Three instances of Church and anti-communist opposition: Hungary, Poland and Romania

Daniela Angi


The article analyzes the relationship between the dominant Churches from Hungary, Poland and Romania and the opposition to Communist regimes. The Churches – seen as institutional actors of civil society – are analyzed in terms of their material and symbolic resources which may act as prerequisites for the initiation or support of oppositional activities. The relation of accommodation between the Church and the Communist regimes installed in the three countries are also analysed comparatively. The analysis follows the politically significant behaviour of the three Churches and the corresponding attitudes and measures developed by the Communist authorities. The article discusses Poland as the only case where the Church has been actively involved, on multiple levels, in oppositional activities. The distinctive feature in the Polish case is given by the complex ties developed by the Church with the remaining actors of the anti-Communist opposition, as well as by the enduring presence of religious imagery within the Polish society. Hungary and Romania displayed only a modest activity in the direction of religion-based opposition, being marked by isolated acts of defiance from individual members of the clergy in the context of an overall passivity of the Churches.


Church, religion, civil society, communism, opposition, nationalism, Orthodoxy, Catholicism

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