1. Introduction

There is no uniform European or world approach to regulating relations between the state and religious communities. Apart from respecting fundamental human rights, models differ above all because of the historical and cultural environment of each individual state.

After independence, Slovenia determined with its new democratic Constitution to separate the state and religious communities, on freedom of religion and the equality of all religious communities.

We understand the priority task in this field to be building constitutional principles into everyday life and strengthening the culture of tolerance and dialogue in Slovene society.


2. Legal sources and clarification of key terms

Human rights to the free expression of religion in the Republic of Slovenia are regulated by the Constitution and Law.

The rights of an individual to free expression of religion are understood in the context of the category of freedom of conscience, and the collective rights realised by religious communities or groups. In their activities, these are free, separated from the state and equal. Religious communities are legal entities under private law if, in compliance with the Act on the legal position of religious communities, of 1976, they register their foundation with the Office of the Government RS for Religious Communities.

The separation of state and religious communities is understood in the sense of the free activity and autonomy of religious communities, within the framework of the valid legal order, and cooperation with the state in those fields in which a mutual interest in this is found by both sides. Equality is conceived as guaranteeing equal legal possibilities to all religious communities.

The Government RS sent a proposed new Religious Communities Act to the National Assembly in 1998. This envisages, as a key innovation, the procedure of registration of religious communities and the classification of these as non-profit associations.

In 1999, the Government RS signed with the Bishop's Conference of the Roman Catholic Church in the Republic of Slovenia, an Agreement on the legal position of the Roman Catholic Church in RS. On the basis of this text, negotiations are taking place between a delegation of the Republic of Slovenia and the Holy See on an Agreement on the Legal Position of the Roman Catholic Church in the Republic of Slovenia.

In 2000, the Government RS signed an agreement on legal position with the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Republic of Slovenia. Other religious communities have also expressed interest in concluding agreements with the Government RS.


3. The position of religious communities

3.1. Financing

The Republic of Slovenia does not directly finance the activities of religious communities, but these may obtain funds which the state devotes to all owners of cultural monuments for their restoration. The state provides religious communities with committed material support - the employers social security contribution of priests and monks for whom this is the only profession; symbolic funds are also devoted to the assistance of religious communities and are distributed on the principle of openness and for projects by a religious community devoted to wider society.

Religious communities as legal entities of private law also compete for other funds from the state budget, for the implementation of specific programmes, mainly in the social sphere. Some religious communities have their own charitable organisations, which obtain funds on an equal footing with other humanitarian organisations.

3.2. Nursery and education institutions

There is no religious education in public schools in the Republic of Slovenia, although in accordance with the reform of the system of public schools, a non-confessional subject, Religion and Ethics, is being introduced into the syllabus, intended to familiarise pupils with the more important world religions.

Religious communities can found private nursery institutions and schools of all levels. The state co-finances the activities of such kindergartens and schools, generally to a level of 85% of costs of programmes in comparable public institutions, if the cited institutions of religious communities are organised in compliance with the law and implement publicly valid programmes.

The only tertiary education institution of religious communities in the Republic of Slovenia is the Theological Faculty of the Roman Catholic Church, which is also a member of the University.

3.3. Media

Religious communities may also publish public media. As legal entities, they may also establish other legal entities which are also involved in publishing, book distribution, etc.

National television has a religious affairs department. One place on the Council of the national radio and television house, RTV, is reserved for a representative of religious communities.

3.4. Pastoral care in the armed forces, prisons and hospitals

There is no chaplaincy or curate service in the Slovene army. Army conscripts may take part in religious services in their free time, when their duties do not require their presence in the unit.

In agreement with the leadership of religious communities, all army conscripts who wish this are permitted discussions or lectures with a religious content. Representatives of religious communities can enter areas and premises of military buildings under rules which apply to civilians.

The carrying of printed religious material and literature into military facilities is not restricted.

Citizens who perform the work of priests or monks in religious communities professionally are not posted to reserve units of the Slovene Army.

Civilian service of military service is also possible in organisations or institutions of religious communities. Substitute civilian service lasts the same length as military service, seven months.

Representatives of religious communities regularly visit prisons. The frequency of their visits depends on the type of institution and the needs and wishes of prisoners or detainees. At the time of major religious festivals or special occasions, they also prepare divine service or other events in prisons, although no special premises are fitted for this purpose. Religious literature is available in prison libraries.

Every patient has the right to an active religious life, including in hospital. Representatives of religious communities behave according to the needs and wishes of patients, the doctor's judgement and the in-house rules. Hospitals provide space for religious services or the undisturbed discussion between priest and patient, in accordance with their spatial possibilities. Religious communities provide fittings for such areas.

3.5. Marriage

Marriages concluded by a religious community do not have civil validity in the Republic of Slovenia. A marriage having civil validity is concluded in front of the responsible state body.

3.6. Religious holidays

The Act on Holidays and Workfree Days in the Republic of Slovenia determines fifteen holidays and work free days. Events connected with the history of the nation and state and Slovene culture and tradition are defined as holidays.

Religious holidays - the Catholic Easter Sunday and Monday, Whitsunday, the Ascension of Mary and Christmas and the Protestant Reformation Day - are considered work free days.

On work free days, all employees have the right to rest, compensation pay and special rates of pay insofar as they have to work on such a day.

Members of religious communities whose important religious holiday is not a work free day by law, have the right to use this day as part of their regular annual leave.


4. Statistical data on members of religious communities

The Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia determines that nobody shall be required to reveal their religious or other convictions, so there is also no data base to enable an exact overview of the structure of religious affiliation of citizens.

Data exists from the regular population censuses of 1953 and 1991 which embrace all inhabitants and the results of social science research on smaller statistical samples, which can be generalised to the whole of Slovenia with a certain reliability.

Data on the religion of the population of the Republic of Slovenia from the census of population of 1991


No. of inhabitants














Oriental cults






Other religions



Believers who belong to no religion



Not a believer



Does not wish to answer

82, 837





Source: Research Results, no. 617/1994, Zavod RS za statistiko, p. 118.


The Centre for Public Opinion Research and Mass Communication at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ljubljana has systematically since 1968 carried out a project "Slovene public opinion", the widest longitudinal social sciences empirical research in Slovenia, which is based on a representative sample of the adult population of Slovenia.

Respondees, of which there were one thousand in 1999, also answered the following question in the research:

To which religious community do you belong, if any?









Other non-Christian


Other Christian




No answer, don't know


Source: Toš, N. et al: SJM99/4, FDV, CJMMK, Ljubljana, 2000

In the context of the project "Slovene Public Opinion", international research also took place on faith and attitudes to the church, Aufbruch - New Departures. The research was carried out on a representative sample (N=1050) adult citizens of the Republic of Slovenia.

Respondents in this research also answered the question: To which church or religious community do you belong today?. In the table below are ommitted the possible offered answers to the cited question to which respondents in the Republic of Slovenia did not respond.

Catholic, Roman Catholic


Mohammedan, Muslim, Islamic






Jehovah Witness


Evangelical, Lutheran




Greek (Armenian) Catholic


Unification Church




Declined to answer


Source: Toš, N. et al: SJM97/2, FDV, CJMMK, Ljubljana, 1997