Myanmar Religions: CHRISTIANITY

Photo - Phyo Thiha

Everyone has the right to practice their own religion. Christianity is a religion observed by thousands of millions of people all over the planet. Despite a large majority of people following the Buddhism teachings, Myanmar is actually a religiously diversified country.

Four to five percent of the country’s population of about 51 million people – an equivalent to more than 2.4 million people – is Christian.

Christian communities include a small percentage of Protestants, Baptists and Roman Catholics, the earliest arrival of Christianity dated back to the 16th century. The first arrivals were while Protestants arrived in the 18th century.

After the first Anglo-Burmese war in 1826, more Protestant Christians came to Burma, according to Myanmar Encyclopedia.

Propagating started in 1828 in highland places where Karen people live, with the States of Shan and Kachin seeing missionary work in 1861 and 1876 respectively. It began flourishing in Chin State in 1886.

American missionaries propagated the religion in the more far-flung places and highlands, while English-origin Methodic and Anglican missionaries tended to settle in large cities such as Yangon and Mandalay.

In 1966, the government nationalized all Christian missionary projects and did not allow missionaries to live in the country anymore. Christian communities in Myanmar stood alone without foreign help since that time. Baptists, Assemblies of God, Methodists and Anglicans still exist as strong and powerful communities around the country. Ninety percent of Kachin people and eighty percent of Chin people are Christians as well as a high number of the Karen ethnicity.

The Anglican Communion is 62,000-member strong and half of all Protestants are Baptists, according to their community records. The number of members of the Myanmar Baptist Convention is said to be around 1.6 million.

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