Inner view of Cathedral of the Holy Name, Colaba, Mumbai.

Christianity is a minority religion in Maharashtra, a state of India. 79.8% of the population of Maharashtra are Hindus, Christian adherents being 1.0% of the population. The Roman Catholic archdiocese whose seat is in Maharashtra is Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bombay. There are two different Christian ethnic communities in Maharashtra: one is East Indians who are predominantly Roman Catholic and another is Marathi Christians, predominantly Protestant with a small Roman Catholic population. The Catholics in Maharashtra are mainly concentrated in coastal Maharashtra, specially Vasai, Mumbai, Raigad and are known as East Indians, were evangelized by Portuguese missionaries during 15th-16th century. Protestants, who reside throughout the Maharashtra, being significant in Ahmednagar, Solapur, Pune Aurangabad and Jalna are called Marathi Christians, Who were evangelized by British and American missionaries during British rule in India. The Church of North India has dioceses in the state and is a large Protestant church with full communion with the Anglican Church.[1][2]

And some of Christian Revival Church also in Maharashtra.

Christians in Maharashtra
Year Number Percentage


Crucession by Marathi Christian in Mumbai.
Crucession by Marathi Christian in Mumbai.

Christianity was brought to the North Konkan region of Maharashtra by Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles of Christ. Pantaneus visited India about AD 180 and there he found a Gospel of Matthew written in the Hebrew language, left with the Christians there by Barthlomew. This is mentioned by church historian Eusebius, and by Jerome in one of his letters.[5][better source needed] A flourishing Christian Community in the 6th Century was mentioned by Kosmos Indicopleustes and Jordanus, who worked among the Christians in Thana and Sopara areas in the 13th Century. The French Dominican friar, Jordanus Catalani of Severac (in south-western France) started evangelizing activities in Thana and Sopara was the first work of Rome in North Konkan.[6]

Most history of the church in India was lost between the 9th and the 14th Century, as Persia went over to the Nestorianism in 800 AD. Since the provision of church offices and all the apparatus of public worship was looked to a foreign source, the Indian Christians were reduced to "nominal" Christians when this foreign aid was withdrawn.[5] When Dominican and Franciscan Missionaries arrived in the 1300s with the intention of preaching the Gospel, they were surprised to find a small Christian community already in existence. Protestant Missionaries first arrived in Maharashtra from England and the United States in 1813 after the passing of the Charter Act of 1813 by the British parliament.

East Indians

Main article: East Indians

East Indians are an ethno-religious group which resides in the former North Konkan district, Mumbai, Vasai, Virar, and other parts of Thane. Christianity was first installed by Bartholomew, one of Jesus Christ's apostles. Due to shortage of priests for many years, the locals were reduced to being "nominal Christians". it was due to the arrival of Portuguese and with them Jesuit missionaries who spread a new form of Christianity called Roman Catholicism in the area. The name Bombay East Indians was taken in the British India to differentiate native Christians of Greater Bombay, from those of Goa and Mangalore who came to Mumbai in search of jobs, on the occasion of golden jubilee of Queen Victoria.[citation needed]

They are engaged in agriculture, fishing and other occupations handed down to them by their ancestors. Bombay East Indians are generally more anglicised than the other Maharashtrian Christians. The influence of Portuguese Bombay and Bassein era can be seen in their religion and names, but their language has dominated by Marathi since the Mahratta Confederacy seized control of Konkan in 1739 AD.[citation needed]

Bardeskar Catholics

Bardeskar Catholics (Konkani: Bardeskar Katholik) are an ethno-religious community of Catholics following the Latin Rite of worship from the Sindhudurg diocese (Ratnagerry, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur district) in the Konkan division. Some are also found in Uttar Kannada, Belgaum& Dharwad districts of Karnataka, India. They are Konkani people and bear Malvani Konkani as their mother tongue, church services are also usually held in the same dialect of the Konkani language, they also speak Hindi-Urdu Marathi and English languages.

Marathi Christians

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Pune
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Pune
Hume Memorial church in Ahmednagar
Hume Memorial church in Ahmednagar

Main article: Marathi Christians

Marathi Christians are predominantly Protestant with small numbers of Roman Catholics.They belong to several Protestant denominations, but mainly the Church of North India.British Missionary William Carey was instrumental in translating the Bible into Marathi language.

In Maharashtra, Protestant Christians are mainly converts from Hinduism and some from Islam. The first Protestant mission to India was the American Marathi Mission.[7] The main center of Protestant activity in maharashtra region during British colonial rule was in Ahmadnagar district The first Protestant mission in the district was opened in 1831 by the American Marathi mission in early 1800s.

In Maharashtra, the Protestant missionaries concentrated not only on direct evangelism but also founded numerous small vernacular schools. Missionary John Wilson built Wilson College, Mumbai.[citation needed]

Church in Miri-Maka
Church in Miri-Maka


There are similarities of customs and culture between Hindus and Marathi Christians, such as dress, food and cuisine. The Hindu custom of wearing Saree, Mangalsutra and placing Bindis is still prominent among native Christians. Marathi Christian highly retain their Marathi culture, and they have kept their Pre-Christian surnames. In Maharashtra, great Marathi poet Narayan Wamanrao Tilak realised that a Hindu-Christian synthesis was simply not possible, unless the Christian religion had deep roots in the Indian culture. He trained the Marathi Christians to worship and sing Bhajan and Kirtan. He showed Christian faith in a genuinely Indian way.[citation needed]

List of denominations

[8] [9][10]

Notable Marathi Christians

See also


  1. ^ "Hume, Robert Allen (1847-1929) | History of Missiology". Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Catalog Search Results | HathiTrust Digital Library". Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  3. ^ "Total population by religious communities". Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Indian Census 2011". Census Department, Government of India. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  5. ^ a b Baptista, Elsie Wilhelmina (1967). The East Indians: Catholic Community of Bombay, Salsette and Bassein. Bombay East Indian Association.. Contents taken from East-Indians –- History (PDF, 80 KB) article, has been borrowed mainly from Elsie Wilhelmina Baptista's above book.
  6. ^ Thana District Gazeeteer Part - I: Popualation:Christians-History
  7. ^ H. L. Richard (1998). Following Jesus in the Hindu Context: The Intriguing Implications of N.V. Tilak's Life and Thought. William Carey Library. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-87808-288-9.
  8. ^ World Christian Encyclopedia, Second edition, 2001 Volume 1, p. 368-371
  9. ^
  10. ^ "The Pentecostal Mission , Ghorpadi - Pune".