Religion in Poland
Most residents of Poland adhere to the Christian faith, with 86.7% 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. The Church is widely respected by its members, who see it as a symbol of Polish heritage and culture. 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), Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland (61,738 members) and various Protestant churches (about 145,600) and Jehovah's Witnesses (129,270), 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.
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.
The Polish Constitution and religion
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), 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
- 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".
- 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".
|Catholic Church in Poland
• Roman Catholic
|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.
St. peter and St. paul Cathedral in Legnica
Oliwa Cathedral, Gdansk
St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral in Poznan
Church of Our Lady Queen of the Polish Crown, Warsaw
Cathedral in Radom
Cathedral in Lublin
Saint Roch and John church in Brochów
St. Catherine church in Gdańsk
Frombork Cathedral in Frombork
St. Nicolaus Church in Elbląg
Eastern Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral in Warsaw
Nożyk Synagogue in Warsaw
Mosque in Kruszyniany
Mosque in Gdańsk
- Roman Catholicism in Poland
- Eastern Orthodoxy in Poland
- Polish anti-religious campaign (1945–1990)
- Irreligion in Poland
- Islam in Poland
- Buddhism in Poland
- Hinduism in Poland
- History of the Jews in Poland
- Bahá'í Faith in Poland
- Slavic Neopaganism
- Discrimination in the European Union in 2012 - T98 and T99.
- Główny Urząd Statystyczny (2012). Rocznik statystyczny Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej 2012. Warszawa: Zakład Wydawnictw Statystycznych. (Polish)/(English)
- Główny Urząd Statystyczny (2013-03-28). "Wyznania religijne stowarzyszenia narodowościowe i etniczne w Polsce 2009–2011". Retrieved 2013-04-19. (Polish)/(English)
- "Encyclopædia Britannica - Religion in Poland".
- Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2007. "Poland".
- Anna M. Cienciala, The Rebirth of Poland, at http://web.ku.edu academic lectures.
- Views on globalisation and faith. Ipsos MORI, 5th July 2011.
- Simpson, Scott (2000). Native Faith: Polish Neo-Paganism At the Brink of the 21st Century
- (Polish) 94% Polaków wierzy w Boga
- "Society". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2002. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
- (Polish)/(English) Religious denominations in Poland, official statistics from 2008 (published in 2010)
- List of churches and religious unions registered according to special legislation
- List of churches and religious unions from the Register of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration