Religion in Hungary

Are you going on holiday to Hungary? Perhaps you’d like some background information on the main religions found in Hungary. Our guide to religion in Hungary gives you the facts & information you’ll want to know.

Being centrally located in the middle of Europe and having experienced the rule of everyone from the Austrian Hapsburgs to the Ottomans from Turkey, Hungary is a country with a diverse heritage of religions. However, Hungary is also a very secular country and Hungarians are rarely known to be people who lean strongly towards any type of religion. In fact it is believed that almost one third of people in Hungary do not follow any religion or believe in God. Of those Hungarians who do profess to belong to a religion, only a minority are regular church goers or practitioners of their religion.  Below we’ve mentioned the main religions that are represented in Hungary.

Catholicism in Hungary

The majority of the population of Hungary is the Roman Catholic religion which accounts for about half of the total population of Hungary. The Catholic religion first became established in Hungary under the reign of King Stephen who was himself crowned as a holy king by the Pope at that time. Ever since the 10th century rule of King Stephen, Hungary has been a predominantly Roman Catholic country, although there was a rise of various Protestant religious confessions during the centuries following the renaissance. However, the Counter Reformation instigated by the Hapsburgs saw to it that Catholicism was reinstated as the primal religion in Hungary during the 17th century.  There is also a Greek Catholic community in Hungary, although followers of this interpretation of the Christian religion account for no more than about 3% of the population.

Protestantism in Hungary

Followers of the Protestant religion in Hungary account for just over 20% of the population. Protestantism was first brought to Hungary during the reformation period in the 15th and 16th centuries, although these gains were largely diminished in the 17th century due to a Hapsburg crackdown in the 17th century. The largest group of Protestants in Hungary are the Calvinists who account for about 16% of the population while Lutherans make up about 3-4%.

Judaism in Hungary

Hungary has a long history of the Jewish religion within its borders that spans back centuries, and has seen something of a rebirth in past decade or so. The Jewish community in Budapest was largely decimated by the Nazis in WWII which is reflected in the fact that before 1939 it is estimated that there were about 400,000 followers of the Jewish religion in Hungary whereas today that number is closer to only 80,000.

Islam in Hungary

There is a small but very interesting presence of Hungarians who follow the religion of Islam, which dates back to Ottoman Turk rule. During that time several thousands of Hungarians converted to Islam and although the community has all but disappeared from public display, there are nevertheless believed to be several thousand natives of Hungary who are Muslims.

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