Moldovan Orthodox Church

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Religious Demography of Moldova

The country has an area of approximately 13,000 square miles, and its official population, according to a census from the Soviet era, is approximately 4.5 million (unofficial estimates of the number of citizens working abroad range from 500,000 to 1 million). The predominant religion is Christian Orthodox. More than 90 percent of the population nominally belong to one of two Orthodox denominations.

The Moldovan Orthodox Church, according to the State Service on Religious Issues, has 1,080 parishes; the Bessarabian Orthodox Church has 84 parishes. In addition, followers of the Old Rite Russian Orthodox Church (Old Believers) make up approximately 3.6 percent of the population. The religious traditions of the Orthodox Church are entwined with the culture and patrimony of the country. Many self-professed atheists routinely celebrate religious holidays, cross themselves, and even light candles and kiss icons if local tradition and the occasion demand.

Other faiths include Roman Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baha'is, Jews, followers of Reverend Moon, Molocans (a Russian group), Messianic Jews (who believe that Jesus was the Messiah), Lutherans, Presbyterians, Hare Krishnas, and some other charismatic Christian and evangelical Christian groups. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has 2 congregations, with approximately 220 members.

According to the most recently available numbers, the Jewish community has approximately 31,300 members, including approximately 20,000 living in Chisinau; 3,100 in Balti and surrounding areas; 2,200 in Tiraspol; 2,000 in Benderi; and 4,000 in small towns.

Foreign missionaries represent many faiths and denominations.

US State Department International Religious Freedom Report 2003