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Bengali Christians

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Christian cross Bengali Christians (Bengali: ?????? ?????????) are adherents of Christianity among the Bengali people. Christianity took root in Bengal after the arrival of Portuguese voyagers in the 16th century. It witnessed further conversions among the Bengali upper-caste elite during the 19th century Bengali Renaissance.

Bengali Christians have made significant contributions to Bengali culture, commerce and society. The region is home to venerable Christian missionary institutions, including the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa.

Table of contents
  1. History
  2. Denominations
  3. Demographics
  4. Culture
  5. Notable Bengali Christians
  6. See also


Christianity was established in Bengal by the Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century. Basilica of the Holy Rosary, Bandel is the first church known to have been constructed in 1599 at Hugli-Chuchura in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, India. Another is known to have been established from the historical records was in Ishwaripore, Jessore (erstwhile Chandecan) in 1600 under patronage of Pratapaditya which later was ransacked. Chittagong (erstwhile also referred to as Diang) with significant Portuguese and trading settlements had first hermitage and churches erected around this time. The Portuguese settlement in Chittagong hosted the first Vicar Apostolic in Bengal. The Portuguese from there moved to Arakan, where they would transport Hindu and Muslim slaves, about 42,000 in number from 1621 to 1624, and converted 28,000 of those enslaved peoples to Christianity. Jesuit missionaries also established churches in Bandel and Dhaka. In 1682, there were 14,120 Roman Catholics in Bengal. William Carey translated the Bible into Bengali in 1809. Many upper-class Bengalis in the British Indian capital Calcutta converted to Christianity during the Bengal Renaissance.

The Missionaries of Charity was founded by the Mother Teresa in Calcutta in 1950. It played a major role in supporting and sheltering refugees during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.


Roman Catholic Church

The Catholic Church in Bangladesh is based in the Archdiocese of Dhaka, with dioceses in Dinajpur, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Rajshahi and Archdiocese of Chittagong, with dioceses on Barisal and Khulna . The Roman Catholic Church in West Bengal is based in the Archdiocese of Calcutta. Anglican Communion

There are three dioceses of the Anglican Church of Bangladesh: St. Paul's Cathedral, Kolkata is the seat of the Anglican Diocese of Calcutta (1813) of the Church of North India (CNI). Other denominations

Other denominations include:

Bengali Christians are considered a model minority in South Asia and usually enjoy a high literacy rate, low male-female sex ratio and a better socio-economic status. Christian missionaries operate many schools, hospitals and shelters for the poor. They receive support from the Indian and Bangladeshi governments.

Dhaka, Chittagong, Barisal, Khulna and Northern District Side have significant Christian populations.


Lusophone heritage

Most Catholic Bengali Christians have Portuguese surnames. In a tradition similar to Bengali Muslims (who have Arabic and Persian names), Bengali Christians adopted Portuguese surnames due to the early influence of Portuguese missionaries in spreading Christianity. Common Catholic Bengali Christian surnames include Gomes, Rozario, D'Costa, Gonsalvez, Cruze, Dias, D'Silva and D'Souza among others.

Christmas is known as "Borodin" (Big Day) and is a public holiday in both Bangladesh and Indian West Bengal.

Notable Bengali Christians

movement. Religious Leaders Freedom Fighters Arts Industry Scholars Educators Journalists Politicians Bangladesh Army Indian Defence Services Sports
See also

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