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Religious pluralism

After the Turkish wars (at the end of the 17th century) ethnic Hungarians became a minority in the Kingdom of Hungary. While Serbs in the south remained Orthodox, large numbers of Romanians in Transylvania and Ruthenians in the Carpathians entered the Union with the Catholic Church, enhanced by the Hapsburgs. The Jewish population had risen to over 5% by the end of the 19th century. The liberal era of the late 19th century enhanced the rapid assimilation of Hungarian Jewry. This era produced law n° XLIII in 1895, which proclaimed religious freedom for all, restricting, however, the right of public worship to the communities that were acknowledged (incorporated or recognized). The law established a de facto two tier system of religious communities as it upheld the legal framework that had emerged during history concerning the status of the Catholic Church, the Reformed (Calvinist) and the Lutheran Churches, the Orthodox, the Unitarians and the Jews (the latter just having become an “incorporated” religion). The law opened up the possibility of setting up “recognized” denominations. The mainstream churches remained part of the establishment (not only in the legal, but also in the social sense – e.g. the Catholic Church remained the largest landowner until 1945 and 2/3 of the elementary schools were run by churches until 1948).

D 20 September 2012    ABalázs Schanda

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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