Christianity in Singapore

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Christians in Singapore constitute approximately 20% of the country's population.[1] In 2010, about 38.5% of the country's Christians identified as Catholic and 61.5% as 'Other Christians' (chiefly Protestants).[2]

Christianity was introduced to Singapore by Anglicans among the first British settlers to arrive shortly after the founding of modern Singapore by Stamford Raffles. The percentage of Christians in Singapore increased from 12.7% in 1990 to 14.6% in 2000.[3] Whilst the 2015 census showed the Christian population increased again, to 18.7%.[4]

The majority of Christian churches are under the umbrella of the National Council of Churches of Singapore.[5] Most belong to Protestant traditions which consist of an array of denominations.


Local Protestant denominations consist of: Anglicans, Methodists, Pentecostals, Baptists, Reformed (mostly Presbyterians and Dutch Reformed), and Lutherans. There are also nondenominational churches from the Churches of Christ, Plymouth Brethren, Charismatic Christian and Evangelical Free Church traditions.

Anglicanism is represented in Singapore by the Diocese of Singapore, which has 26 parishes in Singapore, and is a part of the Church of the Province of South East Asia.

The Methodist Church in Singapore is the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the country, with some 42,000 members in 46 churches.

Pentecostalism has exerted a larger influence with the start of the charismatic movement in the 1970s. There are other organisations such as, Fei Yue Family Centres, Teen Challenge various community hospitals, and Beulah.[6]

Prominent megachurches include New Creation Church, City Harvest Church and Faith Community Baptist Church, which count among Singapore's 10 largest charities, according to a report by The Straits Times in 2019.[7]

The City Harvest Church Criminal Breach of Trust Case involves the misappropriation of S$50.6 million in church funds by church founder Kong Hee and five other key leaders in the church. It is the largest case of its kind in the history of Singapore.

Roman Catholicism[edit]

The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is the oldest Roman Catholic church in Singapore.

The Roman Catholic population in Singapore generally consists of Chinese (including Peranakans) and Indians, along with a few smaller minority groups such as Eurasians (including Kristang) and white Europeans. The Chinese, the majority ethnicity in Singapore, also account for the majority of Catholics. There are 32 Roman Catholic parishes in Singapore, each administering to a particular district in Singapore.[8]

Singapore has a Roman Catholic Archdiocese headed by Archbishop William Goh who presides at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. The Holy Mass in Singapore is celebrated in numerous vernacular tongues, including English, Mandarin, Hokkien, Teochew, Malay, Tamil and Korean (at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd).

Peranakan Roman Catholics are generally concentrated in the Church of the Holy Family in Katong; whilst St. Joseph's Church along Victoria street is a cultural base for Portuguese Eurasians. Roman Catholic parishes in the 18th to early 19th centuries were initially set up along racial and cultural lines by various Roman Catholic missionary groups from Europe.

Various Roman Catholic parishes in Singapore are actively involved in social services such as welfare homes, the opening of soup kitchens as well as missionary trips to places like Indonesia and the Philippines. There is also the Catholic Medical Guild, and other Roman Catholic lobby groups that are based in the Church of St Peter & Paul parish grounds. They are also currently supporting the creation of Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCC) in order to organise and gather the Roman Catholic communities within their neighbourhoods.[9]

A fledgling Greek-Catholic community, dependent on the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic bishop of Melbourne, is also present.

Oriental Orthodoxy[edit]

The Armenian Church is the oldest Christian church in Singapore.

Oriental Orthodox churches in Singapore include the old Armenian Church which has a church building and newly appointed resident clergy. By the Pontifical Order of Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Zaven Yazichyan, a member of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin; has been appointed to serve as the spiritual pastor of Singapore, the Coptic Orthodox Church which meets in the Armenian Church, and the Syriac Orthodox Church; the latter two churches generally minister to the Coptic and Indian communities respectively.

Eastern Orthodoxy[edit]

In Singapore there is also a small but growing Eastern Orthodox congregation made up of ethnic Greeks, Georgians Russians, Ukrainians and Indians, constituting a small minority in the local Christian population. In 2008, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to create Eastern Orthodox Metropolitanate of Singapore and South Asia, with jurisdiction over Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Timor, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.[10] First Diocesan Bishop was appointed in 2011, when Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected Archimandrite Konstantinos (Tsilis) as the first Metropolitan of Singapore and South Asia. He was ordained by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and resides in Singapore.[11] The central parish in Singapore is served by Archimandrite Daniel Toyne.

On 28 December 2018, in response to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's actions in Ukraine,[12] the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to create "a Patriarchal Exarchate in Western Europe with the center in Paris", as well as "a Patriarchal Exarchate in South-East Asia [PESEA] with the center in Singapore." The "sphere of pastoral responsibility" of the PESEA is Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, the Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand.[13][14][15][16]


There are also various nontrinitarian congregations in Singapore, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the True Jesus Church. Other groups have been subject to varying degrees of restriction, most notably Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unification Church.

Education and schools[edit]

A Pew Center study about religion and education around the world in 2016, found that between the various Christian communities, Singapore outranks other nations in terms of Christians who obtain a university degree in institutions of higher education (67%).[17]

Anglican schools[edit]

Methodist schools[edit]

Presbyterian schools[edit]

Roman Catholic schools[edit]


Singapore is a society of diverse religious traditions. The Declaration of Religious Harmony, which was published in 2003, is a seminal document, which the National Council of Churches of Singapore supported and helped create. On 3 September 2008, the sociologist and Pentecostal pastor, Mathew Mathews, who was named a visiting fellow of the Sociology department at the National University of Singapore, interviewed 183 Singaporean clergy. From these interviews he formed the opinion that the Christian clergy in many parts of Singapore were wary of inter-faith dialogue. He claimed that nearly 50% of clergy believe that inter-faith dialogue compromises their own religious convictions. He presented his paper to the Institute of Public Studies (Singapore) in a forum they organised on 2 September 2008.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census of Population 2014 Statistical Release 1 – Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  2. ^ Singapore Census of Population 2015: Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion. Singapore: Department of Statistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore. January 2011. Table 59 ("Resident Population Aged 15 Years and Over by Religion, Ethnic Group and Sex"). ISBN 978-981-08-7808-5.
  3. ^ Sng, Bobby E.K. (2003). In His Good Time: The Story of the Church in Singapore 1819–2002 (3rd ed.). Singapore: Bible Society of Singapore. p. 337. ISBN 981-220-286-2.
  4. ^ "Better-educated S'pore residents look to religion". 13 January 2011. Archived from the original on 16 January 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  5. ^ "National Council of Churches Singapore Website". National Council of Churches Singapore Website. Archived from the original on 25 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Breaking News – Singapore". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  7. ^ hermes (21 July 2019). "NUS, NTU and three mega churches are Singapore's largest charities with business units". The Straits Times. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Archdiocese of Singapore: Catholic Churches". Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Neighbourhood Christian Communities (NCCs)". The Catholic News. Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  10. ^ "Announcement from the Top Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod – EP". Archived from the original on 10 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Metropolitan  : Orthodox Metropolitanate of Singapore and South Asia". Archived from the original on 10 April 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Russian Orthodox Church Synod forms patriarch's exarchates in Europe, Asia in response to Constantinople's actions". 29 December 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  13. ^ "The Russian Orthodox Church establishes a new Exarchate of Singapore and Southeast Asia". Philippine Mission. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Patriarchal Exarchates established in Western Europe and South-East Asia | The Russian Orthodox Church". 28 December 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  15. ^ "ЖУРНАЛЫ заседания Священного Синода от 28 декабря 2018 года (публикация обновляется) / Официальные документы / Патриархия.ru". Патриархия.ru (in Russian). 28 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Russian Orthodox Synod decides to set up exarchates in Western Europe and Southeast Asia". TASS. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Religion and Education Around the World" (PDF). Pew Research Center. 19 December 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 December 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  18. ^ Li, Xueying (3 September 2008). "Clergy 'Wary of Inter-Faith Talks'". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2 October 2018.

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