Belarus
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Orthodox

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Orthodox (50.3%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Belarus Eastern Europe World
Christian (all denominations combined) 58.1% 62.7% 29.9%
 
  • Orthodox
  • 50.3% 42.8% 3%
     
  • Catholic
  • 5.9% 16.3% 15%
     
  • Pentecostal
  • 0.8% 1.3% 2.8%
     
  • Protestant
  • 0.7% 1.7% 5.6%
     
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 0.4% 0.6% 2.3%
    Muslim (all denominations combined) 0.3% 5.5% 22.8%
     
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 0.2% 5% 19%
     
  • Other and Unknown Muslim
  • < 0.1% 0.1% 0.3%
    Other Religionist 0.1% 0.1% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 40.3% 9.7% 12%
    Unknown 1.3% 21% 4.8%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 80,154 square miles and a population of 9.7 million. Historically it has been an area of both interaction and conflict between Belarusian Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, although relations between the two groups improved during the period covered by this report. For instance, in June 2008 Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone met with the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Filaret and praised the churches' improved relations and increased cooperation.

    January 2007 figures from the Office of the Plenipotentiary Representative for Religious and Nationality Affairs (OPRRNA) showed that approximately 50 percent of citizens consider themselves religious, of whom an estimated 80 percent belong to the Belarusian Orthodox Church (BOC), 14 percent to the Catholic Church, 4 percent to eastern religious groups (including Muslims, Hare Krishnas, and Baha'is), and 2 percent to Protestant groups (including Seventh-day Adventists, Old Believers, Jehovah's Witnesses, Apostolic Christians, and Lutherans). Of those who identify as Belarusian Orthodox or Roman Catholic, only 18 and 50 percent, respectively, regularly attend church services. There are also adherents of the Greek Catholic Church and of Orthodox groups other than the BOC. Jewish groups stated that between 50,000 and 70,000 persons identify themselves as Jewish. Most Jews were not religiously active.

    In January 2007 OPRRNA reported 3,103 religious organizations of 25 religious confessions and denominations in the country, including 2,953 registered religious communities and 150 national and confessional organizations (monasteries, brotherhoods, and missionary sites). This included 1,399 Belarusian Orthodox, 493 Evangelical Christian, 440 Roman Catholic, 267 Evangelical Christian Baptist, 74 Seventh-day Adventist, 54 Full Gospel Christians, 33 Old Believer, 29 Jewish, 27 Lutheran, 26 Jehovah's Witnesses, 24 Muslim, 21 New Apostolic Church, 17 Progressive Judaism, 13 Greek Catholic, 9 Apostolic Christians, 6 Hare Krishnas, 5 Baha'i, 5 Christ's Church, 4 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), 2 Messianic, 1 Reform Church, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Armenian Apostolic, 1 Latin Catholic, and 1 St. Jogan Church communities.


    Sources

    1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

    2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports the estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. The RCS was created to fulfill the unmet need for a dataset on the religious dimensions of countries of the world, with the state-year as the unit of observation. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivision within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

    3.  The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. These State Department reports are open source.

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