Hungary - Religions

According to independent surveys in 1996 and 1997, only about 15% of the population are actively practicing within an organized faith. However, according to traditional estimates, approximately 68% of the people are nominally Roman Catholic, 21% are members of the Reformed Church, 4% of the population are Lutheran, and less than 1% are Jewish. The remainder are divided between denominations which include the Congregation of Faith (a Hungarian evangelical Christian movement), five Orthodox Christian denominations, seven Buddhist groups and two Islamic communities.

About one million Jews lived in Hungary before World War II, and an estimated 600,000 were deported in 1944 to concentration camps. According to estimates from the World Jewish Restitution Organization, there are between 70,000 and 110,000 Jews currently residing in Hungary. There are also 9 Buddhist and 7 Orthodox denominations, an Islamic community of about 800 and an additional 800 Muslims in the country's refugee camps. Laws passed in 1990 provide for separation of church and state and safeguard the liberty of conscience of all citizens and the freedom of religious worship. However, the state does grant financial support to religious denominations for religious practice, educational work, and maintenance of public collections. To promote further support of religious institutions, in June 1997 the government signed separate agreements with the country's four largest churches: the Roman Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, and Calvinist churches. The government also provides funds each year for the revitalization of churches based on annual negotiations between the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Finance. According to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, in 1999 the state allocated $12.8 million for the maintenance and reconstruction of listed monuments, churches, and religious public collections.

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