Macao Religion

Publish Time:2016-05-27 12:46:11Source:WTCF

【Introduction】:Under the influence of Christianity and Roman Catholicism, Macau is called “a city of holy names ”

Under the influence of Christianity and Roman Catholicism, Macau is called “a city of holy names.” From the various churches in Macao, it is not difficult to see that Macao is greatly impacted by these two religions. Except for that, we are still able to find trials of other religions in this city.

Roman Catholicism

It has been over 400 years since Roman Catholicism was first introduced to Macao in 16-18th century, which made Macao a place for cultural cohesion. On Jan 23rd, 1576, Roman Catholic Diocese of Macau (Diocese de Macau) was founded as the earliest religious center in the Far East. It contains 6 parishes and 2 mission districts with independent administrative and financial management among parishes. There are over 20 large-sized churches in Macao, including the St. Lazarus Parish, St. Lawrence Parish and St. Anthony Parish, the history of which is all above 300 years. The Portuguese traditional Roman Catholicism and Chinese traditional religion thrive together in Macao. The current religious population of Roman Catholicism tops 20,000, among which, 60% are Chinese. Besides, the churches also play an important role in social rescue. In Macao, there are over 60 Roman Catholicism church schools engaging in junior or middle school education with thousands of teachers on board. At the same time, churches also open childcare centers, clinics, youth rehabilitation centers and hospitals for the elder and disabled. Among church activities, except for the regular mass, there also are traditional religious processions.


In 1807, the Reverend Dr. Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary to China, landed in Macao. Macao now has over 30 Christian churches, about 5000 believers, among which, most are Chinese. Administration and finance between churches are independent. Christian churches in Macao have put a great effort in education and public welfare. They have established 7 welfare institutions, 7 primary schools, 3 middle schools, with a total of 3,000 students. Though the history and power are not as profound as the Roman Catholicism, Christianity has many religious sects, such as the “New apostolic church” and “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”


Buddhism is the predominant religion in Macau with more than 60,000 believers. Some influentual Buddhism groups are “Macao Buddhism Society, Macao Buddhism Union” and so on. The development of Buddhism in Macao can be seen through the renovation and expansion of Buddhism temples. Temple is the main activity ground of Buddhism, so in some way, the scale of temple can reflect the influence of Buddhism.

Guanyin belief is an important part in Buddhism, and the renovation and expansion of Guanyin temple is in accordance with that of the Buddhism. The development of Buddhism can also be manifested in the creation of Buddhism education, Buddhism organization, and Buddhism publication. The Macao female Buddhist theological institute was founded at that period by Buddhist Zhang Lianjue, wife of HongKong gentry-merchant He Dong. As a famous Buddhist, Zhang was very dedicated to public welfare. To improve female social status in Macao and Hong Kong, she founded the day-night schools in Macao and Hong Kong and the female Buddhist theological institute.


Taoism used to have some influence in Macao, now the related belief is A-Ma.


In 1953, Frances Heller, of California, USA, became the first Bahá'í in Macau. It has four Local Spiritual Assemblies.


Islam has a history over 400 years in Macao. In the 16th century, Islam was brought to Macao by Arab and Persian traders. Later on, the status of Macao as a trading spot declined, and with many Arabian merchants leaving the place, believers in Islam had dwindled as well.

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