Christianity in Burundi

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Regina Mundi Cathedral, a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Bujumbura
Farewell mass in Bujumbura

Christianity is the majority religion of Burundi. According to estimate, between 75–94 percent of the Burundian population are Christian. Of these, the majority (60–73 percent) are Catholics and Protestants make up the remainder (15–20 percent). The religion first entered the country under European colonial rule (1890–1962) and remains popular. There are estimated to be 557 separate Churches registered in the country.


Christianity is not indigenous to Burundi and arrived during the period of European colonial rule. Germans brought Protestantism and Belgians introduced Roman Catholicism to the country. Under German rule (1894–1916), Christianity remained a minority religion in the country. At the start of Belgian rule (1916–62) there were just 7,000 Christians in the entire country.[1] Their number grew rapidly during the interwar period when the Belgian authorities encouraged the spread of Christianity, especially Catholicism, as part of the colonial civilising mission.[2] The religion remained popular after independence in 1962. Among the observant Christians is the incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader during the Burundian Civil War, who is a born again Protestant.[3]


Although Burundi is officially a secular state, several religious observances are celebrated as national holidays. This includes Christian festivals such as the Feasts of the Ascension and the Assumption as well as Christmas.[4]

Number of adherents[edit]

Although it is accepted that Christians represent the majority of the population of Burundi, there is no consensus about the exact size of the population that they represent. The United States Department of State estimated in 2010 that 75 percent of Burundians are Christian of which 60 percent are Catholic and 15 percent Protestant.[4] According to the Pew Research Center from 2010, the number of Christians represents 94.1 percent of the national population of whom 73 percent are Catholic and 20 percent Protestant.[5]

Burundian Christians are divided into separate Churches, often very small in size, which differ by religious belief. According to a 2014 estimate, there are 557 different Christian Churches in the country.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gahama 2001, p. 217.
  2. ^ Gahama 2001, pp. 217-9.
  3. ^ a b "Burundi law to limit church numbers". BBC. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Burundi". International Religious Freedom Report 2010. United States Department of State. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Global Christianity". Pew Research Centre. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2016.


  • Gahama, Joseph (2001). Le Burundi sous administration belge: la période du mandat 1919-1939 (2nd ed.). Paris: Karthala. ISBN 2-86537-089-5.