Religion In The Czech Republic
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Religion in The Czech Republic

Religion in the Czech Republic (2011)[1][2][3]

  No religion (34.5%)
  Catholic Church (10.5%)
  Protestantism (1%)
  Other Christian churches (incl. Orthodox and Jehovah's Witnesses) (1.1%)
  Believers, not members of other religions (6.8%)
  Believers, members of other religions (0.7%)
  Other/unknown (0.7%)
  Undeclared (44.7%)

Religion in the Czech Republic was dominated by Christianity until at least the early 20th century. Since the 1620 Battle of White Mountain religious sphere was accompanied by a widespread anti-Catholic sentiment even when the whole population nominally belonged to the Catholic Church. Overall, Christianity has steadily declined since the early 20th century and today remains only a minority. The Czech Republic has one of the oldest least religious populations in the world. Ever since the 1620 Battle of White Mountain, the Czech people have been historically characterised as "tolerant and even indifferent towards religion".[4]

Christianization in the 9th and 10th centuries introduced Roman Catholicism. After the Bohemian Reformation, most Czechs (about 85%) became followers of Jan Hus, Petr Chel?ický and other regional Protestant Reformers. Taborites and Utraquists were major Hussite groups. During the Hussite Wars, Utraquists sided with the Catholic Church. Following the joint Utraquist--Catholic victory, Utraquism was accepted as a distinct form of Christianity to be practiced in Bohemia by the Catholic Church while all remaining Hussite groups were prohibited. After the Reformation, some Bohemians went with the teachings of Martin Luther, especially Sudeten Germans. In the wake of the Reformation, Utraquist Hussites took a renewed increasingly anti-Catholic stance, while some of the defeated Hussite factions (notably Taborites) were revived. Bohemian Estates' defeat in the Battle of White Mountain brought radical religious changes and started a series of intense actions taken by the Habsburgs in order to bring the Czech population back to the Catholic Church. After the Habsburgs regained control of Bohemia, the whole population was forcibly converted to Roman Catholicism--even the Utraquist Hussites. All kinds of Protestant communities including the various branches of Hussites, Lutherans and Reformed were either expelled, killed, or converted to Roman Catholicism. Going forward, Czechs have become more wary and pessimistic of religion as such. A long history of resistance to the Catholic Church followed. It suffered a schism with the neo-Hussite Czechoslovak Hussite Church in 1920, lost the bulk of its adherents during the Communist era and continues to lose in the modern, ongoing secularization. Protestantism never recovered after the Counter-Reformation was introduced by the Austrian Habsburgs in 1620.

According to the 2011 census, 34.5% of the population stated they had no religion, 10.5% were Catholics, 1% Protestants, 0.9% members of other Christian churches, 6.8% were believers but not members of religions, while 0.7% were believers and members of other certain religions. 44.7% of the population did not answer the question about religion.[3] From 1991 to 2001 and further to 2011 the population's proportion of members of the Catholic Church decreased from 39.0% to 26.8% and then to 10.3%. Protestantism declined from 4% to 1%.[5]

Census results

Religious affiliations in the Czech Republic, census 1991-2011[1][6]
1921 1930 1950 1991 2001 2011
number  % number  % number  % number  % number  % number  %
Catholic Church 8,201,464 82.0 8,378,079 78.5 6,792,046 76.3 4,021,385 39.0 2,740,780 26.8 1,082,463 10.4
Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren 231,199 2.3 290,994 2.7 401,729 4.5 203,996 2.0 117,212 1.1 51,858 0.5
Czechoslovak Hussite Church 523,232 5.2 779,672 7.3 946,813 10.6 178,036 1.7 99,103 1.0 39,229 0.4
Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church 9,221 0.1 24,488 0.2 50,365 0.6 19,354 0.2 22,968 0.2 20,533 0.2
Jehovah's Witnesses - - - - - - 14,575 0.1 23,162 0.2 13,069 0.1
Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession - - 46,777 0.4 57,741 0.6 33,130 0.3 14,020 0.1 8,158 0.1
Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church 9,307 0.1 12,149 0.1 32,862 0.4 7,030 0.1 7,675 0.1 9,883 0.1
German Evangelical Church - - 130,981 1.2 6,401 0.1 - - - - - -
Judaism 125,083 1.3 117,551 1.1 8,038 0.1 1,292 0.01 1,515 0.01 1,474 0.01
Christian churches not exactly stated - - 5,808 0.1 - - 8,790 0.1 4,021 0.04 91,894 0.8
believers identified with another certain religions 168,046 1.7 53,743 0.5 57,287 0.6 36,146 0.4 257,641 2.5 75,190 0.7
believers not identified with a certain religion - - - - - - - - - - 705,368 6.8
no religion 716,515 7.2 834 144 7,8 519,962 5.8 4,112,864 39.9 6,039,991 59.0 3,604,095 34.5
no response, unknown 1,564 0.01 22,889 0.3 1,665,617 16.2 901,981 8.8 4,662,455 44.7
total population 10,005,734 10,674,386 8,896,133 10,302,215 10,230,060 10,436,560

Religions

Christianity

Christianity was the largest religion in the country, with virtually all Czechs being Christians until the 19th century. The Czechs gradually converted to Christianity from Slavic paganism between the 8th and the 10th century. Bo?ivoj I, Duke of Bohemia, baptised by the Saints Cyril and Methodius, was the first ruler of Bohemia to adopt Christianity as the state religion. Christianity has been on the decline since the 20th century and in 2011 only 13.9% of the Czech population declared themselves religious of which were 10.5% Catholics and exactly 1% Protestants.[3] In 1921, 77,5% of the Czech population was Catholic, 7,7% belonged to the Czechoslovak Church that broke off the Catholic Church in 1920, 3,4% belonged to the Czech Brethren, 0,3% was other Protestant, 0,7% was Jewish, 0,1% belonged to some other religious category, and a further 10,3% was irreligious.[7]

Catholic Church

The Cathedral of St. Vitus is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Prague.

The Catholic Church was the main form of Christianity practiced by the Czechs after their forced conversion under the Habsburgs, and throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and was still 96.5% of Czechs in 1910. A decline in the number of Czech Catholics began after World War I and the breakup of Austria-Hungary due to a popular anti-Austrian and anticlerical mass movement.[8] During the Czechoslovak unification under a communist regime, most of the properties of the Church were confiscated by the government, although some were later returned. After the communist regime fell, 39.0% of Czechs were found to be Catholic in 1991, but the faith has continued to rapidly decline since. As of 2011 only 10.5% of the Czechs considered themselves Catholic, which is about the same as in Protestant-majority England.

The rapid trend away from Catholic identification and toward irreligion in the Czech Republic stands in stark contrast to the situation in neighboring Poland or Slovakia.

Protestantism

In the 15th century, the religious and social reformer Jan Hus formed a movement later named after him. Although Hus was named a heretic and burnt in Constance in 1415, his followers seceded from the Catholic Church and in the Hussite Wars (1419-1434) defeated five crusades organized against them by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund. Petr Chel?ický continued with the Czech Hussite Reformation movement. During the next two centuries, most of Czechs were adherents of Hussitism.

After 1526 Bohemia came increasingly under Habsburg control as the Habsburgs became first the elected and then the hereditary rulers of Bohemia. The Defenestration of Prague and subsequent revolt against the Habsburgs in 1618 marked the start of the Thirty Years' War, which quickly spread throughout Central Europe. In 1620, the rebellion in Bohemia was crushed at the Battle of White Mountain, and the ties between Bohemia and the Habsburgs' hereditary lands in Austria were strengthened. The war had a devastating effect on the local population; the people were forced to convert to Catholicism.

Protestantism never recovered. It constitutes a 1% small minority in the country in the 2010s, with only 0.5% of the Czechs adhering to the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, 0.4% to the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, and 0.1% to the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession.[3] The Moravian Church, being historically tied to the region, is present too with a small number of members.

Buddhism

The 2001 census counted 6,817 registered Buddhists in the Czech republic.[5] Most of the Vietnamese ethnic minority, which make up the largest immigrant ethnic group in the country, are adherents of Mahayana Buddhism. The Vietnamese mostly dwell in the cities of Prague and Cheb. Thein An Buddhist Temple in the northern province of Varnsdorf was the first Vietnamese-style temple to be consecrated in the Czech Republic, in January 2008. There are also ten Korean Buddhist temples in the Czech Republic, with three each in Prague and Brno.[9]

Ethnic Czech Buddhists are otherwise mostly followers of Vajrayana Buddhism (Tibetan Buddhism). The Vajrayana practitioners are mainly centered on the Nyingma and Kagyu schools. The Karma Kagyu tradition has established about 50 centers and meditation groups. The Diamond Way tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism, founded and directed by Ole Nydahl is active in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. A large temple of the school is going to be built in the city of Prague.[10]

Paganism

The revived native religion of the Slavs (Rodnovery in English, Rodnoví in Czech) has a presence in the Czech Republic.[11] The largest organisation is the "Community of the Native Faith". There are also Wiccan followers,[12] and one Kemetic group in the country, Per Kemet.

Islam

With its small immigrant population, the Czech Republic has a smaller Muslim community in comparison to other European countries. The 2001 census counted 3,699 Muslims in the country.[5]

Irreligion

Age structure of persons without religion in the Czech Republic in 2011.

The Czech Republic is one of the least religious countries in the world. Vera Haberlová of STEM, for example, writes about 50% representation of atheists in Czech society. In doing so, however, it comes from simple inquiries to the question "Do you believe in God?", which also indicates a very simplistic evaluation, because a high percentage of respondents classified this way that also believe in some other "Higher Power."[13] Summary group of non-believers in God was, According to STEM survey in June 1996 Represented 48.8% of the Czech population and in July 1998 it was 47.6%. In 1994 According to STEM called themselves atheists are 21.5% of persons aged 18 years and 20.3% of those aged 15-17 years, while a further 38.2%, respectively.[13] 40.8% of people said they are not religious.[13]

According to the results of the 2001 census 7% more men were without religion than women. The age group most likely to have no religion (74%) is young people 0-30 years old, the least likely (28%) is people aged 60+ years. When categorized by education, the higher the educational level achieved, the more people were to state they had no religion.

There is an organized group of atheists in the Czech Republic, the Civic Association of Atheists, a member of the international organization of atheists Atheist Alliance International (AAI).

Other surveys

  • The Eurobarometer Poll 2010 found that 16% of Czech citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", 44% responded that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 37% responded that "they don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force". 3% gave no response.[14]
  • Eurobarometer 2012 found that 39% of Czech citizens declared to be agnostics/irreligious.[15] Christianity accounted for 34% of Czech citizens. Catholics were the largest Christian denomination, making up 29% of Czech citizens, while Protestants made up 2%, and other Christians were 3%. Atheists accounted for 20% of the population and people who did not respond for 6%.[15]
  • Pew Research Center found in 2015 that 72% of the population of Czech Republic declared to be irreligious--a category which includes atheists, agnostics and those who describe their religion as "nothing in particular"--, 26% were Christians, while 2% belonged to other faiths.[16] The Christians were divided between a 21% who were Catholic, 4% other Christians and 1% who were Eastern Orthodox.[16] While unaffiliated people were divided between a 25% who were atheists, 1% agnostics and 46% who declare to believe to "nothing in particular". Also, 29% said that they believe in God, 43% had a belief in fate and 44% believed in the existence of the soul.[17]

References

  1. ^ a b "Úvodní stránka - SLDB 2011". czso.cz. Retrieved 2013. 
  2. ^ "Population by religious belief and by municipality size groups" (PDF). Czech Statistical Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2015. Retrieved 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Population by religious belief by regions" (PDF). Czech Statistical Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 2012. 
  4. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, Issue 269, p. 90
  5. ^ a b c "Population by denomination and sex: as measured by 1921, 1930, 1950, 1991 and 2001 censuses" (PDF) (in Czech and English). Czech Statistical Office. Retrieved 2010. 
  6. ^ "Population by religious belief and sex by 1921, 1930, 1950, 1991, 2001 and 2011 censuses 1)" (in Czech and English). Czech Statistical Office. Retrieved . 
  7. ^ Grundriss der Statistik. II. Gesellschaftsstatistik by Wilhelm Winkler, p. 36
  8. ^ Wolfram Kaiser; Helmut Wohnout (2004). Political Catholicism in Europe 1918-1945. Taylor & Francis. pp. 181-2. ISBN 978-0-203-64246-7. 
  9. ^ Korean Buddhist congregations in the Czech Republic, Buddha Dharma Education Association, 2006, retrieved  
  10. ^ S.Parker (12 January 2013). "West Wight Sangha - Biggest Czech Buddhist Centre Being Built in Prague". west-wight-sangha.blogspot.it. Retrieved 2015. 
  11. ^ Kaarina Aitamurto, Scott Simpson. Modern Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Central and Eastern Europe. Part II, 11: Neo-Paganism in the Czech Republic, Anna-Marie Dostalova. 2013. ISBN 1844656624
  12. ^ Ryan Scott. Pagans help ring in the spring - Seasonal 'Beltane' rituals flourish in the Czech Republic. The Prague Post, 2011.
  13. ^ a b c "Problémy empirického zkoumání religiozity v ?eské spole?nosti". Stem.cz. 2003-02-04. Retrieved . 
  14. ^ "Eurobarometer on Biotechnology 2010 - page 381" (PDF). Retrieved 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Discrimination in the EU in 2012" (PDF), Special Eurobarometer, 383, European Union: European Commission, p. 233, 2012, retrieved 2013  The question asked was "Do you consider yourself to be...?" With a card showing: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, and Non-believer/Agnostic. Space was given for Other (SPONTANEOUS) and DK. Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu did not reach the 1% threshold.
  16. ^ a b ANALYSIS (10 May 2017). "Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe" (PDF). Retrieved 2017. 
  17. ^ Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe: 1. Religious affiliation; Pew Research Center, 10 May 2017

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