Religious denominations in Poland

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Most Poles, by far, adhere to the Christian faith, with 89.8% belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.[1] Catholicism plays an important role in the lives of many Poles and the Roman Catholic Church in Poland enjoys immense social prestige and political influence. [2] The church is widely respected by both its members and non-members, who see it as a symbol of Polish heritage and culture.[3] The rest of the population consists mainly of Eastern Orthodox (about 506 000), Jehovah's Witnesses (about 220 000) and various Protestant (about 159 000, with about 76 000 in the largest Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Poland) religious minorities.[4]

According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005:[5]

  • 80% of Polish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God" (which was the fifth highest result in the Europe).
  • 15% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force".
  • 3% answered that "don't know".
  • 2% answered that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force".

According to the most recent CBOS opinion poll published in the fall of 2008:[6]

  • 94% of Poles claim "they believe in God",
  • 6% claim they "do not believe in God or do not know",
  • 52% of believers claim "they attend to mass, religious meetings etc. at least once a week",
  • while 17% do so "once or twice a month",
  • 18% do so "a few times a year",
  • and 13% "never do so".

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Poland was famous for its unique religious tolerance (see Statute of Kalisz (1264) and Warsaw Confederation (1573)).

However in the 15th and 18th century, pressure from the Catholic Church caused tensions to rise between Catholics and Protestants after the Edict of Wieluń and later the Tumult of Torun contributing to the Age of Enlightenment.


The Polish Constitution and religion

According to Poland's Constitution freedom of religion is ensured to everyone. It also allows for national and ethnic minorities to have the right to establish educational and cultural institutions, institutions designed to protect religious identity, as well as to participate in the resolution of matters connected with their cultural identity.

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