Most citizens of the Republic of the Congo are Christians, although the majority still practice indigenous religious practices to some degree. syncretic with Christianity. Many Christians practice Kimbanguism, which originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The movement retains many Christian elements but believes in ancestor worship. Christianity accounts for nearly 50% of the total population, with 90% of all Christians being Roman Catholics. Muslims are less than 2% in the country with a majority of them as immigrants residing in Brazzaville and a few other urban centers. The rest of the population practices traditional African religion or atheism.
Roman Catholic Christianity
Roman Catholicism is the most widely practiced form of Christianity with over 33% of the total population adhering to its beliefs and teachings. About 2 million people in the Congo are Catholic. The country has one archdiocese and seven dioceses. Faith has a significant impact on the economy, political and social life of the Congolese nation. The church owns most elementary and secondary schools, hospitals, clinics, farms, ranches, and artisan shops. It is the backbone of the Congolese economy. The church provides basic necessities to vulnerable and displaced people. It is a beacon of peace preventing an upsurge in violence. He encourages Christians to engage in social justice and help others heal the physical and psychological wounds of the protracted war in the country.
Protestantism is the third religion in Brazzaville with a share of 19.9% of the total population. Similar to the Catholic faith, the value of Protestant churches in the economy is enormous. From the medical and educational services, the church forms the main body of struggle for the humanitarian and the freedom of a people engulfed by a sea of corruption. The history of Protestantism goes back to the last phase of the 19and Century. Despite the hostile environment the faith encountered in Congo, the church continued to fight for the rights of a people subverted by the abuses of the rubber and ivory economy in Congo and the DRC. The movement received worldwide recognition and the Belgian state took control of the DRC from the local monarchies. After World War II, hostility waned and the faith was allowed access to state grants for its schools and hospitals. The Evangelical Church, the National Church of the Congo, and the Christian Alliance Church in the Congo are the largest Protestants in the country.
Church Awakening and Christian Renewal
Revivalism, or Christian renewal, is an increased interest in the spiritual renewal of a people’s belief in the church that has local, national, and global effect. In recent years, the Congolese press and media have become involved in revivalism to restore moral discipline to a country buried in corruption and civil war. The history of the church dates back to spiritual awakening leader Daniel Ndoundou in 1931. Later in 1947 the Swedish Evangelical Church suffered a spiritual drought where they prayed to God to release an outpouring of his Spirit upon the lost people. To answer their prayers, John Magnusson, a Swedish pastor, received revelation. From then on, spiritual revival began and spread to other churches and institutions. However, Ndoundou remained the central figure of Christian revival by uniting Protestant churches with the new faith for peaceful coexistence. After years of restoration, the faith is now the second largest denomination in the country with over 22.3% followers.
Kimbangu Church dates back to 1921 when Simon Kimbangu founded the church based on his own personal religious beliefs regarding Christianity. Simon was a member of the English Baptist Mission Church before he received the divine call to serve a higher purpose. The religion started in the lower Congo and spread to other territories. He worked out a strict doctrine of Protestantism and gave it to the people. Unlike many Christians, Simon forbade and repudiated witchcraft, magic or any traditional belief. Simon was very persuasive and in a short time managed to attract masses of people from Protestant churches and strict adherence to native religions. In 1921 the government banned the movement, and Simon was incarcerated and mysteriously escaped, amplifying his mystical nature. Later he surrendered and the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and he died in 1950. The faith did not die with him. Exiled believers flourished and in 1959 he gained legal recognition. The church then spread to Brazzaville Congo and today 1.5% of Congolese are faithful to the faith.
Ivory and slave traders from East Africa brought Islam to the region in the 18and Century. Today, the Muslim population represents about 1.6% of the country’s total population. Most Muslims work in the urban centers of the Congo and are immigrants from the war-torn regions of the West African countries of Mali, Togo, Benin, Senegal and Mauritius, South Africa. North and Sunni Muslims from Lebanon.
Religious rights and freedoms
Religious freedoms in Congo-Brazzaville are generally respected. The new constitution covers and protects all religious groups and any discrimination based on religious affiliation is prohibited. However, a recent influx of Muslim refugees from neighboring war-torn countries has fueled local resentment. As a result, a rise in anti-Muslim discourse has emerged in the public sphere, creating tension in mixed areas. Muslim holidays are not recognized by the state, nor are they observed nationally. Yet they are respected. Muslims have the right to celebrate their cultural events without fear of criticism or persecution. Brazzaville has a large mosque built in 2005.
Religious beliefs in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)
|Rank||belief system||Accession in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)|
|1||Roman Catholic Christianity||33.1%|
|2||Church Awakening and Christian Renewal||22.3%|