Population: About 19,96 millions
Oppressive persecution was commonplace under Communism. Now, Romania is officially a secular state, but is dominated by the Orthodox Church, which replaced the government as the primary vehicle of religious discrimination. A 2006 law made it much more difficult to register denominations or charities and could be used to limit proselytism.
Population: About 7 millions
Religion: Orthodoxy was the state religion until 1945 and is currently recognized as the “traditional”
religion of Bulgaria. The Communists persecuted Christians and manipulated denominational leadership until 1989. Religious freedom is still not truly realized, although the situation has improved greatly since the 1990s.
Population: About 7,164 millions
Strong links between ethnicity and religion have exacerbated tensions in the Balkans for centuries. Constitutionally, there is freedom of religion, but with preferential treatment accorded to the Orthodox Church. A controversial religion law makes registration and activity by non-traditional religious groups very difficult. Frequent occurrences of sectarian-motivated violence and arson against non-Serbian Orthodox.
Population: About 4 million
Freedom of religion in a secular state, but Catholicism enjoys an unofficial favoured status. Many leaders in the Catholic Church are at the forefront of reconciliation and justice issues.
Population: About 37.000
Roman Catholicism is the state religion, but there is freedom of religion, though proselytism is strongly discouraged and frowned upon.
Population: About 2 millions.
Freedom of religion, with a traditional Catholic culture that is rapidly giving way to secularism. A long history of Catholic tradition is under threat. The three main Christian groups (Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran) are lacking in spiritual vitality. They are rapidly declining into irrelevance while agnosticism, New Age and different forms of Eastern religious beliefs are increasing, as is general spiritual apathy, even among those who notionally believe in God. Pray for an awakening in the mainline churches that draws the many nominal Christians into personal faith in Christ.
Population: About 79.000
The nation has been a self-governing co-principality since 1278; nominally ruled by the French president and the Spanish bishop of Urgel. Since 1993, Andorra has had its own constitution, judiciary and foreign policy. Andorra has also had official freedom of religion since 1993. The Catholic Church remains the established church.
Population: About 550 000
Freedom of religion. Catholicism still predominates but other religions as well as atheism have grown rapidly of late. The major confessions have established conventions and thereby financial support. Luxembourg’s strong Catholic heritage remains, but is slowly dwindling. Sea changes in Catholicism have had little impact here, and while the majority profess Catholicism, only a small percent regularly attend mass or practice their faith. A melange of secularism, materialism and a fuzzy personalized spirituality all weigh in heavily in shaping the prevalent worldview of this highly affluent Grand Duchy.Veneration of Mary plays a great role in cultural tradition and ritual. It is tradition more than conviction that keeps Luxembourg Catholic.
Population: About 10 millions.
Religious and political freedoms gained in 1975 have transformed the nation, but high religious affiliation and freedom does not translate into genuine faith.This is reflected in the challenges of materialism, individualism and increasing substance abuse. The religious freedom gained is taken advantage of by Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and New Age philosophies. Pray for the truth about Jesus to be made known by wise Christian leaders of all confessions.
Population: About 47 million people
During Franco’s dictatorship, Catholicism was the state religion. Non-Catholics, especially evangelicals, were subject to discrimination and even persecution. The 1978 constitution guaranteed equality of rights for all ideologies and religions, though Catholicism remains under special consideration from the State. The “cooperation agreements” with the government signed in 1992 for evangelicals, Muslims and Jews are a step forward. Spain is fast moving from a traditional Catholic society to a secular-dominated, multicultural, multi- religious one.
False beliefs are quickly multiplying – a natural consequence of the rapidly formed vacuum left by departure from religious faith. Spaniards flirting with occult practices is common. New Age deceptions abound. Marginal cults such as Jehovah’s Witnessesand Mormons have a large presence, augmented now by the arrival of new foreign sects and other religions. Spain has one of the world’s heaviest users of cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Around two million take drugs, most of them young people. Gambling addiction remains a problem for the nation as well.
Still there is many things to be grateful for. Spain’s transformation since 1978 is astonishing, from dictatorship to liberty, poverty to wealth, isolation to integration into Europe and religious discrimination to religious liberty. Spain has had only two brief periods of religious freedom, 1868-1875 and 1931-1939, before the new Constitution passed in 1978. Thank God for more than 30 years of liberty, and pray that Spain’s believers would take full advantage of it.