Timor Lorosa'e (East Timor)


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:14870 km2
GNI per capita:550 US$
Classification:Least developed country





Christian: 93.00%

Hindu: 1.00%

Buddhist: 1.00%


Catholics: 727209

Protestants: 52000

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Timor Lorosa'e is the youngest nation in Asia. It is located on the eastern half of the island of Timor, in the Indonesian archipelago. East Timor was a Portuguese colony until 1975, when the democratization of Portugal made it possible to declare independence. In view of the internal political struggle, the country was immediately invaded and occupied by Indonesia. It is estimated that the Indonesian military action against the East Timor Liberation Front and forced pacifica- tion in the twenty-five years of occupation took up to 200,000 lives. In 1999, in a UN-supervised referendum, the population voted for independence. With the support of Indonesia, anti-independence militia conducted indiscriminate violence, killing thousands of people and forcing many more to flee into the mountains or to the western part of Timor. After a successful UN intervention, Timor Lorosa'e was internationally recognized in 2002. The UN assisted also with reconstruction and rehabilitation of the refugees and displaced. Timor Lorosa'e is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an economy that is almost entirely dependent on subsistence agriculture. An agreement has been signed with Australia about the exploitation of off-shore oil and gas reserves. The Catholic Church is the majority church. It has played an important role in the struggle leading up to independence. The Protestant Church of Timor Lorosa'e, although a small minority church, has also been a witness to justice and reconciliation. Another small church is the Assemblies of God (Pentecostal).


Ecumenical Organizations and Councils

    WCC member churches based in Timor Lorosa'e (East Timor)

    WCC member churches present in Timor Lorosa'e (East Timor)

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

      Last updated: 01/01/06