Church in Bangladesh
  • Capital:
  • Dhaka
  • Population:
  • 150 million
  • Catholic:
  • 350,000 (5 %)
  • Diocese:
  • 1 archdiocese, 6 dioceses
  • Parish:
  • 100
  • Major religion:
  • Islam 89.5%, Hinduism 9.6%
European missioners began to arrive in the east coast of India in the 16th century as they accompanied Portuguese traders and mercenaries, who mostly came from southwestern coast of India, a Portuguese stronghold at the time.

The first Portuguese expedition to Bengal landed in Chittagong in 1517. With the permission of Mughal Emperor Humayun Portuguese settled in Satgaon and later in Hooghly, both now in West Bengal state of India. They also settled at Arakan kingdom, present Rakhine state in Myanmar, and Diang and Chittagong of Bangladesh. Missioners followed them eventually.
Two Portuguese Jesuit priests -- Father Francesco Fernandes and Father Domingo da Sousa -- built the first church of Bangladesh at Iswaripur in the Sunderban forest area, south of present southern Satkhira town and dedicated it on January 1, 1600 to "the Holy Name of Jesus." Nothing of this first Christian structure remains now.

Later Portuguese Jesuits had to discontinue in Bangladesh area, but Augustinian priests replaced them. Dom Antonio da Rozario, son of a local Hindu landlord converted by the Portuguese, spearheaded conversion of thousands of low-caste Hindus in the north of Dhaka.

Englishman William Carey was the first and most famous Protestant missionary who arrived at Serampore in West Bengal in 1793. Carey, a Baptist, heralded the new missionary era in Bengal. Since then hundreds of Protestant churches and organizations have established themselves in the country.

Some 600,000 Christians live in Bangladesh now, a tiny minority in a predominantly Muslim country 150 million people. Catholics with some 350,000 members is the single largest Christian group.

  • Capital:
  • Dhaka
  • Population:
  • 150 million
  • Catholic:
  • 350,000 (5 %)
  • Diocese:
  • 1 archdiocese, 6 dioceses
  • Parish:
  • 100
  • Major religion:
  • Islam 89.5%, Hinduism 9.6%
Christians in Bangladesh are highly regarded by Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists for their significant contribution in the fields of education, health and development services to people, mainly to the poor, underprivileged and helpless.

Christian missioners contributed immensely to Bengali language as they promoted a more colloquial and simplified form of the language than using its highly sophisticated form.

A catechism book printed in 1743 in Lisbon, Portugal, is the first colloquial Bengali book in print and it used Latin script. Missioners also credited for codifying Bengali grammar and writing a Bengali-Portuguese and Portuguese-Bengali dictionary.

Carey translated and printed the Bible in Bengali, also wrote many other books and a dictionary of Bengali language. He also helped develop Bengali typefaces for printing. Carey also published newspapers and periodicals.

Bangladesh currently has seven Catholic dioceses, including an archdiocese.

UCAN Directory
Dioceses
UCAN Directory

Chittagong

Dhaka

Khulna

Rajshahi

Rangpur

Sylhet