Religion in Hungary

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Religion in Hungary (Eurobarometer September 2019) [1]


   Catholicism (62%)
   No Religion (20%)
   Protestantism (5%)
  Other christians (8%)
   Judaism (1%)
  Other (2%)
  Undeclared (2%)

Historically, religion in Hungary has been dominated by forms of Christianity since the State's founding in the 11th century. Contemporary Hungary has no official religion. While the constitution "recognizes Christianity's nation-building role", [2] freedom of religion is declared a fundamental right.

According to the 2019 Eurobarometer, 62% of Hungarians are Catholic, 20% have No religion, 5% are Protestant, 8% are Other Christians, 1% are Jews, 2% are other, and 2% are undeclared.


King Ladislaus I was an important figure in the country's Christianity during the Middle Ages. King St. Ladislaus.jpg
King Ladislaus I was an important figure in the country's Christianity during the Middle Ages.

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. Protestants composed some 85–90% of the entire population, more than a half of the Hungarian population being part of the Calvinist confessing Reformed Church and a quarter of Lutheran confessing Evangelical Church. [3]

In the second half of the 16th century, however, the Catholic Habsburg Kings and 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 missions in order to promote popular piety.

Using both political and apologetic efforts, most of the High Nobility composing the Diet was already predominantly Catholic by the 1640s, a process consolidated as the new reconquered estates were granted to the converted aristocracy, who supported in Counter-Reformation. Despite this, the lower nobility, the town burghers and the common people still retained a largely Protestant – specially Calvinist – identity, opposing the catholic German-likeness of the Habsburg courtly politics. Allied with the Constitutional Rights enforced by the Nobility and the military pressure of the Protestant Principality of Transylvania on the eastern border, Catholic Counter-Reformation achieved partial results compared to the other Habsburg-controlled possessions, like Bohemia and Austria, where Catholicism was restored to the status of the sole religion of the realm.

Some of the eastern parts of the country, 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 1,153,442 adherents as of 2011. [4] 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. [5]

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 is a small minority in Hungary today. Despite its relatively small number of adherents, it had a strong power and influence in internal politics since Hungary's independence from the strongly Catholic Habsburg Empire.

The proportion of all Protestantism in Hungary has decreased from around 27% in the early 20th century to about 16% in the early 21st century. [4] Eastern Orthodoxy in Hungary has been the religion mainly of certain national minorities in the country, notably Romanians, Rusyns, Ukrainians, and Serbs. Hungary has also been the home of a sizable Armenian Catholic community. They worship according to the Armenian Rite, but they have united with the Catholic Church under the primacy of the Pope. Some of the Armenians in Hungary are adherents of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

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. [6]


The former synagogue of the Hungarian city of Sopron. Synagogue Sopron Hungary.jpg
The former synagogue of the Hungarian city of Sopron.

Historically, Hungary was home to a significant Jewish community. In the 19th century, the pressures of Jewish emancipation, acculturation and secularization led growing tension between modernists and traditionalists. These culminated in 1871, when a communal schism between the Neologs, roughly equivalent to American Conservative Judaism, and Orthodox, divided Hungarian Jews. The census of January 1941 found that 4.3% of the population, or around 400,000 people, were considered of the Jewish religion (not including Christians of Jewish descent or converts to Christianity, who were registered as Jews by race under the new Anti-Jewish laws). In 2011, only 10,965 Jews (0.1% of the population) remained. [4] Some Hungarian Jews were able to escape the Holocaust during World War II, but most (perhaps 550,000) [7] either were deported to concentration camps, from which the majority did not return, or were murdered by the 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. [8]


Mosque in Siklos. Malkocs beg dzsamija.jpg
Mosque in Siklós.

The influence of Muslims in Hungary was especially pronounced in the 16th century during the time of the Ottoman rule. According to the 2011 census, there were 5,579 Muslims in Hungary, less than 0.1% of the total population. [4] Of these, 4,097 declared themselves as Hungarian and 2,369 as Arab by ethnicity. [9]


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), [10] the Gate of Dharma Buddhist Church (A Tan Kapuja Buddhista Egyház), [11] 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. [12]


A vilagfa (world tree) erected in Godollo, Pest, Budapest metropolis. Vilagfa (world tree), Godollo, Budapest, Hungary.png
A világfa (world tree) erected in Gödöllő, Pest, Budapest metropolis.

A rise of Neopagan (Újpogányság) movements has occurred in Hungary over the last decades. [13] [14] 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), [15] 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. [13]

Some Hungarians espouse Turanist ideas, and therefore other Táltos are affiliated with Tengrism. The Tengri Community (Tengri Közösség) [16] 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 [17] (Kelta-Wicca Hagyományőrzők Egyháza) is a Celtic Wiccan church in Hungary.


Census statistics

Religion1920 [4] 1930 [4] 1941 [4] 1949 [4] 1992 [4] 1998 [4] 2001 [4] 2011 [4]
Christianity 7,496,82593.68,228,35894.78,909,79995.79,049,97398.39,632,80192.98,151,99879.47,583,77274.35,385,10654.2
Catholic Church 5,102,46663.85,631,14664.86,119,21865.76,240,39967.87,030,18267.85,934,32657.85,289,52151.93,691,34837.1
Greek Catholicism 175,6532.1201,0922.3233,8362.5248,3562.7----268,9352.6179,1761.8
Calvinism 1,670,99020.91,813,14420.91,934,85320.82,014,71821.92,167,12120.91,817,25917.71,622,79615.91,153,44211.6
Lutheranism 496,7996.2533,8466.1557,1936.0482,1575.2435,4984.2400,4133.9304,7053.0214,9652.2
Orthodox Christianity 50,9170.639,8390.538,3170.436,0150.4----14,5200.113,7100.1
–Other Christians [lower-alpha 1] --9,2910.126,3820.328,3280.3----82,7900.8131,1081.3
Judaism 473,3295.9444,5525.1400,7604.3133,8611.5--20,5340.212,8710.110,9650.1
Buddhism ------------5,2230.19,7580.1
Islam ------------3,2010.05,5790.0
Other religions------------2,5130.03,6270.0
No religion ------------1,483,36914.51,659,02316.7
Atheism --------------147,3861.5
Religion not stated [lower-alpha 2] 16,7210.22,5530.05,5150.020,9650.2725,8307.02,094,46820.41,104,33310.82,699,02527.2
Total population7,986,875100.08,685,109100.09,316,074100.09,204,799100.010,369,000100.010,267,000100.010,198,315100.09,937,628100.0

Line chart

  Not religious and atheism
  Religion not stated [lower-alpha 2]

Religion by county

Distribution of religions and irreligion in Hungary, 2011 census. Hungary 2011 Religion.png
Distribution of religions and irreligion in Hungary, 2011 census.
Source: 2011 census (population which declared a religious or irreligious stance) [18]
CountyRoman CatholicismGreek CatholicismCalvinismLutheranismOrthodoxyOther religionsNon-religiousAtheists
Baranya 63.2%0.4%8.7%1.6%0.1%2.0%21.9%2.0%
Bács-Kiskun 65.4%0.3%11.6%3.4%0.1%2.3%15.8%1.1%
Békés 25.5%0.3%17.0%10.2%1.3%2.5%41.5%1.5%
Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén 47.6%6.7%26.0%0.7%0.0%1.9%15.9%1.1%
Csongrád 53.9%0.6%9.6%1.1%0.3%2.5%29.8%2.2%
Fejér 50.1%0.4%15.3%2.4%0.1%1.8%27.6%2.1%
Győr-Moson-Sopron 73.6%0.3%4.5%6.4%0.0%1.2%12.5%1.4%
Hajdú-Bihar 13.1%7.9%38.6%0.3%0.2%2.5%35.8%1.6%
Heves 70.2%0.5%6.4%0.5%0.0%2.1%18.8%1.4%
Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok 43.1%0.4%15.0%0.4%0.0%1.4%37.9%1.6%
Komárom-Esztergom 51.1%0.6%14.1%2.1%0.1%1.8%28.3%2.0%
Nógrád 72.5%0.3%2.7%5.1%0.0%2.3%16.0%1.1%
Pest 50.5%1.1%15.6%3.8%0.2%3.2%23.3%2.3%
Somogy 70.6%0.2%8.9%2.4%0.0%1.5%14.9%1.3%
Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg 24.5%16.5%43.6%2.5%0.1%2.3%9.9%0.6%
Tolna 62.0%0.2%10.6%3.9%0.1%1.5%20.5%1.3%
Vas 78.9%0.1%3.7%7.9%0.1%1.0%7.1%1.0%
Veszprém 63.6%0.3%11.6%4.9%0.1%1.6%16.5%1.5%
Zala 81.9%0.1%3.2%1.8%0.0%1.0%10.7%1.1%
Budapest 43.8%1.4%12.8%2.6%0.3%4.3%30.0%4.7%

Other surveys


  1. The category includes Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, Baptists, Methodists, Unitarians, and other Christian groups.
  2. 1 2 From censuses of the years 1920 to 1998 the category also includes "not religious" and "atheist". From 2001–2011, "not religious" and "atheism" are counted apart.

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