Religion in Hungary

Religion in Hungary (2011 census)[1]

  Roman Catholicism (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] 39% of Hungarians were Catholics, 11.6% were Calvinists, 2.2% were Lutherans, around 2% followed other religions, 16.7% were non-religious of which 1.5% were atheists. Other religions practiced in Hungary include Sunni Islam and Judaism.[2]

According to new polls about Religiosity in the European Union in 2012 by Eurobarometer found that Christianity is the largest religion in Hungary accounting 71% of Hungarians.[3] Catholics are the largest Christian group in Hungary, accounting for 58% of Hungary citizens,[3] while Protestants make up 7%, and Other Christian make up 6%. Non believer/Agnostic account 21%, Atheist account's 1%.[3]

In the Eurostat–Eurobarometer poll of 2005, 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, nor life force.[4]


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, 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 counterreformation among the Hungarians. The Jesuits founded educational institutions, including Péter Pázmány Catholic University, the oldest university that still exists in Hungary, but organized so-called missions too 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 ("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 and 27 presbyteries and 1,550 ministers. The Reformed church supports 129 educational institutions and has 4 theological seminaries 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 short-time widespread, the introduction of the Reformed church and the counterreformation made it almost non-existent amongst Hungarians up to the late 17th century. Later it was re-introduced by internal immigration of Saxons and Slovaks. Today, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Hungary counts around 215 000 members, which makes up roughly the 2,2% of the population. Despite its relatively small number of adherents, the Evangelical church always had a strong power and influence into internal politics after Hungary's independence from the strongly Catholic Habsburg Empire.

Orthodox Christianity in Hungary has been the religion mainly of some 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.[6]


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.[7] Some Hungarian Jews were able to escape the Holocaust during World War II, but most (perhaps 550,000)[8] 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.[9]


Mosque in Siklós.
Main article: Islam in Hungary

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, while 2,369 as Arab by ethnicity.[2] 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),[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] They are primarily represented by the Jai Bhim Network,[13] with ties to the Triratna Buddhist Community.


A rise of Neopagan (Újpogányság) movements has occurred in Hungary over the last decades.[14][15] 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),[16] 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.[14]

Some Hungarians espouse Turanist ideas, and therefore other Táltos are affiliated with Tengrism. The Tengri Community (Tengri Közösség)[17] 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[18] (Kelta-Wicca Hagyományőrzők Egyháza) is a Celtic Wiccan church in Hungary.

Census statistics

Red=Roman Catholic, Blue=Reformed, Green=Lutheranism, Orange=Greek Catholic, Brown=other.
Religion 2001[19][1] 2011[1]
Number % Number %
Roman Catholicism5,289,52151.93,691,34837.1
Greek Catholicism268,9352.6179,1761.8
Orthodox Christianity14,5200.113,7100.1
Other religion96,7600.9167,2311.7
No religion1,483,36914.51,659,02316.7
Religion not stated1,104,33310.82,699,02527.2
Total population10,198,315100.09,937,628100.0


  1. 1 2 3 4 2011 Hungary Census Report, p. 23
  2. 1 2 " Population by religion, denomination and main demographic characteristics, 2011" (XLS). Hungarian Central Statistical Office. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 "Discrimination in the EU in 2012" (PDF), Special Eurobarometer, 383, European Union: European Commission, p. 233, 2012, retrieved 14 August 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.
  4. "Social values, Science and Technology" (PDF). Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  5. "Facts and Statistics: General information of the Reformed Church in Hungary in figures". 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  6. "Facts and Statistics". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  7. Volume 3, p.979, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1982
  8. Braham, Randolph L. A Magyarországi Holokauszt Földrajzi Enciklopediája [The Geographic Encyclopedia of the Holocaust in Hungary]. Budapest:Park Publishing, 3 vol. (2006). Vol 1, p. 91.
  9. "Budapest Dohany street Great Synagogue – the largest synagogue in Europe". Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  10. "Magyarországi Buddhista Egyházközösség" [Hungarian Buddhist Church]. (in Hungarian). Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  11. "A Tan Kapuja Buddhista Egyház" [Gate of Dharma Buddhist Church]. (in Hungarian). Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  12. 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.
  13. "Jai Bhim Network, Hungary". 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  14. 1 2 Ádám Koloszi. Social Constructions of the Native Faith: Mytho-historical Narratives and Identity-discourse in Hungarian Neo-paganism. Central European University, 2012.
  15. László-Attila Hubbes; Rozália Klára Bakó (2011). "Romanian and Hungarian Ethno-Pagan Organizations on the Net" (PDF). Hungarian University of Transylvania. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  16. "Árpád Rendjének Jogalapja Tradicionális Egyház" [Traditional Church of the Order of Arpad]. (in Hungarian). Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  17. "Tengri Community". Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  18. "A Wicca Magyarországon" [The Wicca in Hungary]. (in Hungarian). Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  19. "1.26 Population by religion and sex, 1930–1949, 2001". Hungarian Central Statistical Office. Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
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