Do you think Slovakia is secular religiously as a country? How about if the country has the same outlook towards god or religions in Slovakia compared to its “divorced partner”?
When it comes to religion, Slovakia is a bit different than other European countries. Most European countries consider themselves secular, while most Slovakians admit that they belong to a particular religion; even though that does not mean they are actively participating in religious activities, it still shows that Slovakians are the most religious compared to Slovakians to their European neighbors. Funnily enough, the Czech Republic, Slovakia’s “divorced partner,” is labeled as the least religious country in Europe. Let’s dive deeper.
Christianity has always been a big part of Slovakia. It is the main religion practiced by the majority of Slovakians. It is also evident based on the number of churches you can find in cities, in the villages, and in rural areas.
This leads us to our main topic today, the religions in Slovakia. I want to explore the history behind Christianity in Slovakia, the Christian denominations found in Slovakia, and also find out more about other religions practiced in the country. Let’s get started.
As I have mentioned above, Christianity has the most followers in Slovakia. You can actually trace back the Christian history in Slovakia up to the first century AD, but much was unconfirmed. The first Christian church in Slovakia was built in the city of Nitra in 833 A.D.
Catholic Church / Latin Church
Based on the recent census, about 70 percent of the Slovakia population recognize themselves as Roman Catholic.
Christianity first arrived in Slovakia following the fall of the Avar Empire in the Eight Century. In the second half of the ninth century, several Slavic principalities arose in what is now known as Slovakia, and these principalities’ monarchs eventually began to accept Christianity as their belief. In the second half of the ninth century, Christianity began to flourish in the area. By the Middle Ages, Roman Catholicism had taken root in the region, and the Roman Catholic Church was running primary schools and secondary schools for the children and social institutions as well as serving in the royal administration.
Later in around the 16th century, Protestant Christianity arrived in the country. So the first to learn about Reformation is the ethnic Germans of Slovakia. Halfway through the 16th century, more and more Slovakians accepted other Christian denominations such as Lutheranism and Protestanism. As for the present day, some of the other Christian groups that have a following, albeit a small one, include Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Scientologists, and others.
The Slovak Greek Catholic Church also has quite a number of believers. In 2008, there were 350000 believers, 374 priests, and 254 parishes identified under the name of Greek Catholic.
Religious Freedom And Other Religions In Slovakia
In the Slovak Republic, religious freedom is guaranteed under the constitution. Such freedom is also what you can see from other countries like Thailand and the Philippines. According to the most recent census, over 70% of the population is Roman Catholic, 10% Protestant, 4% Greek Catholic Church or Eastern Orthodox, 3% subscribe to other religions, and 13% have no religion.
Religious groups may register with the government, which allows them some if not many privileges in the country for religious activities. However, the standards to pass the requirements are very high, so it’s not easy to register a religion.
Judaism and Jews have a long history with the land of Slovakia. You can trace back around the 11th century for the first Jews to arrive in present-day Slovakia. The Jew community flourished and reached a substantial Jewish population- around 90000 people. That was until World War II happened. Due to the result of Nazi genocidal policies, the numbers of Jews in Slovakia have been reduced greatly. The country now has only a little over 2000 Jews.
Islam arrived in Slovakia through the Turkish groups that controlled certain regions of today’s southern central Slovakia long after the Hungarian defeat of Mohacs. Sadly, Slovakia is the only European country that does not have a single mosque, or can the religion of Islam be registered as an official religion in the country. The country passed legislation to block Islam effectively from gaining official status in the country in 2016. This also means the Muslims do not and cannot receive financial aid from the state- which many Slovakians question if the freedom of religion is actually limited to a certain demographics only.
There are an estimated 5,000 people in the Muslim community in Slovakia. The majority of Muslims in Slovakia now are refugees from the former Yugoslavia, as well as students and employees who have relocated to the nation.
Buddhism, a philosophy-based religion, can also be found in Slovakia. However, since it was classified as “other religions” (instead of an official religion) in the 2001 census, the exact number of Buddhists is unknown. We do know that there are several informal Buddhist schools and Zen schools in the country.
Slavic Neopaganism, also known as The Slavic Native Faith or Rodnovery, is a modern Pagan religion. It is also not an official religion so we do not have an exact number of believers.
Learn More About Slovakia
Let’s sum up what you have read in this post. First, Slovakia is a Christian-majority country; the country promotes freedom of religion, though it is not as simple as it seems; Slovakia is considered more conservative compared to the Czechs; other religious minorities are accepted in the country, but most of them are not registered to be official religions of the country.
That’s a lot of information you’ve gained in a short amount of time. If you want to learn more about the country and its culture, you can visit the blog posts here. But guess what? You can immediately download the Ling App and try it out if you want to learn the Slovak language. It is easy to use with simple instructions that can help you to familiarize yourself with the language’s grammar, vocabulary, common phrases, and many other linguistic aspects. Try it now!