Figure 1.-- Slovakia is a largely Catholic country. Here a boy is seen in his First Communion oitfit. The portrait is undated, but looks to have been taken in the 1940s.
Slovakia is a largely Catholic country. Martin Luther's reforms not only proved popular in Germany, but in much of Central Europe as well. Slovak's were early and eager followers of Luther. John Calvin for some reason proved more popular in Hungary. It was a translation of Luther's Catechism published in Bardejov (eastern Slovakia) that was the first book printed in Slovak (1581). A Roman Catholic prelate (Archbishop Pazmany) writing to the Vatican from Trnava (western Slovakia) advised, "in Habsburg Hungary (meaning modern Slovakia) hardly a tenth of the population are Catholics, the rest are of the Lutheran, or Calvinist persuasion."(1613) During the counter-Reformation, primarily military operations of the Thirty Years War, Slovakia was forced back to Catholocism. Hungary and Hungarian tended Slovakia, however, tended to be more tolerant than other areas involved in the Counter Reformation. Into the 20century Slovaks wre mostly very traditionl Catholics. Even after a half century of Communist rule most Slovaks remained Catholic. The Communists discouraged religious practice, but most Slovaks continue baptize their children and married, and buried according to their religious traditions. Slovakia into the 20th century remained a very traditional society and largely agrarian. One finds a church at the center of a traditional Slovak village. In a 2001 census, about 85 percent if Slovaks identified a religiou affilation. Rgis is a much higher percentage than most of the European community, especially Western Europe. It is even a much higher percentage than in the neighboring Czech Republic. Most Slovaks or nearly 70 percent indicated Roman Catholic. There are much smaller numbers of many different faiths. Most Slovak Jews were murdered in the World War II Holocaust with the eager cooperation of Slovak officials. Most Slovaks have done First Communion, although I'm not sure to wht extent this was affected by Communist rule. Until recently many Slovks attended church on Sunday for the Mass. Church officials, however, complain that with the opening of hypermarkets on Sunday that church attendance has fallen notably.
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