Religion in Hungary
Religion in Hungary has been dominated by forms of Christianity for centuries. At the 2011 census 38.9% of Hungarians were Catholics (both Greek and Roman), 13.8% were Protestants (11.6% were Calvinists, 2.2% were Lutherans), around 2% followed other religions, 16.7% were non-religious of which 1.5% were atheists. Other religions practiced in Hungary include Sunni Islam and Judaism.
According to new polls about Religiosity in the European Union in 2012 by Eurobarometer found that Christianity is the largest religion in Hungary, accounting for 71% of Hungarians. Catholics are the largest Christian group in Hungary, accounting for 58% of Hungary's citizens, while Protestants make up 7%, and other Christians make up 6%. Non-believers/agnostics account for 21% and atheists for 1%.
In the Eurostat–Eurobarometer poll of 2005, 44% of the Hungarians answered that they believed there is a God, 31% answered they believed there is some sort of spirit or life force, and 19% that they do not believe there is a God, spirit, or life force.
The majority of Hungarians became Christian in the 11th century. Hungary's first king, Saint Stephen I, took up Western Christianity, although his mother Sarolt was baptized into Eastern Christianity. Hungary remained predominantly Catholic until the 16th century, when the Reformation took place and, as a result, first Lutheranism and then soon afterwards Calvinism became the religion of almost the entire population.
In the second half of the 16th century, however, Jesuits led a successful campaign of Counter-Reformation among the Hungarians. The Jesuits not only founded educational institutions, including Péter Pázmány Catholic University, the oldest university that still exists in Hungary, but also organized so-called missions in order to promote popular piety. By the 17th century, Hungary had once again become predominantly Catholic.
Some of the eastern parts of the country, however, especially around Debrecen (nicknamed "the Calvinist Rome"), still have significant Protestant communities. The Reformed Church in Hungary is the second-largest church in Hungary with 1,622,000 adherents, and 600,000 active members. The church has 1,249 congregations, 27 presbyteries, and 1,550 ministers. The Reformed Church supports 129 educational institutions and has 4 theological seminaries, located in Debrecen, Sárospatak, Pápa, and Budapest.
Lutheranism is the third main historical religion in Hungary. It was introduced by Saxon settlers in the early 16th century, but after its brief efflorescence, the introduction of the Reformed Church and the Counter-Reformation made it almost non-existent amongst Hungarians up to the late 17th century. Later it was re-introduced through inward migration by Saxons and Slovaks. Today, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Hungary counts around 215,000 members, which makes up roughly 2.2% of the population. Despite its relatively small number of adherents, the Evangelical church always had a strong power and influence in internal politics since Hungary's independence from the strongly Catholic Habsburg Empire.
Proportion of Protestants in Hungary has been stable over the last century, oscillating between 10% and 25%.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was legally recognized in Hungary in June 1988 and its first meetinghouse in the country was dedicated in October of the following year by President Thomas S. Monson. In June 1990, the Hungary Budapest Mission was created, followed by the first stake in June 2006. The mission, its districts, and the Budapest Hungary Stake together contain twenty-two wards and branches serving approximately 5000 members.
Historically, Hungary was home to a significant Jewish community, especially when many Jews, persecuted in Russia, found refuge in the Kingdom of Hungary during the 19th century. The census of January 1941 found that 6.2% of the population, i.e., 846,000 people, were considered Jewish according to the racial laws of that time. Of this number, 725,000 were considered religiously Jewish as well. Some Hungarian Jews were able to escape the Holocaust during World War II, but most (perhaps 550,000) either were deported to concentration camps, from which the majority did not return, or were murdered by the Hungarian Arrow Cross fascists. Most Jewish people who remain in Hungary live in the centre of Budapest, especially in district VII. The largest synagogue in Europe, the Dohány Street Synagogue, is located in Budapest.
Islam in Hungary has a long history that dates back to at least the 10th century, predating the Ottoman Empire. The influence of Muslims was especially pronounced in the 16th century during the time of Ottoman Hungary. According to the 2011 Hungarian census, there were 5,579 Muslims in Hungary, or 0.056% of the total population. Of these, 4,097 declared themselves as Hungarian and 2,369 as Arab by ethnicity. The majority of Muslims in the country are Sunni.
In recent decades Buddhism has spread to Hungary, primarily in its Vajrayana forms through the activity of Tibetan missionary monks. Since in Hungary religions are encouraged to institutionalise into church (egyház) bodies in order to be recognised by the government, various institutions have formed, including the Hungarian Buddhist Church (Magyarországi Buddhista Egyházközösség), the Gate of Dharma Buddhist Church (A Tan Kapuja Buddhista Egyház), and others, mostly Vajrayana. A Shaolin temple, the Hungarian Shaolin Temple, was founded in Budapest in 1994.
"Navayana" Buddhism or Ambedkarite Buddhism, a recent Buddhist denomination emerged among the Dalits of India, a form of Buddhism socially and politically engaged for the betterment of the conditions of marginalised peoples, has been spread also to the Romani ethnic minority of Hungary. They are primarily represented by the Jai Bhim Network,[better source needed] with ties to the Triratna Buddhist Community.
A rise of Neopagan (Újpogányság) movements has occurred in Hungary over the last decades. Traditional Hungarian paganism, based on Hungarian mythology and shamanism (Táltos tradition), has been revived and is known as Ősmagyar Vallás ("Ancient Hungarian Religion"). The Traditional Church of the Order of Arpad (Árpád Rendjének Jogalapja Tradicionális Egyház), the Ancient Hungarian Church (Ősmagyar Egyház), the Community of the Hungarian Religion (Magyar Vallás Közössége), the Ancient Hungarian Táltos Church (Ősmagyar Táltos Egyház), the Yotengrit, and various Táltos groups are representative of this religion.
Some Hungarians espouse Turanist ideas, and therefore other Táltos are affiliated with Tengrism. The Tengri Community (Tengri Közösség) is one of the Tengrist churches of Hungary. Wicca, a religion of English origin, has spread to Hungary as in the other countries of Western Europe. Zsuzsanna Budapest, a Hungarian who emigrated to the United States, is the founder of the Wiccan denomination known as Dianic Wicca, popular in North America. The Celtic Wiccan Tradition Church (Kelta-Wicca Hagyományőrzők Egyháza) is a Celtic Wiccan church in Hungary.
|Religion not stated||1,104,333||10.8||2,699,025||27.2|
- 2011 Hungary Census Report, p. 23
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- "Discrimination in the EU in 2012" (PDF), Special Eurobarometer, 383, European Union: European Commission, p. 233, 2012, retrieved 14 August 2013 The question asked was "Do you consider yourself to be...?" With a card showing: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, and Non-believer/Agnostic. Space was given for Other (SPONTANEOUS) and DK. The responses Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, and Hindu did not reach the 1% threshold.
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