Religion in Romania

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Religious denominations in Romania according to the 2011 census, given as percentages of the total stable population.

  Catholicism (5.1%)
  Protestantism (6.2%)
  Other (1.5%)
  Not religious (0.2%)
  Missing data (6%)

Romania is a secular state, and it has no state religion. However, Romania is one of the most religious countries in the European Union and an overwhelming majority of the country's citizens are Christian. The Romanian state officially recognizes 18 religions and denominations.[1] 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%), Greek Catholicism (0.75%-3.3%), Calvinism (2.99%), Pentecostal denominations (1.80%). This amounts to approximately 92% of the population identifying as Christian. Romania also has a small but historically significant Muslim minority, concentrated in Northern Dobruja, 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.[2]

Religious denominations[edit]

Eastern Orthodoxy[edit]

Metropolitan Cathedral in Iași, the largest Orthodox church in Romania

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 poll conducted by INSCOP in July 2015, 37.8% of Romanians who declare themselves to be religious go to church only on major holidays, 25.4% once a week (especially on Sunday), 18.9% once a month, 10.2% once a year or less, 3.4% say they do not go to church, 2.7% a few times a week, and only 0.9% say they go to church daily.[3]

Roman Catholicism[edit]

St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Cathedral in Arad

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 Székelys; 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 Csangos (27,296 in all).

Greek Catholicism[edit]

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, 1,250 parishes, some 791 diocesan priests and 235 seminarians of its own rite at the end of 2012.[4] The dispute over the figure is included in the United States Department of State report on religious freedom in Romania.[5] The Romanian Orthodox Church continues to claim many of the Romanian Greek Catholic Church's properties.[6]

Protestantism[edit]

According to the 2011 census, Protestants make up 5.95% of the total population. The largest denominations included in this figure are the Reformed (2.99%) and the Pentecostals (1.8%). Others also included are Baptists (0.56%), Seventh-day Adventists (0.4%), Unitarians (0.29%), Plymouth Brethren (0.16%) and two Lutheran churches (0.13%), the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Romania (0.1%) 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.

Not to be confused with any of the above is the Evangelical Church of Romania (0.08%), an unrelated Protestant denomination.

Islam[edit]

Main article: Islam in Romania
Carol I Mosque in Constanța

Although the number of adherents of Islam is relatively small, Islam enjoys a 700-year tradition in Romania particularly in Northern Dobruja,[7] a region on the Black Sea coast which was part of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries (ca. 1420–1878).[8] According to the 2011 census, 64,337 people, approx. 0.3% of the total population, indicated that their religion was Islam. The majority of the Romanian Muslims belong to the Sunni Islam.

97% of the Romanian Muslims are residents of the two counties forming Northern Dobruja: eighty-five percent live in Constanța County, and twelve percent in Tulcea County.[7] The remaining Muslims live in cities like Bucharest, Brăila, Călărași, Galați, Giurgiu, Drobeta-Turnu Severin.[7] Ethnically, most of them are Tatars, followed by Turks, Albanians, Muslim Roma, and immigrants from the Middle East.[7][9] Since 2007, there are Indonesian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani workers coming to Romania, who are mostly Muslims.

In Romania there are about 80 mosques.[10] One of the largest is the Grand Mosque of Constanța, originally known as the Carol I Mosque. It was built between 1910 and 1913, on the order of Carol I, in appreciation for the Muslim community in Constanța. According to the legal status of the Muslim denomination, the Romanian Muslim community is officially represented by a mufti, while the Muftiat is the denominational and cultural representative institution of the Muslim community,[11] with a status similar with that of the other denominations officially recognized by the Romanian state.[12] Likewise, Muslims in Constanța, which comprise approx. 6% of the population of this county, are represented in the Parliament by the Democratic Union of Turkish-Muslim Tatars of Romania, founded on 29 December 1989.[13]

Other religions[edit]

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. Serbian Orthodox believers are present in the areas which border Serbia and number about 14,000 people. 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. The Association of Religion Data Archives reports 1,869 Bahá'ís in the country as of 2005.[14] 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.[15]

Paganism[edit]

See also: Zalmoxianism
Zalmoxian fire rite

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,[16] 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 and Thracian mythological sources, with prominence given to the figure of god Zalmoxis.[17] One of the most prominent Zalmoxian groups is the Gebeleizis Association (Romanian: Societatea Gebeleizis).[17]

Irreligion[edit]

Main article: Irreligion in Romania

Approximately 40,000 people have identified as nonreligious in Romania in the 2011 census, out of which 21,000 declared atheists and 19,000 agnostics. Most of them are concentrated in major cities such as Bucharest or Cluj-Napoca.[18] Irreligion is much lower in Romania than in most other European countries and pretty much one of the lowest in the world.

Attitudes towards religion[edit]

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 EU-27 was 9%.[19] According to a study by the Soros Foundation, over three quarters of Romanians consider themselves religious people, in a greater amount from rural areas, from women, from elders and from those with low income.[20] Romanians believe in religious dogmas and the church, without absolutizing this belief, showing tolerance towards those who do not fully comply with the divine word, towards other religions and even towards some scientific truths.[20] However, in recent years, confidence in the Romanian Orthodox Church decreased continuously. If in 2003 the Church enjoyed 90% confidence, in January 2016 it dropped to 58%.[21]

In 2011, 49% of Bucharesters declared that they only go to church on social occasions (weddings, Easter, etc.) or not at all.[22] 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,[23] 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%).

According to a survey conducted in July 2015, 96.5% of Romanians believe in God, 84.4% believe in saints, 59.6% believe in the existence of heaven, 57.5% in that of hell, and 54.4% in afterlife.[24] 83% of Romanians say they observe Sundays and religious holidays, 74.6% worship when they pass by a church, 65.6% say they pray regularly, 60.2% state they sanctify their belongings, house, car, and 53.6% of Romanians donate regularly to the church.[24]

Historical evolution[edit]

Denominations and religious organizations 1992 census[25] 2002 census[25] 2011 census[25]
Traditional Christian denominations Orthodox 19,802,389 18,817,975 16,307,004
Roman Catholic 1,161,942 1,026,429 870,774
Greek Catholic 223,327 191,556 150,593
Old Calendarists 32,228
Old Believers 28,141 38,147 32,558
Serbian Orthodox 14,385
Armenian Apostolic 2,023 775 393
Reformed 802,454 701,077 600,932
Unitarian 76,708 66,944 57,686
Evangelical Augustan 39,119 8,716 5,399
Evangelic Lutheran (Synod-Presbyterian) 21,221 27,112 20,168
Neo-Protestant Christian denominations Pentecostal 220,824 324,462 362,314
Baptist 109,462 126,639 112,850
Seventh Day Adventist 77,546 93,670 80,944
Evangelicals 49,963 44,476 42,495
Romanian Evangelic 18,178 15,514
Jehova's Witnesses 49,820
Others Islam 55,928 67,257 64,337
Judaism 9,670 6,057 3,519
Other religion 56,129 89,196 30,557
Without religion 26,314 12,825 18,917
Atheists 10,331 8,524 20,743
Undeclared 8,139 11,734
Unavailable 1,259,739

Charts[edit]

Charts
Geographical distribution of denominations 
Eastern Orthodoxy in Romania (2002 census) 
Roman Catholicism in Romania (2002 census) 
Protestantism in Romania (2002 census) 

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ (Romanian) "Culte recunoscute oficial în România". Secretariatul de Stat pentru Culte. 
  2. ^ (Romanian) "Populația stabilă după religie – județe, municipii, orașe, comune". Institutul Național de Statistică. 
  3. ^ (Romanian) Sorin Peneș (28 July 2015). "Sondaj INSCOP: 96,5% dintre români cred în Dumnezeu". Agerpres. 
  4. ^ "The Eastern Catholic Churches 2012" (PDF). Annuario Pontificio. CNEWA. 
  5. ^ "Romania 2014 International Religious Freedom Report" (PDF). U.S. Department of State. 
  6. ^ (Romanian) George Rădulescu (6 May 2010). "Au trădat greco‑catolicii ortodoxia?". Historia.ro. 
  7. ^ a b c d (Romanian) "România musulmană. Ce știm despre musulmanii din România ? VIDEO". 
  8. ^ (Romanian) Mehmet Ali Ekrem (1994). Din istoria turcilor dobrogeni. Bucharest: Editura Kriterion. ISBN 978-9732603840. 
  9. ^ George Grigore. "Muslims in Romania" (PDF). ISIM Newsletter. 3 (99): 34. 
  10. ^ (Romanian) Maria Oprea (June 2016). "Unde se roagă albanezii musulmani? Geamiile din România". Prietenul Albanezului (176). 
  11. ^ (Romanian) "Despre noi". Muftiatul Cultului Musulman din România. 
  12. ^ Katarzyna Górak-Sosnowska, ed. (2011). "Muslim institutions and organizations in Romania". Muslims in Poland and Eastern Europe: Widening the European Discourse on Islam. University of Warsaw. p. 268. ISBN 978-83-903229-5-7. 
  13. ^ (Romanian) "Despre noi". Uniunea Democrată a Tătarilor Turco-Musulmani din România. 
  14. ^ "Most Baha'i Nations (2005)". Association of Religion Data Archives. 
  15. ^ (Romanian) "Ce ne spune recensământul din anul 2011 despre religie?" (PDF). Institutul Național de Statistică. October 2013. 
  16. ^ Hubbes László-Attila, Rozália Klára Bakó. "Romanian and Hungarian Ethno-Pagan Organizations on the Net". Reconect Working Paper No. 1/2011. Sapientia – Hungarian University of Transylvania. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1863263. 
  17. ^ a b "Zalmoxianism". Federația Păgână Internațională - România. 
  18. ^ (Romanian) "Religiile României. Orașul cu cel mai mare procent de atei din țară". inCont.ro. 
  19. ^ "Eurobarometer 69" (PDF). European Commission. November 2008. 
  20. ^ a b (Romanian) Raluca Popescu. "Atitudini religioase la români: religia și biserica sunt în continuare foarte importante; cu toate acestea, românii au un model religios valoric mai critic și mai tolerant" (PDF). Fundația Soros. 
  21. ^ (Romanian) "Pentru prima dată după Revoluție, încrederea în Biserică a scăzut sub 60%. Ce i-a deranjat cel mai mult pe români". Știrile Pro TV. 2 February 2016. 
  22. ^ (Romanian) "Cartografierea socială a Bucureștiului" (PDF). Școala Națională de Studii Politice și Administrative. 
  23. ^ (Romanian) "Asociația Secular-Umanistă din România contestă datele privind religia din rezultatele preliminare ale Recensământului anunțate de INS". HotNews.ro. 30 August 2012. 
  24. ^ a b (Romanian) "Sondaj: 96,5% dintre români cred în Dumnezeu". Digi24. 28 July 2015. 
  25. ^ a b c Sorin Negruți (2014). "The evolution of the religious structure in Romania since 1859 to the present day" (PDF). Revista Română de Statistică (6): 46. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, Religion and Politics in Post-communist Romania, Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-19-530853-0
  • Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, "Religion and Politics in Post-Communist Romania," in Quo Vadis Eastern Europe? Religion, State, Society and Inter-religious Dialogue after Communism, ed. by Ines A. Murzaku (Bologna, Italy: University of Bologna Press, 2009), pp. 221–235.
  • Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, "Politics, National Symbols and the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral," Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 58, no. 7 (November 2006), pp. 1119–1139.
  • Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, "Pulpits, Ballots and Party Cards: Religion and Elections in Romania," Religion, State and Society, vol. 33, no 4 (December 2005), pp. 347–366.
  • Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, "The Devil's Confessors: Priests, Communists, Spies and Informers," East European Politics and Societies, vol. 19, no. 4 (November 2005), pp. 655–685.
  • Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, "Religious Education in Romania," Communist and Post-Communist Studies, vol. 38, no. 3 (September 2005), pp. 381–401.
  • Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, "Religion, Politics and Sexuality in Romania," Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 57, no. 2 (March 2005), pp. 291–310.
  • Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu, "The Romanian Orthodox Church and Post-Communist Democratization", Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 52, no. 8 (December 2000), pp. 1467–1488, republished in East European Perspectives, vol. 3, no. 4 (22 February 2001), available online at http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1342524.html, and vol. 3, no. 5 (7 March 2001), available online at http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1342525.html.
  • Flora, Gavril; and Georgina Szilagyi; Victor Roudometof (April 2005). "Religion and national identity in post-communist Romania". Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans. 7 (1): 35–55. doi:10.1080/14613190500036917.