Christianity in Bangladesh
|Christianity by country|
The history of Christianity in Bangeldesh is a part of a larger story of the development of Christianity in South Asia. Christian and other religious influence in the region has been impacted by Indian, Islamic, and Western European civilizations. Like other modern countries in the region, the development of Christianity in Bangledesh can trace its history to four distinct phases. 1) The first began with the arrival of the Apostle Thomas in the middle of the first century C.E., 2) the second began with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1497, 3) the third in 1813 with the East India Company admitting missionaries into the territory, and 4) the fourth, in 1947 as British rule ended and an increased suspicion grew towards Christian communities.
The earliest recorded Christians in the territory of modern-day Bangladesh arrived during the Bengal Sultanate. Portuguese missionaries and traders in Porto Grande, Chittagong built the region's first churches during the 16th century. The Jesuits opened their first mission in 1600 and made a greater push towards evangelization. Mughal and colonial Dhaka were home to Armenians, Greeks, Catholics and Anglicans.
Bangladesh is the 8th largest country in the world with the most religionists (156,469,000 religious individuals), with a 99.9% rate of religionists. Islam is the majority religion in Bangladesh (89.1%), followed by Hinduism (10%). Christianity is a minority religion in Bangladesh (0.5%) and together with the other minority religions makes up 0.9% of the population (includes Buddhism, Judaism, etc.).
Christians have greatly served the education and health sectors. This tiny community has some 1000 schools and about 100 health care centers and hospitals. In Bangladesh, the Christian community runs the country's largest cooperative bank in Dhaka.
Having worked in Bangladesh as a missionary since 1952, Father Richard William Timm, C.S.C. won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding, the Asian Nobel Prize, in 1987 in recognition of his work as a teacher, as a biologist studying plant-parasitic worms, and with Caritas on relief efforts.
With the growth of Christianity, persecution of Christians is on the rise. Conditions have improved in recent years as Bangladesh moved from place 35 on the World Watch List of Christian persecution in 2015 to place 48 in 2019.
There are two Catholic archdioceses and six Catholic dioceses in Bangladesh with some 400,000 Catholics. Each diocese is led by its own local bishop. Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario is the highest Catholic official.
List of Protestant denominations
- Assemblies of God
- Bangladesh Baptist Sangha
- Bangladesh Lutheran Church
- Christian Brethren
- Church of Bangladesh (united church of Anglicans, Presbyterians, and others; member of the Anglican Communion)
- Church of God (Anderson)
- Garo Baptist Convention
- Seventh-day Adventist Church
- Church of the Nazarene
- Bangladesh Methodist Church
List of Baptist Churches
The Christian community has some media houses, including The Weekly Pratibeshi, Sargamarta, Bd Christian News and Dhaka Credit News. Pratibeshi is the oldest weekly in the country, established 76 years ago.
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- "World Watch List - Bangladesh". Open Doors UK.
- "Bangladesh". CIA World Factbook.
- "Awardees: Timm, Richard William". Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
- "The Weekly Pratibeshi". Archived from the original on 2017-06-14. Retrieved 2016-09-20.
- Bd Christian News
- Luchesi, Brigitte (1999), "Bangladesh", in Fahlbusch, Erwin (ed.), Encyclopedia of Christianity, 1, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, pp. 182–183, ISBN 0802824137