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Christianity in Indonesia


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Christianity was effectively brought to Indonesia by the Portuguese maritime trading empire in the 16th cent. Franciscans from Portugal established themselves in the Moluccas in 1534. After the Dutch replaced the Portuguese in the Indonesian archipelago in the 17th cent., the RC Church dwindled; for the next 200 years the Dutch Reformed Church was the only officially recognized Church within the sphere of influence of the Dutch East India Company, which brought clergy from the Netherlands for its employees. In the 19th and early 20th cents. Dutch and German missionaries of various denominations were active and both Protestants and RCs received financial aid from the Dutch colonial government. To avoid conflict the Dutch authorities assigned different bodies to separate areas. Dutch rule and European missionary enterprise were disrupted by the Japanese occupation (1942–5). In 1949 the new nation of Indonesia came into existence. Protestantism and RCism are officially recognized religions. Christians form about 10 per cent of the population.

Subjects: Christianity.


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