Religion in Croatia

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Religion in Croatia (2011 census[1])

  Catholicism (86.3%)
  Protestantism (0.3%)
  Unaffiliated (4.6%)
  Others (3%)
  Islam (1.5%)

Religion in Croatia (2019)[2]

  Catholicism (80%)
  Atheist (6%)
  Irreligion (5%)
  Undeclared (1%)
  Other religions (2%)

The most widely professed religion in Croatia is Christianity and a large majority of the Croatian population declare themselves to be members of the Catholic Church. Croatia has no official religion and freedom of religion is a right defined by the Constitution of Croatia, which also defines all religious communities as equal in front of the law and separate from the state.


In the 16th century, Protestantism reached Croatia, but was mostly eradicated due to the Counter-Reformation implemented by the Habsburgs.[citation needed]

There is also significant history of the Jews in Croatia through the Holocaust. The history of the Jews in Croatia dates back to at least the 3rd century, although little is known of the community until the 10th and 15th centuries[when?].[citation needed] By the outbreak of World War II, the community numbered approximately 20,000[3] members, most of whom were murdered during the Holocaust that took place on the territory of the Nazi puppet state called Independent State of Croatia. After World War II, half of the survivors chose to settle in Israel, while an estimated 2,500 members continued to live in Croatia.[4] According to the 2011 census, there were 509 Jews living in Croatia, but that number is believed to exclude those born of mixed marriages or those married to non-Jews.[citation needed] More than 80 percent of the Zagreb Jewish community were thought to fall in those two categories.[citation needed]


According to the 2011 census 86.28% of Croatians are Catholics, while Orthodox Christians make up 4.44% of the population, Muslims 1.47%, and Protestants 0.34% of the population. 3.81% of Croatians are not religious and atheists, 0.76% are agnostics and sceptics, and 2.17% are undeclared.[1] In the Eurostat Eurobarometer Poll of 2005, 67% of the population of Croatia responded that "they believe there is a God".[5] In a 2009 Gallup poll, 70% answered yes to the question "Is religion an important part of your daily life?".[6] However, only 24% of the population attends religious services regularly.[7]

Interaction between Religious and Secular Life[edit]

Central Mosque in Zagreb.

Public schools allow religious teaching in cooperation with religious communities having agreements with the state, but attendance is not mandated. Religion classes (Croatian: vjeronauk) are organized widely in public elementary and secondary schools, most commonly coordinated with the Catholic Church.

The public holidays in Croatia also include the religious festivals (Croatian: blagdan) of Epiphany, Easter Monday, Corpus Christi Day, Assumption Day, All Saints' Day, Christmas, and St. Stephen's or Boxing Day. The primary holidays are based on the Catholic liturgical year, but other believers are legally allowed to celebrate other major religious holidays.

Marriages conducted by the religious communities having agreements with the state are officially recognized, eliminating the need to register the marriages in the civil registry office.

The Catholic Church in Croatia receives state financial support and other benefits established in concordats between the Government and the Vatican. The concordats and other government agreements with non-Catholic religious communities allow state financing for some salaries and pensions for religious officials through government-managed pension and health funds.[8]

The concordats and agreements also regulate public school catechisms and military chaplains.[8]

In line with the concordats signed with the Roman Catholic Church and in an effort to further define their rights and privileges within a legal framework, the government has additional agreements with the following 14 religious and Faith communities:[8] [9]

Legal status[edit]

The 2002 Law on the Legal Position of Religious Communities broadly defines religious and Faith communities' legal positions and covers such matters as government funding, tax benefits, and religious education in schools. Matters such as pensions for clergy; religious service in the military, penitentiaries, and police; and recognition of religious and Faith marriages are left to each religious and Faith community to negotiate separately with the Government.[8]

Registration of religious groups is not obligatory; however, registered groups are granted "legal person" status and enjoy tax and other benefits. The law stipulates that to be eligible for registration, a religious group must have at least 500 believers and be registered as an association for 5 years. All religious and Faith groups in the country prior to passage of the law in 2002 were registered without having to meet these conditions; religious and Faith groups new to the country after passage of the law must fulfill the requirements for the minimum number of believers and time as an association. Religious and Faith groups based abroad must submit written permission for registration from their country of origin.[8] Minister of Public Administration runs a Registry of religious organizations in Republic of Croatia, currently recognizing 62 religious communities (as of 2013).[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Population by Religion, by Towns/Municipalities, 2011 Census". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-15.
  2. ^ "Special Eurobarometer 493, European Union: European Commission, September 2019, pages 229-230". Retrieved 2020-10-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Židovi u Zagrebu » Židovska vjerska zajednica "Bet Israel" u Zagrebu". 6 June 2013. Retrieved 2016-05-01.[verification needed]
  4. ^ European Jewish Congress -Croatia[verification needed]
  5. ^ "Special EUROBAROMETER 225 "Social values, Science & Technology"" (PDF). p. 9.
  6. ^ "Gallup Global Reports". Gallup. Archived from the original on 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
  7. ^ "Final Topline" (PDF). Pew. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e ""Croatia Religion" - Electronic version". CountryReports. 2009. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  9. ^ "Articles in NN196/03, including five contracts with ten religious communities". Narodne novine - Službeni list Republike Hrvatske (in Croatian). Narodne novine. December 15, 2003. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  10. ^ "Evidencija vjerskih zajednica u Republici Hrvatskoj" (in Croatian). Ministry of Public Administration. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2013-10-07.

External links[edit]