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Religions of Europe

written by Laura Bertóti, Teresa Minárová, Balázs Bukta, Levente Csiszár, Michal Cizek, Shabir Ahmad, Dimitri Perosyan

Due to our excercise, our group decided to make a journey through the countries of Europe to get to know the religions in different places on our continent.

We start from here, Bad Marienberg, Germany, because we met each other here. We are also from different countries with different cultures and religions, so it’s possible that we are not on the same point of wiew and as a result of it, our teamwork might be more various and interesting.

So at first, we are in Germany. There are two main religions here, Christianity and Islamic, and many other smaller ones because of the big amount of people who came here from other countries. We can see the religious variety of this country through the different buildings in towns, e.g. churches and mosques, or because of the people on the streets wearing different types of costumes (which are essentials in their religions).
To get more experience, we travelled to Köln from Bad Marienberg yesterday. At first we visited a catholic church that had a big impress on us because of its greatness, and then we went into a mosque (that’s the central mosque in Germany) which was also especially really interesting for those of us, who had never been in such a buildig. There was a ceremony when we were inside, and to tell the truth, in my life that was a very important point, because earlier I had no idea what happens in a place like that, and I found it very friendly and pleasant.

As we continued our journey we came to one of the largest countries of Europe, which is Ukraine. During the trip, we went through a couple of Middle-European countries (Chech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary) where the biggest percent of people believes in the christianic God.
So we have arrived to Ukraine. Almost everyone here believes in Orhodox Christianity, however this religion was supressed during the Sovjet era by the state. People in this country (as well as in every other one in the Eastern block) were supposed to belive in atheism supported by the communists and socialist ideas. But most of the believers could never be entirely broken. They continued their struggle for full freedom of faith until the religion collapsed in the early 1990s.

After getting to know what is the religious attitude in Ukraine, we have been travelling further to Serbia, an inland country in the Balkans. In the last century it used to be a part of Yugoslavia. Earlier the totally surmounted state has a frozen cultural and religious status, but as soon as it started to collapse in the past, many problems had emerged. Just until 2009 Serbia has consisted Kosovo as well, however Kosovo is mostly a Muslim county. The believers there couldn’t stand beeing governed by Orhodox Christians, even though it is a strictly secured state according to it’s constitution.
A lot of people here have died since the beginning of the war just for their believes, as in many other countries in the world, not just in Europe. But as the time passes, luckily in Serbia, there are less conflicts in which people are dying. Hopefully one they all the inhabitantas will respect each other in a civilised and peaceful way, so there won’t be mass murdering just because of the muslim or other faith of people.

After spending a couple of days here, our journey hasn’t arrived to it’s end in Serbia, because we wanted to visit as much countries as we could. So next we have travelled to Bosnia, where the half of the population is muslin, so Islamic is the determining religion here. We decided to stay at a family here for a couple of days and in my opinon it was one of the greatest ideas that we made, because it was a very good experience for us. The kindness and hospitality of the people there had a very strong impression on us. They were actually very friendly and talkative, and they tried to give us an as comfortable place as they just can, to make us feeling safe.

After getting this surprisingly pleasant experience, we continued our journey to get more new observations. We wanted to know what about Greece, which was one of the first countries in the past, where peope created a strong cultural and religional position. So in this mediterranean country there was a special confessional status which came from the first millenium. The ancient greek religion existied until the fourth millenium, but of course it had some effects on nowadays mentality. There was polyteism and they haven’t got a holy book. After the turkish occupation one part of the people changed their religion to muslin. So at the moment there is a little group of muslims, but the main religion is the Greek Orthodox here (more than the 97% of inhabitants belongs to this faith).

As our last country, we choosed Turkey to visit. About 99%, so almost the entire population of Turkey is of Muslim faith, however this 99% is very divided and controversial. The other 1% is even more divided as for ethnicity and religion. As we took a long walk along turkish streets, we noticed that the landscape is very beautiful because of the many traditional muslim mosques. It was very different from what is common in our home countries, but we accepted their culture real quick. Then we realised that the reason why most of the inhabitants are muslims there, is that when a baby borns, he or she doesn’t have a choice about to what religion are they going to belong, because everyone in their family believes in the same thing. And in our opinion that’s how it’s okay.

At the end of our article/presentation, I would like to shortly summarise our experiences for you. As you saw we went through a lot of countries (both small and big ones) and got to know a lot about different cultures and religions, and as a result of it, our thoughts of the world became a lot wider. I think everyone of us (I mean everyone of especially youngsters) should trvael around the world and meet as much people with various confidences as they can to change their prejudice that might be wrong because of others opinion or the media.

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