Bengali Christians

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Bengali Christians
বাঙালি খ্রিস্টান (Bangali Khrishtan), ফিরিঙ্গি (Firingi)
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 India730,000 (West Bengal)[2]
--- Catholicism
--- Protestantism
--- Indian Orthodox
Related ethnic groups
Bengali Muslims, Bengali Hindus, Bengali Buddhists

Bengali Christians (Bengali: বাঙালি খ্রিস্টান) are adherents of Christianity among the Bengali people. Christianity took root in Bengal after the arrival of Portuguese voyagers in the 16th century. It witnessed further conversions among the Bengali upper-caste elite during the 19th century Bengali Renaissance.

Bengali Christians have made significant contributions to Bengali culture, commerce and society. The region is home to venerable Christian missionary institutions, including the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa.


Christianity was established in Bengal by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The Portuguese settlement in Chittagong hosted the first Vicar Apostolic in Bengal.[3] Jesuit missionaries also established churches in Bandel and Dhaka. In 1682, there were 14,120 Roman Catholics in Bengal.[1] William Carey translated the Bible into Bengali in 1809. Many upper-class Bengalis in the British Indian capital Calcutta converted to Christianity during the Indian Renaissance.

The Missionaries of Charity was founded by the Ottoman-born nun Mother Teresa in Calcutta in 1950. It played a major role in supporting and sheltering refugees during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.


Roman Catholic Church[edit]

The Catholic Church in Bangladesh is based in the Archdiocese of Dhaka, with dioceses in Dinajpur, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Rajshahi and Archdiocese of Chittagong, with dioceses on Barisal and Khulna .[4]

The Roman Catholic Church in West Bengal is based in the Archdiocese of Calcutta.

Anglican Communion[edit]

There are three dioceses of the Anglican Church of Bangladesh:

  • Diocese of Dhaka
  • Diocese of Kushtia
  • Diocese of Barisal

St. Paul's Cathedral, Kolkata is the seat of the Anglican Diocese of Calcutta (1813) of the Church of North India (CNI).

  • Diocese of Barrackpore
  • Diocese of Durgapur
  • Diocese of Calcutta

Other Denominations[edit]

Other denominations include:[4]


Bengali Christians are considered a model minority in South Asia and usually enjoy a high literacy rate, low male-female sex ratio and a better socio-economic status.[5] Christian missionaries operate many schools, hospitals and shelters for the poor. They receive support from the Indian and Bangladeshi governments.

Dhaka, Chittagong, Barisal, Khulna and Northern District Side have significant Christian populations.


Lusophone heritage[edit]

Many Catholic Bengali Christians have Portuguese surnames. In a tradition similar to Bengali Muslims (who have Arabic and Persian names), Bengali Christians adopted Portuguese surnames due to the early influence of Portuguese missionaries in spreading Christianity. Common Catholic Bengali Christian surnames include Gomes, Rozario, D'Costa, Gonsalvez, Cruze, Dias, D’Silva and D’Souza among others.[6]

Christmas is known as “Borodin” (Big Day) and is a public holiday in both Bangladesh and Indian West Bengal.

Easter is another main event of Christians around the World & Bangladeshi Churches celebrating this Spiritual Occasion with so much respectfully. Many Churches jointly arranged an Open Services - called Sunrise Services with the Believers.

Notable Bengali Christians[edit]

Religious Leaders[edit]

Freedom Fighters[edit]







Bangladesh Army[edit]

Indian Defence Services[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Luchesi, Brigitte (1999), "Bangladesh", in Fahlbusch, Erwin, Encyclopedia of Christianity 1, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, pp. 182–183, ISBN 0802824137
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b World Christian Encyclopedia, Second edition, 2001 Volume 1, p. 368-371
  5. ^
  6. ^