary strength:

  • 5.0%: Najdi Traditions
  • 3.0%: Religious Ideas 4: Divine Supremacy, Colonial Ideas 3: Religious Outposts, Byzantine Ideas 7: Restore the Ecumenical Patriarch
  • 2.0%: Spanish Ideas 2: Spanish Inquisition, Savoyard Ideas 4: Crush the Vaudois, Palatinate Ideas 5: Heidelberg Catechism, Indian Sultanate Ambitions, Divine Ideas 4: Let No Man Tolerate the Witch, Bavarian Ideas 4: Establish the Geistlicher Rat, Austrian Ideas 5: Edict of Restitution
  • 1.0%: Tibetan Traditions, Novgorod Ideas 2: City of Churches, Hedjazi Ideas 6: Hajj, German Ideas 5: Cuius regio, eius religio, Ethiopian Ideas 5: The Ark of the Covenant, Breton Ideas 4: Breton Catholicism, Arabian Ideas 4: Spreading the Prophet's Word

Things that decrease this speed include:

  • Province's current religion: -2% in Coptic, Muslim and Shinto provinces.
  • Province's current religion: -1% in Orthodox provinces.
  • Culture: -2% for non-accepted cultures.
  • Provincial tax income: -0.5% for each point of a province's base tax.
  • Rome, Mecca and the initial Sikh province (historically Punjab, but in-game potentially any Indian province) get a special -5% Religious Center modifier.

Forcing religion[edit]

A nation can force a heretic country to change their state religion by requesting it in a demand at the peace menu. Doing so will require as much war score as annexing the nation outright unless using the religious conformance CB (unique to the Holy Roman Emperor against HRE members), which halves the cost.

Enforcing religion[edit]

Until 1650, the Holy Roman Emperor can request a prince to change their state religion depending on their opinion of the Emperor. Similarly to when forcing a religion of an enemy country, the prince has its capital converted while the rest of the provinces remained unaffected.

Rebel conversion[edit]

Nations can support religious zealots in enemy countries. These rebels convert a province's religion to the one they represent when occupation is achieved.

Supporting religious zealots is only possible if the desired religion is present in the target nation and is the likely rebel type in a province with a revolt risk above 0. If there are no such provinces in the target nation, one way to achieve it is to sell the target a province of the correct religion.

Generally the nation will be able to overpower the rebels if left to its own devices, so it is critical to support them militarily. By starting a war against the nation once the rebels spawn one can ensure that they get to convert the target's capital and break the country, converting the country itself.


  • Base missionary strength is very small compared to modifiers, both positive and negative. This means that conversion will usually either be very fast or impossible. Religious Ideas is often essential for any serious conversion work.
  • Provinces that do not have the state religion suffer from (typically) lower tolerance, and also lower the country's Religious Unity at the same time. Even Religious Ideas does little to address these other than via conversion. Therefore for most countries, conversion is the best religious strategy.
Province mechanics
CapitalCoreCultureReligionRebellionList of provinces