The majority of residents of Central and Eastern Europe are Orthodox Christians, their numbers increasing while those of Catholics have been decreasing, according to new findings of the Pew Research Center. Overall, about 57% consider themselves Orthodox, including residents of ten countries with an Orthodox majority, including Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Belarus, Bulgaria, Serbia, Georgia, and Moldova.
The survey was conducted in 18 countries between June 2015 and July 2016, involving more than 25,000 people.
The Orthodox also constitute a significant minority in Bosnia (35%), Latvia (31%), and Estonia (25%). The Catholic population makes up 18% in Central and Eastern Europe, constituting the majority in Poland, Croatia, Lithuania, and Hungary.
The largest countries in the region have seen a sharp increase in the share of Orthodox and sharp decrease in the share of Catholics. Since the collapse of the USSR, the number of Russians identifying as Orthodox has risen from 37% in 1991 to 71% today. Meanwhile, in Poland the percentage of Catholics has fallen from 96% to 87%, in Hungary from 63% to 56%, and in the Czech Republic from 44% to 21%. Additionally, the percentage of Orthodox has risen from 59% to 75% in Bulgaria, and from 39% to 78% in Ukraine.
However, Catholics in Central and Eastern Europe are more likely to attend church than the Orthodox. The Catholic median is 25%, while the Orthodox median sits at a low 10%. Moreover, only 17% of respondents from Russia and 27% from Serbia said that daily prayer was the norm for them. The largest percentage of those praying at least once a day comes from Moldova (48%).
14% of the population is atheist or unaffiliated, including 72% in the Czech Republic and 45% in Estonia.
As compared with Catholics, the Orthodox population hold more conservative views on several social issues. In Russia, 85% of respondents consider homosexuality “morally unacceptable,” and 79% believe that society should not accept it.
It would be great if we could get the Orthodox back into the liturgical life of the Church, but, I guess this is a start
Dr. James I Hicks says
Orthodoxy is on the increase when people compare the Orthodox faith against the RC faith, they can see Orthodoxy is the Truth according to God’s Holy word! Too much of RC is a man made faith by different popes.
Fr. John says
It’s not a problem here.
Hey Fr. John, are you in the U.S?
Fr. John says
Yes, if you read the About JTO page, you can find out all kind of crazy things! 😉
Ahh I see, I should have checked that out! As a priest, what have you noticed regarding the growth of Orthodoxy in America? What are some trends that you have seen? I’m just curious bc I was interested in mission work as a Catholic and no more-so as an Orthodox
Fr. John says
My opinion is that there is no better time to be doing Orthodox mission work, especially here in America, but that many senior clergy don’t quite know what to do about converts or how to initiate converts into the mysteries via spiritual formation (rather than just taking classes and showing up for liturgy). I’m working my tail off to change that, but I need help as I am too busy with inquiries and requests. Donate if you can.
Robert Alexander says
Novus Ordo modernist spirituality has strangled Roman Catholicism across the globe. I’m not surprised to see these declines, even in Eastern Europe.
Hello, I am currently still officially one of the 72% from the Czech Republic 🙂 But as the world keeps stooping to degeneracy and moral decay, people in the west accepting Islam as a normal part of their lives, women having less and less children, well, I am more and more considering converting to Christianity. And as I read more about it all, it seems that you guys are the ones who are right the whole time. 🙂 The story of Christ is fascinating and I will soon enjoy being part of it all 🙂
Fr. John says
Find a good Orthodox church nearby, Adam, and reach out to the local clergy. They will help you make the journey!