Christianity in Myanmar

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Christianity in Burma has a history dating to the early 18th century. According to the 2014 census, Christianity is the country's second largest religion, practicing by 6.2% of the population,[1] primarily among the Kachin, Chin and Kayin, and Eurasians because of missionary work in their respective areas. About four-fifths of the country’s Christians are Protestants, in particular Baptists of the Myanmar Baptist Convention; Roman Catholics make up the remainder.

Christians are also said to face persecution. Christians have not moved to the higher echelons of power. A small number of foreign organisations have been permitted to enter the country to conduct humanitarian works, such as World Vision following Cyclone Nargis. A long-standing ban on the free entry of missionaries and religious materials has persisted since independence in 1948, which is seen as hostile to Christianity. The burning of Christian churches is reported in South Eastern Myanmar, where the Karens live.

Roman Catholicism in Burma[edit]

There is a significant Roman Catholic minority among the churches of Burma.

Protestantism in Burma[edit]

Adoniram Judson

The Protestant churches of Burma were begun in the early 19th century by Adoniram Judson, an American Baptist missionary. Since the 1800s, Christianity has become deeply rooted and has grown stronger through many adversities. In 1865 the Myanmar Baptist Convention was established and in 1927, the Willis and Orlinda Pierce Divinity School was founded in Rangoon as a Baptist seminary. It is still operating as the Myanmar Institute of Theology, catering to students of many Protestant denominations.

In 1966 all missionaries were expelled by the Burmese government, but the Burmese church has become a vibrant missionary-sending movement, despite financial limitations and geographic isolation. Baptists, Assemblies of God, Methodists and Anglicans form the strongest denominations in Burma.

Most Christians are from the minority ethnic groups such as the Chin, Karen, Lisu, Kachin, and Lahu. The CIA World Factbook[1] mentions that 4% of the population of Myanmar is Christian (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%). The Anglican Communion is represented in Burma by the Church of the Province of Myanmar. As of 2006, it has about 62,000 members.[2]

Orthodox Christianity in Burma[edit]

Main article: Orthodoxy in Burma

There is a small Armenian Orthodox Christian minority in Burma[3] centred on St. John the Baptist Armenian Apostolic Church in Yangon.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Burma. CIA World Factbook.
  2. ^ World Council of Churches, 2006-01-01, Church of the Province of Myanmar. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
  3. ^ Whitehead, Andrew. (27 August 2014) BBC News: The last Armenians of Myanmar. Retrieved on 2015-06-11.
  4. ^ BBC News: The preacher refusing to give up the keys to a Yangon church. (7 October 2014). Retrieved on 2015-06-11.