Mozambique - (Africa)

Information about Mozambique

799380 square kilometres
indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 30% (RCath 3 million, Prot 2.2%), Muslim 20%
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)

Until 1975 the country was under Portuguese colonial rule. As an independent country, Mozambique became a People’s Republic with Marxist-Leninist orientation. In the 1980s the country was devastated by a civil war which was instigated and supported by the Republic of South Africa and Western countries to counteract the influence of Communism in Africa; it took a toll of more than a million lives. With the end of the apartheid system in South Africa a new era also began for Mozambique. Civil war was ended by the Rome peace agreement of October 4, 1992.
RCath missionary work began with the arrival of the Portuguese (1497/98). There were missionaries on Vasco da Gama’s vessels. The first church was built in 1505 in Sofala. The missionaries were primarily Jesuits and Dominicans. In 1616 Mozambique, which had been part of the Archdiocese of Goa, was recognized as a separate ecclesiastical area. Generally, the Christianization of the country was slow. By the middle of the 19th century there were no priests in the interior, and only four or five Goan priests were serving parishes along the coast. New efforts were made in the second part of the 19th and in the 20th century. In recent times the RCath Church has rapidly grown. Today there are eight dioceses.
Protestantism came to Mozambique in the 19th century. The first missionaries were not Europeans but Mozambicans who had come into contact with Prot missionaries and catechists in the neighboring countries and returned home. Prot missions had great difficulty in being accepted by the colonial authorities, who feared that foreign ideas might penetrate the culture. “Everybody recognizes that it is not good colonial policy to allow foreign missionaries ... instilling in the natives religious convictions and, who knows, giving them the inspiration for political ideas that suit their purpose or that of those who pay them (Statement on the District of Lourenšo Marques, December 22, 1888).” Due to the pressure of other colonial powers Prot missionaries were increasingly admitted after the Berlin Conference of 1885. Ref missionaries came from Switzerland (Mission suisse en Afrique du Sud), Scotland, South Africa, and the United States. Apart from Ref and Congreg churches Meth, Bapt, Angl, Nazarenes, Advent, and several Pent and Independent churches are today implanted in the country. In 1948 the Prot churches decided to form a Christian Council of Mozambique; today it has 18 member churches. In 1978 an Alliance of Independent Churches was established.


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