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Croatia

The place of religion in Croatia.

Although Croatia is officially secular, it is defined by a strong religious presence, even in the political arena. This strong Catholic identity, which unites the nation, makes Croatia stand apart from neighbouring countries.

Catholicism in Croatia

Croatia is predominantly a Catholic country with 87% of the population identifying themselves as Catholic. Indeed, the multitude of churches you will came across during your visit to Croatia is proof of this. Baptisms and other religious ceremonies play a large part in Croatian daily life, not forgetting the famous pilgrimage to Medugorje where there was an apparition of the Virgin Mary. Even if this has not been acknowledged by the Vatican, it is a source of great religious fervour and an increasing number of believers are visiting the site. The visits of the Popes in 1994, 1998 and 2003 gathered together hundreds of thousands of Catholics. Croatia has now certainly become a religious country.

The Church and State are very closely linked and this has an influence on daily life. In 2013, sex education and same sex marriage were banned despite the secularism and impartiality of the political leaders. The Church has power and influence in Croatia, sometimes at the expense of human rights, particularly during the time when Tudman was in power.

Zagreb Cathedral

Minority religions

During your visit to Croatia, you will still have the opportunity to visit other religious sites, even though they are in a minority. Croatia also has orthodox christians, muslims, protestants, jews and atheists which between them make up 13% of the population. Their origins are from different events in history. The Ottoman conquest in XV and XIX centuries left its mark, but not everywhere in the country. Most converts are around Zagreb.

Caroline Guibert
22 contributions
Updated 8 April 2016

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