Ecumenical Organizations and Councils
WCC member churches based in Slovakia
WCC member churches present in Slovakia
Today's Republic of Slovakia came into being in 1993, with the peaceful division of former Czechoslovakia in two states. The Slovaks are Slavonic people who settled the area in the 5th century and formed the Moravian kingdom, which later became part of the Hungarian kingdom and eventually of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918 but was broken up in 1938 by Nazi Germany, which kept Slovakia under tight control. After World War II, Czechoslovakia was re-established and came under communist rule, until 1989 when the Soviet bloc collapsed. The country had an industrialized, centrally planned economy, which it has transformed and adjusted to the free market system. High unemployment continued to be one of its problems through 2005. Slovakia joined the European Union in 2004. Due to historic circumstances, an important Hungarian minority of about 10 percent of the population lives in Slovakia, mostly concentrated in the border area with Hungary. The Orthodox missionaries Cyril and Methodius were the first to evangelize the Slovaks. Today the Orthodox are a minority, because the Catholic Church established its influence over the centuries, and became the majority church. The largest Protestant churches are the Lutherans and the Reformed, the latter mostly among the Hungarians. The Ecumenical Council of Churches is broadly representative of the Protestants and the Orthodox, with the Catholic Church as an observer member. The Orthodox form one church for Slovakia and the Czech Republic. There are some smaller Pentecostal and Evangelical churches, and an Evangelical Alliance, affiliated with the WEA.