The History of Christianity in Indonesia – A Short Explanation – Indonesia is a country with different religions. The people in Indonesia live in harmony even with different religions. Christianity is the second biggest religion in Indonesia. The population of Christian in Indonesia becomes the second biggest country in ASEAN and the fourth biggest country in Asia. Christianity in Indonesia can be divided into some groups that are Protestant as the largest group and Catholics. Well, the Christianity population is spread throughout the Indonesia areas. Christianity becomes the majority religion in some provinces especially in the East of Indonesia. Speaking about the distribution of Christianity in Indonesia cannot be separated from the Christianization process through some colonialism and trades.
Christianity has been practiced in Indonesia since the 12th century. It is proven by the records of Christian Egyptians. The records talk about the presence of Church in Barus, North Sumatera. In the past, Barus was frequently visited by some traders including the Indian traders. Therefore, it is suggested that the Indian traders who bring the Christian religion in North Sumatra. And, it was also linked to the Indian Saint Thomas Christians. However, there is no evidence of the community anymore. After that, Christianity was brought by the Portuguese in the 16th Century.
On the early arrival, Portuguese that came in Malacca Sultanate in 1509 was welcomed by the local people. However, due to the conflict between Malaccan Muslim and Portuguese Christian, there was a negative sense of Christian in that area as well as the Aceh. Up until now, Christianity becomes the minority in those areas. The Christianization process was also conducted by the Dutch. It was done after the Portuguese went off from Indonesia. Dutch was built a center of Indie that was called as VOC in Batavia (previous name of Jakarta). Dutch made some programs related to the Christianization process. However, since there were some conflicts between the local people and Dutch, the Christianization process in Java was not going well.
However, the Christianization process was going well in some provinces such as East Nusa Tenggara, Papua, Maluku, North Sulawesi, and North Sumatera. Nowadays, East Nusa Tenggara is well known as the largest population of Christian in Indonesia. Each region of East Nusa Tenggara has different denominations of Protestantism and Catholicism. Papua is an area with the second-highest percentage of Christian after East Nusa Tenggara. It is dominated by the Protestant group. And, North Sumatera becomes the third-highest percentage of Christian in Indonesia. North Sulawesi becomes the fourth-highest percentage of Christian in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the population of Christian in Maluku is about 40% of the total population.