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La domination historique du catholicisme romain

Historically speaking, Austria has been a predominantly Roman-Catholic country for many centuries. Religious minorities, foremost Jews, suffered from recurrent prosecution. After the Reformation, Protestantism became the dominant faith in large parts of the Habsburg territories. Encouraged by the nobility, two thirds of the population of the capital Vienna have become Protestants by the end of the 16th century. During the Counter-Reformation of the 17th century, the house of Habsburg and the Roman-Catholic church successfully used every possible means to accomplish the re-Catholisation of the population. Protestants had to flee the country or practise their religion in secret. This only changed with the Toleranzpatent (edict of tolerance), issued by Emperor Joseph II in 1781, which allowed Protestant and Greek-Orthodox Christians a restricted form of religious practice. In 1782, an edict of tolerance that granted some freedom to Austria’s Jews followed.

Source and further information :
- Peter Thaler, Protestant Resistance in Counter-reformation Austria, London, Routledge, 2020, p. 40.
- Barton, Peter F., “Evangelisch in Österreich : ein Überblick über die Geschichte der Evangelischen in Österreich, Studien und Texte zur Kirchengeschichte und Geschichte“, Wien u.a., 1987.
- Herman, Jan / Lamed, Meir, “Bohemia”, in Michael Berenbaum/Fred Skolnik (Hg.), Encyclopaedia Judaica, Second Edition, Volume 4, Detroit, 2007, pp. 37-41.

D 30 août 2023    AAstrid Mattes

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