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This article is considered accurate for the current version of the game.

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. Reformed nations get up to 1 Fervor per month from high religious unity.

Ideas and policies which increase religious unity:

Religious unity.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies

Indian Sultanate Traditions Timurid Ideas 2: Tolerate the Idol Worshipers

Bengali Traditions
South Indian Traditions

Granadan Traditions
Punjabi Traditions
Saxon Traditions
Humanist Ideas 1: Tolerance

American Traditions
Ayutthayan Traditions
Vijayanagar Traditions
Swiss Ideas 5: Swiss Tolerance.
Taungu Ideas 3: Nat Worship
Innovative-Administrative= Edict of Tolerance

Pueblo Ideas 6: Clown Societies Defensive-Religious: Edict of Expulsion
Humanist-Aristocratic: Enlightened Aristocracy
Humanist-Religious: The Redemption Act
Religious-Diplomatic: Policy of Calculated Delay

Exploration-Religious: Colonial Restrictions


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:

  • Local revolt risk.png –1 Local revolt risk

Each point of negative tolerance gives:

  • Local revolt risk.png +1.25 Local revolt risk
  • Local tax modifier.png –10% Local tax modifier
  • Goods produced nationally.png –10% Goods produced

Hungary (Hungarian Ideas 7: Create the Estates General) and the USA (American Ideas 1: Freedom of Religion) 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. The base value of Tolerance of the True Faith is +3, and there is no maximum value.

Ideas and policies that affect Tolerance of the True Faith:

Tolerance own.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies

Byzantine Traditions

Knights Hospitaller Traditions Danish Ideas 7: Religious Freedom is Atheism
Hedjazi Ideas 1: Custodian of the Two Holy Cities
Najdi Ideas 7: Enforce Tawhid
Papal Ideas 1: Ecclesiastical Primacy
Pueblo Ideas 6: Clown Societies
Songhai Ideas 6: Sharia

Religious Ideas 5: Devoutness
Austrian Ideas 5: Edict of Restitution

Tolerance heretic.pngTolerance of heretics[edit]

This refers to religions in the same religious 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. The base value of Tolerance of heretics is –2. The possible maximum value is +3.

Ideas and policies that affect Tolerance of heretics:

Tolerance heretic.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies

Lithuanian Traditions

Humanist Ideas 3: Ecumenism
Bohemian Ideas 1: Compacta of Prague
Dutch Ideas 5: Embrace Humanism
Knights Hospitaller Ideas 5: Ecumenical Defenders of Christendom.
Saxon Ideas 4: Wittenberg University
Polish Ambitions

Burgundian Ideas 6: Allow Freedom of Worship
French Ideas 7: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
Palatine Ambitions Religious-Plutocratic: The Tolerance Act

Couronian Traditions Bengali Ideas 1: Bengali Hindu−Sufi Syncretism
Gujarati Ideas 1: Garba!
Prussian Ideas 7: Religious Toleration
Tibetan Ideas 4: The Way of Virtue
Vijayanagar Ideas 4: Tolerance
Humanist-Innovative: Religious Freedom Act
−1 Spanish Ideas 2: Spanish Inquisition

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]

This refers to religions of other religious 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. The base value of Tolerance of heathens is –3. The possible maximum value is +3.

Ideas and policies that affect Tolerance of heathens:

Tolerance heathen.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies

Humanist Ideas 7: Humanist Tolerance
Granada Ideas 1: People of the Book
Indian Sultanate Ideas 1: Tolerate the Idol Worshipers
Ottoman Ideas 1: Ottoman Tolerance
Timurid Ideas 2: Tolerate the Idol Worshipers

Punjabi Traditions French Ideas 7: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
Malayan Ideas 2: Sufi Legacy
Omani Ideas 3: Association With Unbelievers

Bengali Ideas 1: Bengali Hindu-Sufi Syncretism
Gujarati Ideas 1: Garba!
Tibetan Ideas 4: The Way of Virtue
Vijayanagar Ideas 4: Tolerance
Humanist-Expansion: Mission to Civilize
Humanist-Exploration: Native Assimilation Act
Humanist-Innovative: Religious Freedom Act
−1 Spanish Ideas 2: Spanish Inquisition

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. 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.


Province conversion[edit]

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:

Missionaries.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies

Divine Traditions
Spanish Traditions
Religious Ideas 2: Missionary Schools
Najdi Ideas 2: Hanbali School
Najdi Ambitions Religious-Expansion: State Missionary Act
  • +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 Judea/Jerusalem.
    • +1 missionary from being non-Catholic and owning Rome.
    • +1 missionary from being Orthodox and owning and converting Rome, Constantinople, Aleppo, Judea/Jerusalem, and Alexandria.
  • +2 missionary from joining the Counter-Reformation

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
  • 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.
  • Converting religions through the Religion tab gives s +10% "Religious Zeal" bonus for ten years, but only to converting heretics, not heathens.
  • Several ideas also affect missionary strength:
Missionary strength.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies

Najdi Traditions

Religious Ideas 4: Divine Supremacy
Byzantine Ideas 7: Restore the Ecumenical Patriarch
Colonial Ideas 3: Religious Outposts

Austrian Ideas 5: Edict of Restitution
Bavarian Ideas 4: Establish the Geistlicher Rat
Divine Ideas 4: Let No Man Tolerate the Witch
Palatinate Ideas 5: Heidelberg Catechism
Savoyard Ideas 4: Crush the Vaudois
Spanish Ideas 2: Spanish Inquisition
Indian Sultanate Ambitions

Religious-Aristocratic: The Witchcraft Act
Religious-Espionage: Enforce Religious Law
Religious-Trade: Religiously Sponsored Guilds
Arabian Ideas 4: Spreading the Prophet's Word
Breton Ideas 4: Breton Catholicism
Ethiopian Ideas 5: The Ark of the Covenant
German Ideas 5: Cuius regio, eius religio
Hedjazi Ideas 6: Hajj
Novgorod Ideas 2: City of Churches

Religious-Diplomatic: Policy of Calculated Delay

In addition, a few ideas specifically affect missionary strength when converting heretics, but have no effect when converting heathens.

Global heretic missionary strength.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies

Religious Ideas 7: Inquisition Religious-Offensive: The Anti-Heresy Act

Humanist-Religious: The Redemption Act

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.

National conversion[edit]

There are several different ways a country may change religion.

By decision[edit]

Catholic, Protestant and Reformed Christians can convert among these denominations by decision once the Reformation starts. Hindu and Sikhs may similarly interconvert once Sikhism is unlocked. With the Sword and Crescent DLC, Sunni and Shiite (but not Ibadi) Muslims may convert to the other denomination if both their capital and the majority of their provinces follow the other denomination. Japanese daimyos - but not Japan itself - may convert to Catholicism by decision if the majority of their territories are Catholic; this can happen following certain events in the 16th century.

Countries of other religions cannot convert peacefully, but can change religion due to warfare or rebels.

By event[edit]

Pagans undergoing Westernization get events to convert to Christianity if they have neighbors of the appropriate denomination. Kongo also has a special event chain to become Catholic.

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.

A nation that is broken by religious rebels from the same religious group, or that accepts their demands, will convert to the rebels' religion. Religious rebels of a different religious group can only convert a nation if the rebels' religion is the majority religion. For most countries, giving in to religious rebels is the only way to change religious group.


  • 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