Religion in Great Britain
British religion used to be closely connected with kings, queens and politics.
England was a Roman Catholic country until 1534.
In 1525 King Henry VIII decided to divorce his queen, Catherine of Aragon,
because he fell in love with Anne Boleyn. But when Henry asked the Pope for the
permission to divorce Catherine, he refused.
Henry was so angry with the Pope that he ended all contact between England and
Rome. He divorced Catherine of Aragon without the Pope’s permission and
married Anne Boleyn.
In 1534 Parliament named Henry head of the Church of England. This was the
beginning of the Anglican Church. The Protestant movement was growing very
strong at that time. When Henry quarreled with Rome and ordered the Bible to be
translated into English, the way was open for Protestantism to spread in England.
Over the next years many people changed to this new religion. In 1553 Mary,
Henry’s daughter, became Queen of England. The country re-entered the Roman
Church, because she was a Roman Catholic.
Protestants were glad when Mary died, because while she was Queen, many
Protestants were burned for their beliefs. After Mary, Elizabeth became head of the
Anglican Church and Roman Catholicism was never again the official religion in
Nowadays there is a paradox about religion in Britain. On the one hand this is
officially a Christian country, where Church and state are linked (связаны). On the
other hand, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs form quite a large part of the population,
and the British pride themselves in tolerance and adaptability.
Just over three-quarters of the UK population reported having a religion. More than
seven out of 10 people say that their religion is Christian (72%). After Christianity,
Islam was die most common faith with nearly 3% describing their religion as
The next largest religious groups are Hindus (559,000), followed by Sikhs
(336,000), Jews (267,000), Buddhists (152,000) and people from other religions.
There is quite a strong Roman Catholic community - many Irish, Italian and
Polish immigrants keep their faith. The Greeks and Russians in Britain have
brought with them their own orthodox church
Everyone In Britain has the right to religion freedom.