About country profiles

The country profiles are intended to provide some background and context for the descriptions of the churches. These profiles should be read in conjunction with those of the churches in the country.

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Surface area:117600 km2
GNI per capita:190 US$
Classification:Least developed country




Christian: 51.00%

Muslim: 45.00%

Other: 4.00%


Orthodox: 1906200

Catholics: 151000

Protestants: 55170

Independent: 18200

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In its centuries-long history, Eritrea was successively part of Ethiopia, of the Ottoman empire, an Italian colony (1890), occupied by the British (1941), federated with Ethiopia (1952), and annexed by Ethiopia, in 1962. After long years of war, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front and a coalition of Ethiopian resistance movements defeated in 1991 the dictatorial regime of Ethiopia. In 1993, in a referendum supported by Ethiopia, the Eritrean people voted almost unanimously in favour of independence. Tensions with Ethiopia remained, and border conflicts in 1998 led to a war which ended in 2000 under UN auspices. The final demarcation of the border was still on hold in 2005. Eritrea's economy has suffered from the war, and the country is facing major problems of poverty. Up to 80 percent of the population lives from subsistence farming. The overwhelming majority of Eritrean Christians are Orthodox (Oriental). Before independence they came under the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church became autocephalous in 1994, with the help of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and joined the WCC in 2003. Another WCC member church present in the country is the Mekane Yesus Church (Lutheran), from Ethiopia. Catholic and Protestant presence dates from the 19th and 20th century. More recently, some Pentecostal and Evangelical groups have entered the country.


Ecumenical Organizations and Councils

    WCC member churches based in Eritrea

    WCC member churches present in Eritrea

      Note: The list of churches present in countries is still in development.

      Last updated: 01/01/06