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Main article: "Bahá'í Faith in Europe

The first newspaper reference to the religious movement began with coverage of the "Báb, whom Bahá'ís consider the founder of a precursor religion, occurred in "The Times on 1 November 1845, only a little over a year after the Báb first started his mission.[16] British, Russian, and other diplomats, businessmen, scholars, and world travelers also took note of the precursor "Bábí religion[17] most notably in 1865 by Frenchman "Arthur de Gobineau who wrote the first and most influential account. In April 1890 "Edward G. Browne of "Cambridge University met "Bahá'u'lláh and left the only detailed description by a Westerner.[18]

Starting in the 1890s Europeans began to convert to the religion. In 1910 Bahá'u'lláh's son and appointed successor, "'Abdu'l-Bahá embarked on a "three-year journey to including Europe and North America[19] and then wrote a series of letters that were compiled together in the book titled "Tablets of the Divine Plan which included mention of the need to spread the religion in Europe following the war.[20]

A 1925 list of "leading local Bahá'í Centres" of Europe listed organized communities of many countries - the largest being in Germany.[21] However the religion was soon banned in a couple countries: in 1937 "Heinrich Himmler disbanded the Bahá'í Faith's institutions in Germany because of its 'international and pacifist tendencies'[22] and in Russia in 1938 "monstrous accusations" against Bahá'ís and a "Soviet government policy of oppression of religion resulted in Bahá'í communities in 38 cities across Soviet territories ceasing to exist.[23] However the religion recovered in both countries. The religion has generally spread such that in recent years the "Association of Religion Data Archives estimated the Bahá'ís in European countries to number in hundreds to tens of thousands.[24]


Christianity in Europe
"Christianity in Europe by percentage (2010).[25]
View of "St. Peter's Basilica in "Rome, the largest European Roman Catholic Church
"Cathedral of Saint Sava in "Serbia is the largest Orthodox church in the world
The "Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in "Sofia is one of the largest Orthodox cathedrals
The "St John's Church, Bergen is a Lutheran church in "Norway
"Calvinist "Temple Saint-Étienne (Protestant St. Stephen's Church) in "France

The majority of Europeans describe themselves as "Christians, divided into a large number of denominations.[2] "Christian denominations are usually classed in three categories: "Catholicism, "Orthodoxy and "Protestantism (a diverse group including "Lutheranism, "Calvinism and "Anglicanism as well as numerous minor denominations, including "Baptists, "Methodism, "Evangelicalism, "Pentecostalism, etc.).

"Christianity, more specifically the "Catholic Church, which played an important part in the shaping of "Western civilization since at least the 4th century.[26][27]

"European culture, throughout most of its recent history, has been heavily influenced by Christian belief and has been nearly equivalent to "Christian culture.[28] The "Christian culture was one of the more dominant forces to influence "western civilization, concerning the course of "philosophy, "art, "music, "science, "social structure and "architecture.[28][29] The Civilizing influence of Christianity includes "social welfare,[30] founding "hospitals,[31] "economics (as the "Protestant work ethic),[32][33] "politics[34] "architecture,[35] "literature[36] and "family life.[37]

"Christianity is still the largest religion in "Europe.[38] According to a 2010 study by the "Pew Research Center, 76.2% of the "European population identified themselves as "Christians.[39] According to a 2012 survey about Religiosity in the European Union in 2012 by "Eurobarometer, "Christianity was the largest religion in the "European Union (account 72% of "EU population), "Catholics were the largest "Christian group in "EU, and accounted for 48% of the EU population, while "Protestants made up 12%, "Eastern Orthodox made up 8%, and other Christians 4%.[40]

Christian Denominations[edit]

There are numerous minor Protestant movements, including various "Evangelical congregations.


Islam in Europe
"Birmingham Central Mosque, the first mosque in the "United Kingdom to use loudspeakers to broadcast the "adhan.[42]

"Islam came to parts of European islands and coasts on the "Mediterranean during the 8th-century "Muslim conquests. In the "Iberian Peninsula and parts of southern "France, various Muslim states existed before the "Reconquista; "Islam spread in southern Italy briefly through the "Emirate of Sicily and "Emirate of Bari. During the "Ottoman expansion, Islam was spread from into the "Balkans and even part of "central Europe. Muslims have also been historically present in "Ukraine ("Crimea and vicinity, with the "Crimean Tatars), as well as modern-day "Russia, beginning with "Volga Bulgaria in the 10th century and the conversion of the "Golden Horde to Islam. In recent years, Muslims have "migrated to Europe as residents and temporary workers.

According to the "Pew Forum, the total number of "Muslims in "Europe in 2010 was about 44 million (6%).[43] While the total number of Muslims in the "European Union in 2007 was about 16 million (3.2%).[44]

Muslims make up 99% of the population in "Northern Cyprus,[45][46] 96% in "Kosovo,[47] 56% in "Albania,[48][49] 51% in "Bosnia and Herzegovina,[50] 39.3% in "Macedonia,[51][52] 20% in "Montenegro,[53] between 10 and 15% in "Russia,[54] 7 -9% "in France,[55][56][57] 8% in "Bulgaria,[58] 6% in the "Netherlands, 5% in "Denmark, just over 4% in "Switzerland and "Austria, between 3 and 4% in "Greece and almost 5% in the "United Kingdom and "Germany.[59][60][61]


History of the Jews in Europe, "Jews and Judaism in Europe, and "Jews by country

The Jews were "dispersed within the Roman Empire from the 2nd century. At one time "Judaism was practiced widely throughout the European continent; "throughout the Middle Ages, Jews were "accused of ritual murder and faced "pogroms and legal discrimination. "The Holocaust perpetrated by "Nazi Germany decimated "Jewish population, and today, "France is home to the largest Jewish community in Europe with 1% of the total population (between 483,000 and 500,000 Jews).[62][63] Other European countries with notable Jewish populations include the "United Kingdom (291,000 Jews),[63] "Germany (119,000), and "Russia (194,000) which is home to Eastern Europe's largest Jewish community.[63]



During the Enlightenment, Deism became influential especially in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Biblical concepts were challenged by concepts such as a heliocentric universe and other scientific challenges to the Bible.[64] Notable early deists include "Voltaire and "Kant .[65]


Secularism, "Irreligion, and "Postchristianity

The trend towards secularism during the 20th century has a number of reasons, depending on the individual country:

  • "France has been traditionally "laicist since the French Revolution. Today the country is 25%[66] to 32%[67] is "Irreligion. The remaining population is made up evenly of both Christians and people who believe in a god or some form of spiritual life force, but aren't involved in organized religion.[68] French society is still secular overall.
  • Some parts of Eastern Europe were secularized as a matter of state doctrine under "communist rule in the countries of the former "Eastern Bloc. "Albania was an officially (and constitutionally binding) atheist state from 1967 to 1991.[69] The countries where the most people reported no religious belief were France (33%), the Czech Republic (30%), Belgium (27%), the Netherlands (27%), Estonia (26%), Germany (25%), Sweden (23%) and Luxembourg (22%).[70] The region of "Eastern Germany, which was also under communist rule, is believed to be the least religious region in Europe.[71][72] Other post-communist countries, however, have seen the opposite effect, with religion being very important in countries such as Romania, Lithuania and Poland.
  • The traditionally "Protestant countries have seen a general decrease in church attendance since the 1970s. This concerns Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia.[73]

The trend towards secularism has been less pronounced in the traditionally "Catholic countries of Mediterranean Europe. "Greece as the only traditionally Eastern Orthodox country in Europe which has not been part of the communist "Eastern Bloc also retains a very high religiosity, with in excess of 95% of Greeks adhering to the "Greek Orthodox Church.

According to a "Pew Research Center Survey in 2012 the "religiously unaffiliated ("atheists and "agnostics) make up about 18.2% of the "European population.[74] According to the same Survey the religiously unaffiliated make up the majority of the population in only two "European countries: the "Czech Republic (76%) and "Estonia (60%).[74]

Atheism and Agnosticism[edit]

Atheism and "Agnosticism

During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, "atheism or "agnosticism has increased, with falling church attendance and membership in various European countries.[75] The 2010 eurobarometer poll found that on total average, of the "EU27 population, 51% "believe in a God", 26% believe in "some sort of spirit or life force" and 20% had neither of these forms of belief.[1] Across the EU, belief was higher among women, increased with age, those with strict upbringing, those with the lowest levels of formal education and those leaning towards "right-wing politics.[70]:10–11 Results were varied widely between different countries.[1]

According to a poll measuring religious identification in the "European Union in 2012 by "Eurobarometer, 7% of EU citizens identify as "atheists.[15] As of 2012, the top eight European countries with people who viewed themselves as "atheists" were the Czech Republic (20%), "France (16%), "Slovenia (16%), "Estonia (15%), "Sweden (13%), "Spain (10%), "Germany (9%) and "Denmark (9%).[15]

European indigenous religions[edit]

Esetrother community of the "Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagið (Icelandic Esetroth Fellowship) preparing for a Þingblót at "Þingvellir.
An Odinist-rite wedding in Spain, in 2010, at the Temple of Gaut in "Albacete.
Neopaganism in German-speaking Europe, "Ireland, "Latin Europe, "the United Kingdom, and "Slavic neopaganism


The religious development of "Druidry was largely influenced by "Iolo Morganwg.[76] Modern practises aim to imitate the practises of the Celtic peoples of the Iron Age.[77]

Germanic indigenous religion[edit]

Germanic neopaganism Heathenry in the United Kingdom, "Neopaganism in Scandinavia, "Neopaganism in Germany and Austria, and "Neopaganism in Latin Europe

Heathenism or Esetroth (Icelandic: Ásatrú), and the organised form "Odinism, are names for the modern "folk religion of the Germanic nations.

In the "United Kingdom Census 2001, 300 people registered as Heathen in "England and Wales.[78] However, many Heathens followed the advice of the "Pagan Federation (PF) and simply described themselves as "Pagan", while other Heathens did not specify their religious beliefs.[78] In the "2011 census, 1,958 people self-identified as Heathen in England and Wales. A further 251 described themselves as Reconstructionist and may include some people reconstructing Germanic paganism.[79]

"Ásatrúarfélagið (Esetroth Fellowship) was recognized as an official religion by the "Icelandic government in 1973. For its first 20 years it was led by farmer and poet "Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson. By 2003, it had 777 members,[80] and by 2014, it had 2,382 members, corresponding to 0.8% of Iceland's population.[81] In Iceland, Germanic religion has an impact larger than the number of its adherents.[82]

In Sweden, the "Swedish Forn Sed Assembly (Forn Sed, or the archaic Forn Siðr, means "Old Custom") was formed in 1994 and is since 2007 recognized as a religious organization by the Swedish government. In Denmark Forn Siðr was formed in 1999, and was officially recognized in 2003[83] The Norwegian Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost (Esetroth Fellowship Bifrost) was formed in 1996; as of 2011, the fellowship has some 300 members. Foreningen Forn Sed was formed in 1999, and has been recognized by the Norwegian government as a religious organization. In Spain there is the "Odinist Community of Spain — Ásatrú.

Official religions[edit]

A number of countries in Europe have "official religions, including "Liechtenstein,[84] "Malta,[85] "Monaco,[86] the "Vatican City (Catholic);[87] "Armenia (Apostolic Orthodoxy) ; "Denmark,[88] "Iceland[89][90] and the "United Kingdom (England alone) (Anglican).[91] In "Switzerland, some "cantons are officially Catholic, others Reformed Protestant. Some Swiss villages even have their religion as well as the village name written on the signs at their entrances.

"Georgia has no established church, but the "Georgian Orthodox Church enjoys de facto "privileged status. Much the same applies in Germany with the Evangelical Church and the Roman Catholic Church, and the Jewish community. In "Finland, both the "Finnish Orthodox Church and the "Lutheran Church are official. England, a part of the "United Kingdom, has "Anglicanism as its official religion. "Scotland, another part of the UK, has "Presbyterianism as its "national church, but it is no longer "official". In "Sweden, the national church used to be "Lutheranism, but it is no longer "official" since 2000. "Azerbaijan, the "Czech Republic,[92] "Germany, "France, "Ireland, "Portugal, "Romania, "Russia, "Spain and "Turkey are officially secular.

Indian religions[edit]

Jain temple in "Antwerp, "Belgium


Buddhism in Europe

Buddhism is thinly spread throughout Europe, and the fastest growing religion in recent years[93][94] with about 3 million adherents.[95][96] In "Kalmykia, "Tibetan Buddhism is prevalent.[97]


"Mandir in "Gibraltar.

"Hinduism mainly among "Indian immigrants. Growing rapidly in recent years, notably in the "United Kingdom, "France, and the "Netherlands.[98][99] In 1998, there were an estimated 1.4 million Hindu adherents in Europe.[100]


"Jainism, small membership rolls, mainly among Indian immigrants in "Belgium and the "United Kingdom, as well as several converts from western and northern Europe.[101][102]


"Sikhism has nearly 1 million adherents in Europe. Most of the community live in "United Kingdom (750,000) and "Italy (70,000).[103][104] Around 10,000 in "Belgium and "France.[105] The "Netherlands and "Germany have a "Sikh population of 12,000.[106][107] All other countries have 5,000 or fewer Sikhs such as "Greece.

Other religions[edit]

Other religions represented in Europe include:

See also[edit]


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