Abstract and Keywords
Catholicism is the predominant religious affiliation in Eastern Europe. It is the majority religion of the national societies of Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia; and is the largest faith in the Czech Republic and Hungary. There are also smaller Catholic communities in other Eastern European countries. During the Communist era, beginning around 1945 to 1948 and continuing to around 1989–1990, the Catholic Church labored under various limitations. In Albania, for example, Catholicism, together with all other religious associations, was completely illegal from 1967 until 1990. After the collapse of the Communist organizational monopoly in 1989–1990, the situation of religious associations in the area changed dramatically. The Catholic Church, no longer compelled to be on the defensive, undertook to promote its own program for society. This article traces the origins and history of Christianity until the 1800s and examines Catholicism and the national awakening of the nineteenth century, along with Catholicism during the twentieth century and after the collapse of Communism.
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