Religion in Poland

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Religion in Poland (2018)[1]

  Catholicism (91.9%)
  Protestantism (0.3%)
  Other Christian denominations and religions (0.5%)
  No religion (3.1%)
  Unanswered and uncategorized (3.4%)
St. Florian's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Warsaw. An overwhelming majority of ethnic Poles are adherents of the Catholic branch of Christianity.

Poland has historically been one of the most religious countries in Europe.[2] Though varied religious communities exist in Poland, most Poles adhere to Christianity. Within this, the largest grouping is the Roman Catholic Church: 91.9% of the population identified themselves with that denomination in 2018[3][4] and, according to the Institute for Catholic Church Statistics, 36.7% of Polish Catholic believers attended Sunday Mass in 2015.[5] Poland has historically been one of the most Catholic countries in the world; Neal Pease describes Poland as "Rome's Most Faithful Daughter."[6]

Roman Catholicism continues to be important in the lives of many Poles, and the Catholic Church in Poland enjoys social prestige and political influence.[7] Its members regard it as a repository of Polish heritage and culture.[8] Poland lays claim to having the highest proportion of Roman Catholic citizens of any country in Europe except Malta and San Marino (higher than in Italy, Spain, and Ireland, all countries in which the Roman Catholic Church has been the sole established religion).[9]

The current extent of this numerical dominance results largely from The Holocaust of Jews living in Poland carried out by Nazi Germany and the World War II casualties among Polish religious minorities,[10][11][12][13] as well as the flight and expulsion of Germans, many of whom were not Roman Catholics, at the end of World War II.

The rest of the population consists mainly of Eastern Orthodox (Polish Orthodox Church – approximately 507,196 believers),[14] various Protestant churches (the largest of which is the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland, with 61,217 members)[14] and Jehovah's Witnesses (116,935).[14] There are about 55,000 Greek Catholics in Poland.[14] Other religions practiced in Poland, by less than 0.1% of the population, include Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.[15]

According to 2018 statistics assembled by Statistics Poland, 93.5% of the population is affiliated with a religion; 3.1% do not belong to any religion. The most practiced religion was Roman Catholicism, whose followers comprised the 91.9% of the population, followed by the Eastern Orthodox with 0.9% (rising from 0.4% in 2011, caused in part by recent immigration from Ukraine), Jehovah's Witnesses with 0.2%, and various Protestant denominations comprising 0.3% of the Polish population and 0.1 of Greek Catholic Churches.[1] In 2015, 61.1% of the population gave religion high to very high importance whilst 13.8% regarded religion as of little or no importance. The percentage of believers is much higher in the eastern parts of Poland.[3]

Religious affiliation of the population[16] [a]
Religious affiliation 2011 2015 2018
Belonging to a church or a religious association 97.4 96.8 96.8
Roman Catholic Church 96.0 95.7 95.1
Orthodox Church 0.4 0.7 0.9
Protestant churches 0.3 0.2 0.3
Jehovah’s Witnesses 0.4 0.3 0.2
Greek Catholic Church 0.1 0.1 0.1
Other churches and religious associations 0.1 0.1 0.2
Not belonging to any religion 2.6 3.2 3.2
Total 100 100 100
Unable to categorize 1.6 0.5 0.5
Refusal to respond 7.1 2.5 2.9


For centuries the ancient West Slavic and Lechitic peoples inhabiting the lands of modern-day Poland have practiced various forms of paganism known as Rodzimowierstwo (“native faith”).[17][18][19][20] From the beginning of its statehood, different religions coexisted in Poland. With the baptism of Poland in 966, the old pagan religions were gradually eradicated over the next few centuries during the Christianization of Poland. However, this did not put an end to pagan beliefs in the country. The persistence was demonstrated by a series of rebellions known as the Pagan reaction in the first half of the 11th century, which also showed elements of a peasant uprising against landowners and feudalism,[21] and led to a mutiny that destabilized the country.[22][23][24][25] By the 13th century Catholicism had become the dominant religion throughout the country. Nevertheless, Christian Poles coexisted with a significant Jewish segment of the population.[26][27]

In the 15th century, the Hussite Wars and the pressure from the papacy led to religious tensions between Catholics and the emergent Hussite and subsequent Protestant community, particularly after the Edict of Wieluń (1424).[28] The Protestant movement gained a significant following in Poland and, though Roman Catholicism retained a dominant position within the state, the liberal Warsaw Confederation (1573) guaranteed wide religious tolerance.[28] But the reactionary movement succeeded in reducing the scope for tolerance by the late 17th and early 18th century – as evidenced by events such as the Tumult of Toruń (1724).[28][29][30]

When Poland was divided between its neighbors in the late eighteenth century, some Poles were subjected to religious discrimination in the newly expanded German Prussia and Russia.[31]

Prior to the Second World War, some 3,500,000 Polish Jews (about 10% of the national population) lived in the Polish Second Republic, largely in cities. Between the Germano-Soviet invasions of Poland and the end of World War II, over 90% of Jews in Poland perished.[32] The Holocaust (called the "Shoah" in Hebrew) took the lives of more than three million mostly Ashkenazi Jews in Poland. Comparatively few managed to survive the German occupation or to escape eastward into the territories of Poland annexed by the Soviet Union, beyond the reach of the Nazi Germany. As elsewhere in Europe during the interwar period, there was both official and popular anti-Semitism in Poland, at times encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church and by some political parties (particularly the right-wing endecja and small ONR groups and factions), but not directly by the Polish government itself.[33]

According to a 2011 survey by Ipsos MORI, 85% of the Poles remain Christians; 8% are irreligious, atheist, or agnostic; 2% adhere to unspecified other religions; and 5% did not answer the question.[34]

The Polish Constitution and religion

Percentage of persons who declared that they believe or very deeply believe, 2015.[35]

The Polish Constitution assures freedom of religion for all. The Constitution also grants national and ethnic minorities the rights to establish educational and cultural institutions and institutions designed to protect religious identity, as well as to participate in the resolution of matters connected with their cultural identities.[36]

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 which operate under separate Polish laws. This registration is not necessary, but it does serve the laws guaranteeing freedom of religious practice.

Slavic Rodzimowiercy groups registered with the Polish authorities in 1995 are the Native Polish Church (Rodzimy Kościół Polski), which represents a pagan tradition which goes back to pre-Christian faiths and continues Władysław Kołodziej's 1921 Holy Circle of Worshipper of Światowid (Święte Koło Czcicieli Światowida), and the Polish Slavic Church (Polski Kościół Słowiański).[37] This native Slavic religion is promoted also by the Native Faith Association (Zrzeszenie Rodzimej Wiary, ZRW), and the Association for Tradition founded in 2015.

Major denominations

Around 125 faith groups and minor religions are registered in Poland.[38] Data for 2018 provided by Główny Urząd Statystyczny, Poland's Central Statistical Office.[14]

Denomination Members Leadership
Catholic Church in Poland,[38] including:
Wojciech Polak, Prymas of Poland
Stanisław Gądecki, Chairman of Polish Episcopate
Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio to Poland
Jan Martyniak, Archbishop Metropolite of Byzantine-Ukrainian Rite
Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church 507,196 Metropolitan of Warsaw Sawa
Jehovah's Witnesses in Poland 116,935 Warszawska 14, Nadarzyn Pl-05830
Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Poland 61,217 Bishop Fr. Jerzy Samiec
Pentecostal Church in Poland 25,152 Bishop Marek Kamiński
Old Catholic Mariavite Church in Poland
(data from 2017)
22,849 Chief Bishop Fr. Marek Maria Karol Babi
Polish Catholic Church (Old Catholic) 18,259 Bishop Wiktor Wysoczański
Seventh-day Adventist Church in Poland 9,726 President of the Church, Ryszard Jankowski
Church of Christ in Poland 6,326 Bishop Andrzej W. Bajeński
New Apostolic Church in Poland 6,118 Bishop Waldemar Starosta
Christian Baptist Church in Poland
 • Baptist Union of Poland
5,343 President of the Church: Dr. Mateusz Wichary
Church of God in Christ 4,611 Bishop Andrzej Nędzusiak
Evangelical Methodist Church in Poland
(data from 2017)
4,465 General Superintendent, Andrzej Malicki
Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland 3,335 President consistory Dr. Witold Brodziński
Catholic Mariavite Church in Poland 1,838 Bishop Damiana Maria Beatrycze Szulgowicz
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Poland 1,729 President of the Church: Russel M. Nelson

Warsaw Mission President: Mateusz Turek

Islamic Religious Union in Poland 523 President of the Supreme Muslim College Stefan Korycki
Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland 1,860  • President of the Main Board Piotr Kadlčik
 • Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich

2015 poll by CBOS

According to an opinion poll conducted in "a representative group of 1,000 people" by the Centre for Public Opinion Research (CBOS), published in 2015, 39% of Poles claim they are "believers following the Church's laws", while 52% answered that they are "believers in their own understanding and way", and 5% stated that they are atheists.[39][40]

Selected locations

See also


  1. ^ The 2011 census report does not include in the percentages the sample that did not respond or gave invalid answers. This approach was used to compare data in the subsequent 2015 and 2018 surveys, showing a trend of increasing percentage of orthodox christians due to ukrainians moving in and a slowly decreasing percentage of catholic christians.


  1. ^ a b "Quality of life and social capital in Poland. Results of the Social Cohesion Survey 2018". Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Co łączy Polaków z parafią? Komunikat z badań" [What Connects Poles with Parish? Training Message] (PDF) (in Polish). Warsaw: Centre for Public Opinion Research CBOS. March 2005. Preface. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Infographic - Religiousness of Polish inhabitiants". Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  4. ^ GUS, Narodowy Spis Powszechny Ludnosci 2011: 4.4. Przynależność wyznaniowa (National Survey 2011: 4.4 Membership in faith communities) p. 99/337 (PDF file, direct download 3.3 MB). ISBN 978-83-7027-521-1 Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  5. ^ Sadlon, Wojciech (2018). Sadłoń, Wojciech (ed.). Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae in Polonia AD 2018 (PDF) (in Polish). Warszawa: Instytut Statystyki Kościoła Katolickiego SAC. p. 4. doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.23260.90248.
  6. ^ Pease, Neal (2009). Rome's Most Faithful Daughter: The Catholic Church and Independent Poland, 1914–1939. Ohio University Press. ISBN 9780821443620.
  7. ^ "Religion in Poland". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  8. ^ [1] Archived 1 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "'Christianity as default is gone': the rise of a non-Christian Europe". The Guardian. 21 March 2018.
  10. ^ Project in Posterum, Poland World War II casualties. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  11. ^ Holocaust: Five Million Forgotten: Non-Jewish Victims of the Shoah.
  12. ^ AFP/Expatica, Polish experts lower nation's WWII death toll,, 30 August 2009
  13. ^ Tomasz Szarota & Wojciech Materski, Polska 1939–1945. Straty osobowe i ofiary represji pod dwiema okupacjami, Warsaw, IPN 2009, ISBN 978-83-7629-067-6 (Introduction online. Archived 1 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine)
  14. ^ a b c d e "Niektóre wyznania religijne w Polsce w 2018 r. (Selected religious denominations in Poland in 2018)". Mały Rocznik Statystyczny Polski 2019 (Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2019) (PDF). Mały Rocznik Statystyczny Polski = Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland (in Polish and English). Warszawa: Główny Urząd Statystyczny. 2019. pp. 114–115. ISSN 1640-3630.
  15. ^ Ciecieląg, Paweł, ed. (2016). Wyznania religijne w Polsce 2012-2014 (PDF). Warszawa: Główny Urząd Statystyczny. pp. 142–173. ISBN 9788370276126.
  16. ^ "Religious denominations in Poland 2015-2018". Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  17. ^ "Polish Paganism - Polish Toledo - Archive of Okana".
  18. ^ Gniazdo – Rodzima wiara i kultura, nr 2(7)/2009 – Ratomir Wilkowski: Rozważania o wizerunku rodzimowierstwa na przykładzie...
  19. ^ "Rodzimy Kościół Polski". Rodzimy Kościół Polski.
  20. ^ "Paganism in Poland | Living, News, Paganism, World". The Wild Hunt. 6 July 2016.
  21. ^ Zawada, Grażyna (29 August 2013). "Resurgence of Pre-Christian Beliefs in Poland".
  22. ^ Gerard Labuda (1992). Mieszko II król Polski: 1025–1034 : czasy przełomu w dziejach państwa polskiego. Secesja. p. 102. ISBN 978-83-85483-46-5. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  23. ^ Gerard Labuda (1992). Mieszko II król Polski: 1025–1034 : czasy przełomu w dziejach państwa polskiego. Secesja. p. 102. ISBN 978-83-85483-46-5. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  24. ^ Słownik starożytności słowiańskich: encyklopedyczny zarys kultury słowian od czasów najdawniejszych. Zkład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich. 1967. p. 247. Retrieved 27 March 2013. Widziano w M. wodza powstania pogańsko-ludowego
  25. ^ Oskar Halecki; W. F. Reddaway; J. H. Penson. The Cambridge History of Poland. CUP Archive. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-00-128802-4. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  26. ^ Piotr Stefan Wandycz (1980). The United States and Poland. Harvard University Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-674-92685-1.
  27. ^ Jerzy Lukowski; W. H. Zawadzki (6 July 2006). A Concise History of Poland. Cambridge University Press. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-0-521-85332-3. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  28. ^ a b c Hillar, Marian (1992). "The Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791: Myth and Reality". The Polish Review. 37 (2): 185–207. JSTOR 25778627.
  29. ^ Jerzy Jan Lerski (1996). Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966-1945. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-313-26007-0.
  30. ^ Beata Cieszynska (2 May 2008). "Polish Religious Persecution as a Topic in British Writing in the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Century". In Richard Unger; Jakub Basista (eds.). Britain and Poland-Lithuania: Contact and Comparison from the Middle Ages to 1795. BRILL. p. 243. ISBN 978-90-04-16623-3.
  31. ^ "Anna M". Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  32. ^ Lukas, Richard C. (1989). Out of the Inferno: Poles Remember the Holocaust. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 5, 13, 111, 201. ISBN 978-0-8131-1692-1. The estimates of Jewish survivors in Poland,.
    The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation, 1939–1944. Hippocrene Books. 2001. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7818-0901-6.
  33. ^ Poland's Holocaust by Tadeusz Piotrowski. Published by McFarland. From Preface: policy of genocide.
  34. ^ Views on globalisation and faith Archived 17 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Ipsos MORI, 5 July 2011.
  35. ^ "Infographic - Religiousness of Polish inhabitiants".
  36. ^ Works related to Constitution of the Republic of Poland at Wikisource
  37. ^ Simpson, Scott (2000). Native Faith: Polish Neo-Paganism at the Brink of the 21st Century
  38. ^ a b "Society". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2002. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  39. ^ Boguszewski, Rafał (February 2015). "Zmiany W Zakresie Podstanowych Wskaźników Religijności Polaków Po Śmierci Jana Pawla II" (PDF). CBOS. p. 6. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  40. ^ "Wierzę w Boga Ojca, ale nie w Kościół powszechny". 23 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2018.

External links