Facts about Slovakia

Central Europe

Bratislava

Parliamentary republic

Slovak

Euro

5,447,502

49,035 sq km

CET / GMT+1.00

+421


Religion in Slovakia

Slovakia is generally a religious country of Christian religion. The latest research results show that 84% of inhabitants are religious and Christians attend Masse and practice their religion in everyday life. There are catholic schools in Slovakia including primary schools, secondary schools and universities and Religion for religious children is a compulsory subject in primary schools. For the non-religious children their parents can choose Ethics as an alternative subject. Slovakia values freedom of religion. 

There is a Latin Catholic, Protestant or Greek Catholic church in every city and village in Slovakia. The state television offers regular religious broadcasting. Catholic Church has catholic newspapers and magazines, publishing, radio Lumen and television Noe.

Christianity has a long tradition in Slovakia and the beginning of Christianity dates back to first century A.D. and at present most people claim to be religious. There are 18 registered religions in Slovakia and the major religions include Latin Catholic Church (68.9%), Greek Catholic Church (4,1%) and Evangelical Augsburg Church (6,9%).    

Beginning of Christianity in Slovakia

In the second century A.D. based on an important even that happened in Slovakia a column for Marcus Aurelius in Rome was built. This Roman emperor led a campaign against Germans. The soldiers were thirsty and prayed to God. The enemies were surprised on this act. In a few moments it started raining and the enemies were driven away.  This event did not bring Christianity in this region, but it shows that the Romans living in the areas of today Slovakia were Christians.  Christian life in 4th century was One of the oldest Christian places is a village called Iža closed to Komárno and Christian life was discovered by archaeological sites in many places of southern Slovakia.  In the 6th century the Romans vanished from these areas. After the end of Avar Empire there were good conditions for missionary work and some missionaries came to nowadays Slovakia most probably towards the end of 8th century.

Middle Ages, Turn in the 9th Century

in Middle Ages Slovakia region was a part Great Moravia Empire. In 828 AD during the reign of prince Pribina the first Christian church was consecrated in Nitra. In the times of Great Moravia Prince Rastislav wanted to set up the first bishopric and thus asked Byzantine Emperor Michael III. to send missionaries to help him with this idea. In 863 the emperor sent two missionaries Constantine and Methodius to spread Christian religion in Great Moravia. After entering the monastery Constantine accepted a new name Cyril and thus these missionaries are now known as Saint Cyril and Methodius. Saint Cyril and Methodius did not only spread Christian religion. They created first  alphabet called hlaholika, translated religious books including Holy Bible into old Slavonic language, used the traditional Byzantine rites. However, Latin rites were used in majority. Pope Hadrian II. appointed Methodius as the first bishop of Great Moravia for all Slavs. After the death of St Cyril and Methodius their followers, the Benedictine monks continued the work and developed written culture in Great Moravia.     

Throughout the following centuries, many monasteries were established in Slovakia. These monasteries also served as cultural centres. Most important monasteries were in Nitra, located on the Mount Zobor and in Hronsky Benadik (year 1075). St Svorad-Andrew and Benedict as the first canonised people in Slovak history lived in Nitra Monastery. They were canonised in 1083 in the times of Hungarian Monarchy. In 12th – 14th centuries of Slovakia history parish schools and chapter schools such as parish school in Nitra in 1111 were open. In 1054 Pope Leo IX and Michael Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinopole agreed on each other’s excommunication and Christianity in Slovakia was divided into Latin and  Greek branches which later became Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church.    

From the Protestant Reformation until Present

The protestant reformation began in 1517 in Germany. First reformation units appeared in Slovakia in 1521. The reformation is brought to Slovakia by students studying in Germany mostly to mining cities such as Banská Štiavnica, Kremnica, etc. 50 years after the reformation there were 900 reformation bodies in Slovakia. Soon afterwards a strong counter-reformation began.  The counter-reformation brought killing the Protestants and taking over their possessions. The most cruel pursue of Protestants was during the so called Bratislava courts in 1971, 1673 and 1674 when even protestant priests and aristocrats were being executed.  To build a protestant church in Slovakia, a lot of requirements needed to be fulfilled. In 1781 Edict of Tolerance declared by Joseph II guaranteed religious tolerance. The most protestant churches were built during this period. 

17th century was marked with political and religious wars in Slovakia and many priests and members of monasteries died. In 1776, during the reign of Maria Theresa, three bishoprics were established. In 18th Century there were a lot of priests who became writers, educators and contributed to the establishment and declaration of the official Slovak language. Canon priest Juraj Palkovič translated Bible into Slovak language. Other important personalities in Slovak history include Alexander Rudnay, Ján Hollý and Martin Hamuljak. The first attempt for codification of Slovak literary language was done by protestant priest Anton Bernolak. Slovak literal language was developed by Ludovít Štúr, the professor at the Lutheran Lyceum in Bratislava and protestant priests Hurban and Hodža.  In 1870, St. Adalbert Association was founded. It is a religious publishing operational until the present.  

After 1945 The Catholic Church and Lutheran Church lost control over their schools in Slovakia. The schools were taken by Slovak Government and in 1948 communist activists started movements against Church in Slovakia. All possessions belonging to the Slovakia Church were taken by the Slovak Government, the religious press was eliminated and activities of Slovak bishops were restricted. In 1950s the Church in Slovakia was under full control of the Slovak Government. Many seminaries and monasteries were cancelled. A lot of priests and monks were persecuted. Many were imprisoned and restrained from exercising their ministry. Christians working in government positions and members of communist party were forbidden from practicing Christian religion. Many church periodicals ceased to be published Pope Pius XII. excommunicated communist party representatives. In 1989, after the fall of communism a relationship between the Church and Government in Slovakia improved and the churches gradually resumed its previous activities New bishops were appointed and in 1990 Pope John Paul II came to Slovakia on his first visit.

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