Poland is widely a religious country and has instituted the right to freedom of religion. The largest religion in Poland is Roman Catholicism, which is followed by other Christian denominations as well as a growing trend of Agnosticism and Atheism. Below is a breakdown of the religious demographics in Poland.
Catholicism - 33,399,327
Roman Catholics make up the majority of Poland's population. The origin of Christianity in Poland can be traced back to as early as 966 AD, under the ruler Mieszko I. Roman Catholic enjoyed prominence along other religions until World War II and the Communism era altered the religious composition of Poland.
The Roman Catholic Church is said to have played a pivotal role in the fall of communism in Poland. The appointment of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla as Pope John Paul II in 1978 further strengthened the Roman Catholic Church in Poland. The Pope is credited with major contributions to the events leading to the eventual toppling of Communism. The religion became synonymous with anti-Communism in 1980’s and amassed a huge following. The Church was granted legal right to govern its hospitals, its university in Lublin and numerous schools in 1989.
Nearly 90% of people in Poland belong to the Catholic Church. There are 41 dioceses in the country today. The religion is studied as an optional subject in school. Although devotion by Roman Catholics in Poland has been decreasing, Poland is one of the countries in Europe with a high rate of religious observance.
Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church (Eastern Orthodox Church)
Orthodox Christians number around 504,150 people in Poland. Orthodoxy was introduced to ancient Poland in the 9th century. Most of the Orthodox communities were in the Ukrainian and Belarusian territories. These territories, before Poland’s independence, were under the Moscow Patriarchate. The Orthodox communities present in independent Poland began their quest to attain autocephaly. The efforts were greatly opposed by the Moscow Patriarchate. Conflicts with the Roman Catholics were evident in the 1930s. These conflicts resulted in a 1938 decree, which gave Orthodox clergy equal legal rights as the clergy of other religions.
The Orthodox Church in Poland has been thriving since it attained autocephaly. There are seven dioceses and 11 monasteries across Poland. The religion plays an active role in most Churches’ associations.