Religion in Poland

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Religion in Poland (Eurobarometer 2012)[1]

  Catholic (91%)
  Orthodox (1%)
  Other Religion (2%)
  Atheist (2%)
  Non believer/Agnostic (3%)
  Not stated (1%)

Most residents of Poland adhere to the Christian faith, with 86.7%[2][3] belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. The numerical dominance of the Catholic faith is a recent development in Polish history, resulting from the German Holocaust of Polish Jews, the flight of German Protestants from the Soviet army at the end of World War II and the Soviet annexation of the mostly Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic populated Eastern Poland.

Catholicism plays an important role in the lives of many Poles and the Roman Catholic Church in Poland enjoys social prestige and political influence.[4] The Church is widely respected by its members, who see it as a symbol of Polish heritage and culture.[5] Poland is the most Catholic country in Europe (except for tiny Malta), with a higher proportion of Catholics even than countries such as Italy, Spain, or Ireland. The rest of the population consists (in 2011) mainly of Eastern Orthodox (504,150 believers, Polish and Belarussian),[2][3] Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland (61,738 members)[2][3] and various Protestant churches (about 145,600)[3] and Jehovah's Witnesses (129,270),[2][3] in the largest religious minorities.

From the beginning of its statehood, different religions coexisted in Poland. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Poland was famous for its unique religious tolerance reasserted by the Statute of Kalisz (1264) and the Warsaw Confederation (1573). In the 15th and 18th century, pressure from the Vatican caused tensions to rise between Catholics and Protestants after the Edict of Wieluń and later the Tumult of Torun contributing to the Age of Enlightenment. When Poland lost the last vestiges of its independence to foreign invaders in 1795, Poles were subjected to religious discrimination for 123 years under German rule and Imperial Russia.[6]

According to a 2011 survey by Ipsos MORI 85% of the Poles are Christians, 8% are irreligious, atheist or agnostic, 2% adhere to unspecified other religions, and 5% did not give an answer to the question.[7]

The Polish Constitution and religion[edit]

According to Poland's Constitution freedom of religion is ensured to everyone. It also allows for national and ethnic minorities to have the right to establish educational and cultural institutions, institutions designed to protect religious identity, as well as to participate in the resolution of matters connected with their cultural identity.

Religious organizations in the Republic of Poland can register their institution with the Ministry of Interior and Administration creating a record of churches and other religious organizations who operate under separate Polish laws. This registration is not necessary; however, it is beneficial when it comes to serving the freedom of religious practice laws.

The Slavic Rodzimowiercy groups, registered with the Polish authorities in 1995, are the Native Polish Church (Rodzimy Kościół Polski) which represents a pagan tradition that goes back to Władysław Kołodziej’s 1921 Holy Circle of Worshipper of Światowid (Święte Koło Czcicieli Światowida), and the Polish Slavic Church (Polski Kościół Słowiański),[8] There's also the Native Faith Association (Zrzeszenie Rodzimej Wiary, ZRW), and the Association for Tradition and Culture Niklot (founded in 1998).

Level of religious observance[edit]

According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2010:[1]

  • 79% of Polish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God" .
  • 14% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force".
  • 5% answered that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".
  • 3% answered that "don't know".

According to the most recent CBOS opinion poll published in the fall of 2008:[9]

  • 94% of Poles claim "they believe in God",
  • 6% claim they "do not believe in God or do not know",
  • 52% of believers claim "they attend to mass, religious meetings etc. at least once a week",
  • while 17% do so "once or twice a month",
  • 18% do so "a few times a year",
  • and 13% "never do so".

Major denominations in Poland[2][3][edit]

Denomination Members Leadership
Catholic Church in Poland[10]
 • Roman Catholic
 • Byzantine-Ukrainian
 • Armenian
33,399,328  • Józef Kowalczyk, Prymas of Poland
 • Józef Michalik, Chairman of Polish Episcopate
 • Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio to Poland
 • Jan Martyniuk, Archbishop Metropolite of Byzantine-Ukrainian Rite
Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church 504,150 Metropolitan of Warsaw Sawa
Jehovah's Witnesses in Poland 129,270 Warszawska 14, Nadarzyn Pl-05830
Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Poland 61,738 Bishop Fr. Jerzy Samiec
Old Catholic Mariavite Church in Poland 23,436 Chief Bishop Fr. Michał Maria Ludwik Jabłoński
Pentecostal Church in Poland 22,429 Bishop Fr. Marek Kamiński
Polish Catholic Church (Old Catholic) 20,402 Bishop Wiktor Wysoczański
Seventh-day Adventist Church in Poland 9,654 Fr. Paweł Lazar, President of the Church
Christian Baptist Church in Poland
 • Baptist Union of Poland
4,864 President of the Church : Gustaw Cieślar
Evangelical Methodist Church in Poland 4,352 Ruler of the Church, Bishop Edward Puślecki
Church of God in Christ 4,140 Bishop Andrzej Nędzusiak
Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland 3,488 President consistory Dr. Witold Brodziński
Catholic Mariavite Church in Poland 1,980 Bishop Damiana Maria Beatrycze Szulgowicz
Christian Community Pentecostal 1,588 Bishop Roman Jawdyk
Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland 1,222  • President of the Main Board Piotr Kadlčik
 • Chief rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich
Islamic Religious Union in Poland 1,132 President of the Supreme Muslim College Stefan Korycki

There are roughly 125 other minor religions and faith groups registered in Poland.[10]

Selected locations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Discrimination in the European Union in 2012 - T98 and T99.
  2. ^ a b c d e Główny Urząd Statystyczny (2012). Rocznik statystyczny Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej 2012. Warszawa: Zakład Wydawnictw Statystycznych.  (Polish)/(English)
  3. ^ a b c d e f Główny Urząd Statystyczny (2013-03-28). "Wyznania religijne stowarzyszenia narodowościowe i etniczne w Polsce 2009–2011". Retrieved 2013-04-19.  (Polish)/(English)
  4. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica - Religion in Poland".
  5. ^ Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2007. "Poland".
  6. ^ Anna M. Cienciala, The Rebirth of Poland, at academic lectures.
  7. ^ Views on globalisation and faith. Ipsos MORI, 5 July 2011.
  8. ^ Simpson, Scott (2000). Native Faith: Polish Neo-Paganism At the Brink of the 21st Century
  9. ^ (Polish) 94% Polaków wierzy w Boga
  10. ^ a b "Society". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2002. Retrieved 2008-12-03. 

External links[edit]