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RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES IN SLOVENIA

Regulation of the relationship between the state and religious communities any where in the world follows no unified pattern. Taking into account fundamental human rights, the models used mostly differ by the history and cultural environments of individual countries. With its new, democratic Constitution, Slovenia opted for a laic state - the separation of the state and religious communities and liberal exercising of the right to religious freedom- ensuring the same possibilities to all, including newer and less numerous religious communities. Here, the priority task is seen as the strengthening of cultural tolerance and dialogue as well as integrating constitutional principles into everyday life.

 

 

Legal Framework

In the Republic of Slovenia, the human right of freedom of religion is regulated by the Constitution and the law.

 

the Constitution, an individual's rights to religious freedom are understood as falling within the category concerning the freedom of conscience, while collective rights are realised by religious communities. The latter are free in their activities, separated from the state and have equal rights. Religious communities are legal entities under private law if they report their activities pursuant to the Law on the Legal Status of Religious Communities from 1976 to the Government Office for Religious Communities.

 

The separation of the state and religious communities is understood in the sense of unrestricted activity and autonomous religious communities within the existing legal order and co-operation with the state in areas both sides are interested in. Equality is understood as ensuring the same legal rights to all religious communities.

 

In 1998, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia proposed the National Assembly a new Law on Religious Communities, whose main novelty is the procedure of registering religious communities and defining them as non-profit associations.

 

 

Statistics on Personal Religion and Adherence to Religious Communities

The Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia stipulates that nobody is obliged to define his or her religious or other conviction (Article 41), therefore Slovenia does not have a database allowing an accurate insight into the structure of the religious adherence of its citizens.

 

 

Office for Religious Communities

The Office monitors and maintains evidence of religious communities having reported their activities within the Republic of Slovenia and offers them expert help regarding its relationship with the state. At the state level, it also monitors implementation of regulations, other documents and measures concerning the activity of religious communities and co-operates in their preparation. Thus, for example, it also implements the resolution of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia regarding the social insurance of priests and other workers in religious communities and issues attestations on the legal status of religious communities and their components.

 

An important part of the Office's tasks is preparation of discussions and, normally, regular monthly consultations of the representatives of all religious communities. The Office follows happenings in the field both at home and abroad and co-operates with similar offices in other countries.

 

 

Religious communities holding legal person status in the Republic of Slovenia

  • The Roman Catholic Church
  • The Lutheran Church
  • The Jewish Community of Slovenia - The Jewish Community of Ljubljana
  • The Union of Baptist Churches in the Republic of Slovenia
  • The Serbian Orthodox Church
  • The Islamic Religious Community in the Republic of Slovenia
  • The Pentecostal Church in the Republic of Slovenia
  • The Christian Adventist Church
  • The Jehovah's Witness - Christian Religious Community
  • The Christ's Church of Brothers in the Republic of Slovenia
  • The New Apostolic Church in the Republic of Slovenia
  • The Free Church in the Republic of Slovenia
  • The Community for Krishna Consciousness
  • The Liberal Catholic Church
  • The International School of the Golden Rosycross - Lectorium
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Universal Life
  • The Unification Church
  • The National Bahai Community in the Republic of Slovenia
  • The Ordo Templi Orientis
  • The Reformation Christian Community in the Republic of Slovenia
  • The Sri Radhakunda - Community for Shri Gourange Consciousness
  • The Universal Gnostic Church
  • The Macedonian Orthodox Community in the Republic of Slovenia "St. Clement of Ohrid"
  • The Buddha Dharma - Union of Buddhists in the Republic of Slovenia
  • The Church of Scientology
  • The Church of Jesus Christ "Live Water"
  • The Christian Outreach Centre
  • The Evangelical Baptist Assembly
  • The International Christian Community

 

 

Financing

The Republic of Slovenia does not directly finance the activities of religious communities. Through annual invitations to tender, the state contributes funds to maintain cultural monuments owned by religious communities; to priests and other religious workers to whom this work represent their sole occupation, it reimburses employers' social security contributions. The Government Office for Religious Communities has nominal funds available to help religious communities which are distributed according to the principle of openness and the importance of a religious community's project to the wider society.

 

Religious communities as legal entities also compete for other funds from the state budget, i.e. for the performance of certain programmes, especially in the social area. Some religious communities have their charity organisations obtaining their funds on an equal basis with other humanitarian organisations. Religious communities in the Republic of Slovenia are taxpayers, but only if they perform profit-making activities.

 

 

Education Institutions and the Media

Public schools in Slovenia do not offer religious education, however, pursuant to the reform of the public school system, the academic subject Religions and Ethics is being introduced into the primary school curriculum, with the aim of teaching schoolchildren about important world religions.

 

Religious communities may set up education institutions and schools at all levels. As a rule, the state co-finances the activities of such kindergartens and schools up to 85% of the programme's expenses in a comparable public institute if the institutions are organised in compliance with the law and perform suitable programmes.

 

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

 

Religious communities can issue papers and journals. As legal entities, they can found other legal entities dealing in publishing, selling books, etc.

 

The national television includes an editorial board or religious programming. Religious communities have one representative in the Council of the National Radio and Television.

 

 

Religious Freedom in the Armed Forces, Prisons and Hospitals

National servicemen can attend religious ceremonies in their leisure time when their military service does not require their presence in their unit. They are informed about the locations of religious premises in the area where they reside by the commanding offices of the Slovenian army. In agreement with the leaders of religious communities, all national servicemen are able to attend discussions or lectures with religious content. Representatives of religious communities can enter military areas and premises according to the same rules as civilians. The bringing in of religious press and literature to military premises is not limited.

 

Citizens professionally performing the work of priests, pastors or other religious workers in religious communities are not called to participate in defence duties. Civil military service is also possible in organisations or institutions of religious communities. The length of performing a civil service is equal to the duration of military service it substitutes, i.e. 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 the prisoners and detainees. On larger religious holidays or special occasions, the prisons also prepare ceremonies or other events, although there are no special premises equipped for such purposes. Religious literature is available in prison libraries.

 

Also in the hospitals, all patients have the right to an active religious life. The visiting representatives of religious communities act according to the needs and wishes of patients, doctors' judgements and general house rules. According to their spatial abilities, hospitals provide premises for religious ceremonies or undisturbed talk between priests, pastors and patients. The equipment of these premises is taken care of by religious communities.

 

 

Marriages and Religious Holidays

Marriages made with bodies of religious communities have no civil law validity in Slovenia. A valid marriage must be made with an authorised state body. Slovenia's legislation defines 15 holidays and work-free days. The holidays relate to events connected to Slovenia's history, culture and tradition.

 

 

Religious festivities

Catholic Easter Sunday and Monday, Whit Sunday, the Assumption and Christmas and the Protestant Reformation Day - are work-free days. On work- free days, all employees have the right to rest, they receive their salaries and their work is specially evaluated if they must work on such a day. Members of religious communities whose important religious festivities do not coincide with those work-free days have the right to use their regular annual leave on such days.