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Book Extract: Religion in Andorra

The following is an extract from the Discover Charming Andorra country and travel guide. It is taken from the chapter entitled ‘Andorran Society and Culture: A Snapshot’ and offers a brief survey of religion in Andorra. Other subheadings in that chapter are Demography, Languages, Economy, Class, Health, Education, Sports, Culture, Food and Media, Arts and Architecture.

Andorran law guarantees freedom of religion. There is no official state church, nonetheless the Catholic Church has an elevated status and enjoys some privileges not provided to other faiths. The bishop in the nearby Spanish town of La Seu d’Urgell is, of course, one of Andorra’s co-princes.

The government censuses do not collect data on religious affiliation so attempts to quantify religious adherents follow different methods and do not always quite agree. Therefore, the statistics below are approximations. 

Andorra is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, with estimates ranging from 88-98% of the population. The patron saint of Andorra is Our Lady of Meritxell, celebrated on 8 September which is Andorra’s National Day.

Islam is possibly the second largest faith in the principality due primarily to North African immigration. A 2021 US State Department report suggests there are 2000 Muslims in Andorra. However, a similar report also issued by the US government back in 2006 cites the same number, despite immigration ebbs and flows between these dates, suggesting the figure is more a ballpark figure.

It does seem rather high, particularly given the number of Moroccans in Andorra in 2021 was a little over 400. Several religious sources cite a figure closer to 1000 Muslims across the principality.

Basílica Santuari de Nostra Senyora de Meritxell. Religion in Andorra
Basílica Santuari de Nostra Senyora de Meritxell

Protestantism is also present in Andorra, albeit in small numbers. Estimates range from a few hundred to possibly up to 2% of the population which would make it, rather than Islam, the second largest faith in Andorra. There is an English-language international Anglican church (St George’s) which meets at Sant Iscle i Santa Victoria, the parish church of La Massana. Attendees include representatives of other Christian denominations.

There are also several evangelical churches, including Centre Biblic Andorra, meeting in Escaldes (language used is Catalan), the New Life International Church, with services in English and Spanish and meeting in the capital, and Hillel (which appears to belong to the global Hillsong movement), meeting in Escaldes with services in Spanish.

There is at least one other Pentecostal church, in Encamp, with worship in Portuguese. Several other Christian denominations and sects are represented in tiny numbers.

Santa Eulàlia d’Encamp, built in the Romanesque style.
Find out more on the Andorra tourist website

Estimates of the number of Jews living in Andorra range between 100-150. Some Jews escaping the Nazis settled here, but the Jewish population is mostly Sephardic, coming from Morocco after fleeing that country during the 1967 Six Day War in the Middle East.

There is a synagogue and details of the community are available by contacting the community leaders through their website. There is also a small Baha’i community and some Hindus in the principality.

My personal impression is that, much like the rest of Western Europe, Andorran society is not strongly religiously observant. Many Catholics are nominal and do not attend church regularly. Aside from the importance of the patron saint’s day, together with the historical role Catholicism has played in the history and culture of the country, the overall impression is that the country is largely secular.

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