Religion in Hungary
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Religion in Hungary

Religion in Hungary (2011 census)[1]

  Catholic Church (37.1%)
  Calvinism (11.6%)
  Lutheranism (2.2%)
  Other religions (1.9%)
  Non-religious (16.7%)
  Atheists (1.5%)
  Undeclared (27.2%)

Religion in Hungary has been dominated by forms of Christianity for centuries. At the 2011 census[1] 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 and 1.5% were atheists. Other religions practiced in Hungary include Sunni Islam and Judaism. A high number of people (27.2%) decided to not answer the question, since it was optional.[2]

Religious groups


King Ladislaus I of Hungary 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.[]

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.[3]

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.

The proportion of Protestants in Hungary has been stable over the last century, oscillating between 10% and 25%.

Orthodox Christianity in Hungary has been the religion mainly of certain national minorities in the country, notably Romanians, Rusyns, Ukrainians, and Serbs.

Hungary has been the home of a sizable Armenian Catholic community as well. They worship according to the Armenian Rite, but they have united with the Catholic Church under the primacy of the Pope.

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.[4]


The former synagogue of the Hungarian city of Sopron.

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.[5] Some Hungarian Jews were able to escape the Holocaust during World War II, but most (perhaps 550,000)[6] 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.[7]


Mosque in Siklós.

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.[2] 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),[8] the Gate of Dharma Buddhist Church (A Tan Kapuja Buddhista Egyház),[9] 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.[10] They are primarily represented by the Jai Bhim Network,[11][better source needed] with ties to the Triratna Buddhist Community.


A rise of Neopagan (Újpogányság) movements has occurred in Hungary over the last decades.[12][13] Traditional Hungarian paganism, based on Hungarian mythology and shamanism (Táltos tradition), has been revived and is known as ?smagyar Vallás ("Ancient Hungarian Religion"). The Traditional Church of the Order of Arpad (Árpád Rendjének Jogalapja Tradicionális Egyház),[14] the Ancient Hungarian Church (?smagyar Egyház), the Community of the Hungarian Religion (Magyar Vallás Közössége), the Ancient Hungarian Táltos Church (?smagyar Táltos Egyház), the Yotengrit, and various Táltos groups are representative of this religion.[12]

Some Hungarians espouse Turanist ideas, and therefore other Táltos are affiliated with Tengrism. The Tengri Community (Tengri Közösség)[15] 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[16] (Kelta-Wicca Hagyomány?rz?k Egyháza) is a Celtic Wiccan church in Hungary.


Census statistics

Distribution of religions and irreligion in Hungary, 2011 census.
Religion 2001[17][1] 2011[1]
Number % Number %
Christianity 7,500,982 73.5 5,253,998 52.9
Catholic Church 5,289,521 51.9 3,691,348 37.1
Greek Catholicism 268,935 2.6 179,176 1.8
Calvinism 1,622,796 15.9 1,153,442 11.6
Lutheranism 304,705 3.0 214,965 2.2
Orthodox Christianity 14,520 0.1 13,710 0.1
Judaism 12,871 0.1 10,965 0.1
Other religion 96,760 0.9 167,231 1.7
No religion 1,483,369 14.5 1,659,023 16.7
Atheism n/a n/a 147,386 1.5
Religion not stated 1,104,333 10.8 2,699,025 27.2
Total population 10,198,315 100.0 9,937,628 100.0

Religion by county

Source: 2011 census (respondent population)[18]
County Roman Catholicism Greek Catholicism Calvinism Lutheranism Orthodoxy Other religions Non-religious Atheists
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%
Gy?r-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%
All 51.0% 2.5% 15.9% 3.0% 0.2% 2.5% 22.9% 2.0%

Other surveys

  • Eurobarometer 2005 found that 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.[19]
  • A Pew Research Center survey of 2015 found that 76% of the population of Hungary declared to be Christians, 21% unaffiliated--a category which includes atheists, agnostics and those who describe their religion as "nothing in particular", while 3% belonged to other faiths.[20] The Christians were divided between 56% who were Catholic, 13% who were Calvinists, 7% who were other Christians and less than 1% who were Eastern Orthodox.[21] At the same time the unaffiliaed were divided between 5% who were atheists and 16% who answered "nothing in particular".[22]
  • International Social Survey Programme 2015 found that 83.4% of the Hungarian population declared to belong to a Christian denomination, with Catholicism being the largest denomination amounting to 62.6% of the respondents (including Greek Catholics at 3.2%), Calvinism was the second-largest sect amounting to 16.6%, and Lutheranism the third-largest with 3.2%. A further 15.5% declared to have no religion, 1.0% to belong to an other Christian denomination and 0.9% declared to belong to other religions.[23]
  • Eurobarometer 2015 found that 74.6% of the Hungarians regarded themselves as Christians, divided between a 60.3% who were Catholics, 1.1% Eastern Orthodox, 5.1% Protestants, and 8.1% other Christians. The unaffiliated people made up 21.2% of the respondents and were divided between atheists with 2.7% and agnostics with 18.5%.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d 2011 Hungary Census Report, p. 23
  2. ^ a b " Population by religion, denomination and main demographic characteristics, 2011" (XLS). Hungarian Central Statistical Office. Retrieved 2016. 
  3. ^ "Facts and Statistics: General information of the Reformed Church in Hungary in figures". 2012. Retrieved 2016. 
  4. ^ "Facts and Statistics". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 2016. 
  5. ^ Volume 3, p.979, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1982
  6. ^ Braham, Randolph L. - Tibori Szabó Zoltán, A Magyarországi Holokauszt Földrajzi Enciklopediája [The Geographic Encyclopedia of the Holocaust in Hungary]. Budapest:Park Publishing, 3 vol. (2006). Vol 1, p. 91.
  7. ^ "Budapest Dohany street Great Synagogue - the largest synagogue in Europe". Retrieved 2012. 
  8. ^ "Magyarországi Buddhista Egyházközösség" [Hungarian Buddhist Church]. (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2016. 
  9. ^ "A Tan Kapuja Buddhista Egyház" [Gate of Dharma Buddhist Church]. (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2016. 
  10. ^ Jura Nanuk (29 October 2012). "European Dalits: The role of Buddhism in social integration of young Roma in Hungary". Central-European Religious Freedom Institute. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Jai Bhim Network, Hungary". 2014. Retrieved 2016. 
  12. ^ a b Ádám Koloszi. Social Constructions of the Native Faith: Mytho-historical Narratives and Identity-discourse in Hungarian Neo-paganism. Central European University, 2012.
  13. ^ László-Attila Hubbes; Rozália Klára Bakó (2011). "Romanian and Hungarian Ethno-Pagan Organizations on the Net" (PDF). Hungarian University of Transylvania. Retrieved 2016. 
  14. ^ "Árpád Rendjének Jogalapja Tradicionális Egyház" [Traditional Church of the Order of Arpad]. (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2016. 
  15. ^ "Tengri Community". Retrieved 2016. 
  16. ^ "A Wicca Magyarországon" [The Wicca in Hungary]. (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2016. 
  17. ^ "1.26 Population by religion and sex, 1930-1949, 2001". Hungarian Central Statistical Office. Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 2008. 
  18. ^ "Területi adatok (Territorial data) - 2011 Census". Hungarian Central Statistical Office. 
  19. ^ "Social values, Science and Technology" (PDF). Retrieved 2011. 
  20. ^ ANALYSIS (10 May 2017). "Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe" (PDF). Retrieved 2017. 
  21. ^ Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe: National and religious identities converge in a region once dominated by atheist regimes
  22. ^ Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe: 1. Religious affiliation; Pew Research Center, 10 May 2017
  23. ^ "Country specific religious affiliation or denomination: Hungary - weighted". International Social Survey Programme: Work Orientations IV - ISSP 2015. 2015 - via GESIS. 
  24. ^ "DISCRIMINATION IN THE EU IN 2015", Special Eurobarometer, 437, European Union: European Commission, 2015, retrieved 2017 - via GESIS 

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