Religious Beliefs In San Marino

The roof of a church in San Marino.
The roof of a church in San Marino.

San Marino is a microstate located within Italy. Only the Vatican and Monaco are smaller. With an area of only 23.6 square miles, the country also has an equally small population of only 31,500 (as of 2009). Most of this population is made up of Sammarinese (84.95% of the population), Italians (14.6%), and other ethnicities. Although correct religious data is not readily available, estimates are available. It is likely that around 97% of the population is Roman Catholic. 

Religious Beliefs

Just like Italy, San Marino is a nation that is predominantly Catholic. Data shows that 97% of the small population is Catholic although Catholicism as a religion has not been established due to the absence of an Episcopal See. In addition, despite its dominance, the state constitution does not acknowledge Catholicism as the national religion. Interestingly, the dominant portion of the population, the Sammarinese, have always been against the control of the Vatican. However, they still practice Catholicism and accept the authority of the pope on matters to do with religion. The parishes in the country have always been divided between the Italian dioceses of Montefeltro and Rimini. Today, at least twelve parishes exist as well as a number of Catholic groups like the Society of Our Lady of Consolation, the Institute of Our Religious Teachers, and others. Convents and monasteries also exist such as the Monastery Santa Chiara, Convent of the Friars Minor Capuchin, and others.

Due to the dominance of Catholicism since historic times, it is not a surprise that there are historic religious buildings as well. An example of such a place of worship is the Basilica di San Marino, which is the main church in the capital city, which shares a name with the country. Situated on the Piazza Domus Plebis, the church has been mentioned in documents going as far back as July 1113. However, over the years, it has seen some renovation work to improve its condition.

Another iconic church is the Chiesa di San Pietro, which is situated at San Marino’s Basilica. The small church goes as far back as 600. Inside, it has an alter inlaid with marble, a statue of St. Peter, and a crypt. Inside the crypt are recesses that served as beds for San Leo and San Marino as well as a monument in honor of Pope John XXIII. Other churches include Church di San Francesco, Church di San Paolo apostolo, Church di Sant'Andrea, and others.

Other Religions

Aside from Catholicism, Jews have been present in San Marino for more than 600 years. Documents mentioning a Jewish presence date as far as the 14th century. The government, despite offering them protection, required that they follow some rules and put on special badges. Today, however, the number has diminished greatly. In addition to Judaism, there is a minority population of Protestants who are mostly part of the Waldensian Church of Piedmont.


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