The earliest recorded Christians in the territory of modern-day Bangladesh arrived during the Bengal Sultanate. Portuguese missionaries and traders in Porto Grande, Chittagong built the region's first churches during the 16th century. The Jesuits opened their first mission in 1600. Mughal and colonial Dhaka were home to Armenians, Greeks, Catholics and Anglicans. Islam is the majority religion in Bangladesh (89.1%), followed by Hinduism (10%). Christianity is a minority religion in Bangladesh (0.5%), and together with the other minority religions makes up 0.9% of the population (includes Buddhism, Judaism, etc., 2013 est.).
Christians have greatly served the education and health sectors. This tiny community has some 1000 schools and about 100 health care centers and hospitals. In Bangladesh, the Christian community runs the country's largest cooperative bank in Dhaka.
Having worked in Bangladesh as a missionary since 1952, Father Richard William Timm, C.S.C. won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding, the Asian Nobel Prize, in 1987 in recognition of his work as a teacher, as a biologist studying plant-parasitic worms, and with Caritas on relief efforts.
There are two Catholic archdioceses and six Catholic dioceses in Bangladesh with some 400,000 Catholics. Each diocese is led by its own local bishop. Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario is the highest Catholic official.
The Christian community has some media houses, including The Weekly Pratibeshi, Sargamarta, Bd Christian News and Dhaka Credit News. Pratibeshi is the oldest weekly in the country, established 76 years ago.[when?]