The landlocked Eastern European country of Moldova hosts a population of about 3,474,121 inhabitants. 75.1% of the population of the country are ethnic Moldovans. Romanians, Ukrainians, Gagauzes, Russians, Bulgarians, and others account for 7%, 6.6%, 4.6%, 4.1%, 1.9%, and 0.8% of the country’s population, respectively.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the religion of the vast majority of Moldova. According to the CIA World Factbook, 90.1% of the country’s population adhere to this religion. Followers of other Christian denominations comprise of 2.6% of the population. Adherents of other religions, agnostics, and atheists account for 0.1%, less than 0.1%, and 0.2% of Moldova’s population, respectively. 6.9% of the population did not specify their adherence to any religion.
The Largest Religion In Moldova
Two self-governing church bodies, the Moldovan Orthodox Church and the Bessarabian Orthodox Church are active in the country. The former is under the Russian Orthodox Church and the latter is under the Romanian Orthodox Church. As per a 2011 survey by Gallup, 86% of the Eastern Orthodox Christians in Moldova are affiliated to the former church and 13% are affiliated to the latter.
Other Religions In Moldova
Around 0.5% of Moldova’s population are Catholic Christians. The country forms a single diocese that is named as the Diocese of Chişinău. Other denominations of Christianity or other religions with a minor presence in the country include the Baptists, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Muslims, Hare Krishnas, Lutherans etc. There are about 31,300 Jews living in Moldova with most of the Jews living in Chişinău. Jews arrived in Moldova in large numbers in the 19th century but their numbers gradually waned due to wars, the Holocaust, and waves of emigration.
Religious Freedom In Moldova
Moldova’s Constitution provides for freedom of religion. However, the Law of Religions of the country puts some restrictions on the religious practices of the people. The activities of religious groups that are not registered are subject to several inhibitions. Such unregistered groups cannot employ people or own property. Individuals are, however, allowed to practice their own religion as long as it does not disturb public order.
The Constitution of the country also provides for the separation of the state and the church. However, there have been certain instances when the Moldovan Orthodox Church has participated in political affairs of the state and engaged in political debate.