Glimpse of Christianity in Macau

By Karen Luo, Wei Zhien, February 27, 2019 17:02 PM

Macau Pak Kap Chow Baptist Church

Macau Christian Prison Ministries

Macau Baptist church, founded in 1904

Originally built in the early 19th century, Morrison Chapel or Macau Protestant Chapel, is an Anglican Chapel.

Inside Morrison Chapel

St. Dominic's Church, Macau, which was fist established in 1587

Inside St. Dominic's Church

Macau Bible Institute, a non-demonational Bible school founded in 1982

One of the classrooms of Macau Bible Institute

The Ruins of St. Paul's, the ruins of a 17th-century complex that originally included St. Paul's College and the Church of St. Paul, Santo António, Macau

Colégio Mateus Ricci, a Roman Catholic kindergarten through secondary school in Macau

The commemorative stone plaque of Robert Morrison, Old Protestant Cemetery in Macau

The grave of Robert Morrison in the Old Protestant Cemetery in Macau

A man distributing New Testament Bibles and gospel tracts to tourists on the way up to the Ruins of St. Paul's, Jan 2019.

The tombstone of Samuel Dyer, the father-in-law of James Hudson Taylor, the Old Protestant Cemetery in Macau

Chi Tou Church, the Church of Christ in China

Christianity in Macau has a long history. Macau was the first point in China to which the Gospel came, brought by Jesuit missionaries in 1552, as the Portuguese came to establish a foothold in China. The Catholic Church in Macau began by only using Portuguese in its ministry since it was more interested in China and Japan. Several large catherals as well as theological College were built. The largest was St. Paul's Cathedral, of which only its front stone facade remains today. Despite 450 years in Macau, Catholics make up only about 5-10% of the population, depending on what figures you use.

The Protestants' history began with the coming of Robert Morrison in 1807. He was an employee of the British East India Company involved in translation, from which skills he was also able to translate the Bible into Chinese. Due to a number of factors, Protestant mission work declined after Morrison and only began again in the early 1900's, with several overseas denominations sending missionaries to plant churches. The Baptists came in 1904 followed by the Church of Christ in China a few years later. 

Although many different denominations began church work in Macau in subsequent years, the Protestant church in Macau has never grown beyond 1% of the city's population, making it the smallest in the Chinese world by percentage. Even the number of Christians in China by percentage is greater than Macau. Today there are only a few churches with over a 100 members. Most churches have under 50 members. The churches are also involved in many other kinds of social ministry including prison and hospital visitation, outreach to children, and rehabilitation for drug and gambling addicts.

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