Religion in Romania
Romania is a secular state, and it has no state religion. However, an overwhelming majority of the country's citizens are Christian. 81.04% of the country's stable population identified as Eastern Orthodox in the 2011 census (see also: History of Christianity in Romania). Other Christian denominations include Roman Catholicism (4.33%), the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church (0.75%-3.3%), Calvinism (2.99%), Pentecostal denominations (1.80%). Romania also has a small but historically significant Muslim minority, concentrated in Dobrogea, who are mostly of Crimean Tatar and Turkish ethnicity and number around 64,000 people. According to the 2011 census data, there are also approximately 3,500 Jews, around 21,000 atheists and about 19,000 people not identifying with any religion. The 2011 census numbers are based on a stable population of 20,121,641 people and exclude a portion of about 6% due to unavailable data.
Eastern Orthodoxy is the largest religious denomination in Romania, numbering 16,307,004 according to the 2011 census, or 81.04% of the population. The rate of church attendance is, however, significantly lower. According to a September–October 2007 poll, with respect to church attendance there are four categories in Romania (percentages relative to general population): 38% go to church several times a month or more (of which 7% go weekly or more often), 20% go to church on the average monthly, 33% go only one or two times a year, and 7% don't attend church.
According to the 2011 census, there are 870,774 Roman Catholics in Romania, making up 4.33% of the population. The largest ethnic groups are Hungarians (500,444, including Székely; 41% of the Hungarians), Romanians (297,246 or 1.8%), Germans (21,324 or 59%), and Roma (20,821 or 3.3%), as well as a majority of the country's Slovaks, Bulgarians, Croats, Italians, Czechs, Poles, and Csángó (27,296 in all).
According to the 2011 census, there are 150,593 Greek-Catholics in Romania, making up 0.75% of the population. The majority of Greek-Catholics live in the northern part of Transylvania. Most are Romanians (124,563), with the remainder mostly Hungarians or Roma.
On the other hand, according to data published in the 2012 Annuario Pontificio, the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church had 663,807 members (3.3% of the total population), 8 bishops, 1250 parishes, some 791 diocesan priests and 235 seminarians of its own rite at the end of 2012. The dispute over the figure is included in the United States Department of State report on religious freedom in Romania. The Romanian Orthodox Church continues to claim many of the Romanian Greek Catholic Church's properties.
According to the 2011 census, Protestants make up 5.95% of the total population. The largest denominations included in this figure are the Reformed Church (2.99%) and the Pentecostals (1.80%). Others also included are Baptists (0.56%), Seventh-day Adventists (0.40%), Unitarians (0.29%), Plymouth Brethren (0.16%) and two Lutheran churches (0.13%), the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Romania (0.10%) and the Evangelical Church of Augustan Confession in Romania (0.03%). Of these various Protestant groups, Hungarians account for most of the Reformed, Unitarians, and Evangelical Lutherans; Romanians are the majority of the Pentecostals, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Evangelical Christians; while Germans account for most of the Augustan Confession Evangelicals. The majority of Calvinists (Reformed Church) and Unitarians have their services in Hungarian.
Although the number of adherents of Islam is relatively small, Islam enjoys a 700 year tradition in Romania particularly in Northern Dobruja, a region on the Black Sea coast which was part of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries (ca. 1420-1878). According to the 2011 census, 64,337 people, approx. 0.3% of the total population, indicated that their religion was Islam, represented mainly by the vast majority of the country's Turks (26,903) and Tatars (20,060). 97% of the Romanian Muslims are residents of the two counties forming Northern Dobruja: eighty-five percent live in Constanţa County, and twelve percent in Tulcea County. Since 2007, there are Indonesian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani workers coming to Romania, there are mostly Muslims
Other denominations not listed above but recognised as official religions by the Romanian state are listed here. The Jehovah's Witnesses number around 50,000 adherents (0.25% of the stable population). Old Believers make up about 0.16% of the population with 30,000 adherents, who are mainly ethnic Russians living in the Danube Delta region.
Once fairly well represented in Romania, Judaism has fallen to around 3,500 adherents in 2011, which is about 0.02% of the population. Less still is the Armenian Christian minority, numbering about 400 people in total.
Lastly, the number of people who have identified with other religions than the ones explicitly mentioned in the 2011 census comes to a total of about 30,000 people.
Neopagan groups have emerged in Romania over the latest decade, virtually all of them being ethno-pagan as in the other countries of Eastern Europe, although still small in comparison to other movements such as Ősmagyar Vallás in Hungary and Rodnovery in the Slavic Europe.
The revived ethnic religion of the Romanians is called Zalmoxianism and is based on Dacian and Thracian mythological sources, with prominence given to the figure of god Zalmoxis. One of the most prominent Zalmoxian groups is the Societatea Gebeleizis or "Gebeleizis Associstion".
Atheism and nonreligious
Approximately 40,000 people have identified as atheists in Romania in the 2011 census. This includes 21,000 declared atheists and 19,000 with no religious belief. Irreligion is much lower in Romania than in most other European countries.
Attitudes towards religion
In 2008, 19% of Romanians placed "Belief" among maximum four answers to the question "Among the following values, which one is most important in relation to your idea of happiness?". It is the third highest number, after Cyprus (27%), and Malta (26%), at equality with Turkey (19%). The mean in "Europe 27" was 9%.
In 2011 49% of Bucharesters declared that they only go to church on social occasions (weddings, Easter etc.) or not at all. According to preliminary data from the national 2011 census, 98.4% of the population declared themselves adherents of a religious denomination. This figure was contested, suggesting that the number of believers in disproportionately large. The final data for the 2011 national census shows a reduction of this figure to about 93.5% but includes a much larger portion of the population where religion-related data is missing (6.26%).
- 2011 Census Religion Statistics (final results) (Romanian)
- Center for Urban and Regional Sociology (CURS), Influenţa media asupra comportamentului electoral (Mass-media influence on the electoral behavior), September–October 2007 poll; beneficiary: National Audio-Visual Council; sample: 2000 subjects aged 18 (age of majority) or over from homes with TV sets; margin of error: ±2.2%. (Romanian)
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- Romania-International Religious Freedom Report 2005 on U.S. Department of State Website
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- László-Attila Hubbes, Rozália Klára Bakó. Romanian and Hungarian Ethno-Pagan Organizations on the Net. Hungarian University of Transylvania, 2011. Available online.
- László-Attila Hubbes. Ethno-Pagan Groups’ Web Rhetoric. Hungarian University of Transylvania, 2012.
- EUROBAROMETER 69, 2008 survey page 31 retrieved 7 March 2013, corrected 19 June 2013
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