Christianity in Nagaland
The predominant religion of Nagaland is Christianity. The state's population is 1.988 million, out of which 90.02% are Christians. More than 98% of the Naga people identify themselves as Christian. The 2001 census recorded the state's Christian population at 1,790,350, making it, with Meghalaya and Mizoram, one of the three Christian-majority states in India and the only state where Christians form 90% of the population. The state has a very high church attendance rate in both urban and rural areas. Huge churches dominate the skylines of Kohima, Dimapur, and Mokokchung.
It was in the early part of October 1871, Supongmeren from Molungkimong village was baptised at Sibsagar and enrolled as an American Baptist Church member. He became the bridge between the American Baptist Missionary E.W. Clark, Evangelist Godhula and the headhunting Ao Nagas. Kosasanger Council of Molungkimong Village (Dekahaimong)dispatched 60 warriors to escort Dr. E.W. Clark to escort him. It took almost three days from Sibsagar to reach Molungkimong. Clark arrived on 18 December (Wednesday) and baptized 15 new converts on 22nd (Sunday) December 1872 at a Village drinking well called 'Chungli Tzubu' which was permitted by the Village council. Another miracle for Clark after which they had a worship service and celebrated the first Lord's supper. Thus, on this day, the first Naga Church was founded with 28 Baptized members. They were Dr. Clark, Godhula and his wife, Supongmeren, 9 converts baptized on 10 November at Sibsagar, and 15 converts baptized at Molungkimong on 22 December 1872.
Nagaland was one of several regions of north East India that experienced Christian revival movements in the 1950s and 1960s. The "Nagaland Christian Revival Church", formed in 1962, grew out of the initial phase of this movement. It had its origin in a village in Kohima district where, in 1962, an event known as "The Great Awakening" started .
The revival emphasised believers having a "personal encounter with Christ", the witnessing of "signs and wonders" (such as miraculous healings), and having a missionary outreach to non-believing or nominally-Christian Nagas. The result was that Nagaland became an overwhelmingly Christian state, known as "the only predominantly Baptist state in the world." Among Christians, Baptists are the predominant group, constituting more than 75% of the state's population, thus making it more Baptist (on a percentage basis) than Mississippi in the southern United States, where 55% of the population is Baptist. Roman Catholics, Revivalists, and Pentecostals are the other Christian denomination numbers. Catholics are found in significant numbers in parts of Wokha district and Kohima district as well as in the urban areas of Kohima and Dimapur.
An ancient indigenous religion known as the Heraka is followed by a few people (4,168) belonging to the Zeliangrong tribe living in Nagaland. Rani Gaidinliu was an Indian freedom fighter who struggled for the revival of Heraka, the traditional animist religion of the Naga people.
- Indian Census
- Allan Anderson, ed., "Asian and Pentecostal: The Charismatic Face of Christianity in Asia", p237-238.
- Olson, C. Gordon. What in the World Is God Doing. Global Gospel Publishers: Cedar Knolls, NJ. 2003.
- American Religious Identification Survey Archived 14 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine www.gc.cuny.edu.
- Mississippi Denominational Groups, 2000 Thearda.com. Retrieved 2010-07-30.