||: New Delhi
||: 1.3 billion
||: 20 million (1.50 %)
||: 30 Archdioceses, 144 Dioceses
||: Hinduism 79.8%, Islam 14.2%, Christianity 2.3%, Sikhism 1.7%, Buddhism 0.7%, Jainism 0.4%, others 0.65%
Some Christians in India claim the apostolic traditions of St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew, who they say preached the Gospel to their ancestors in two distinct parts of present day India in the second half of the first century.
According to a tradition, St. Thomas preached Gospel on the Malabar coast in 52 AD. Another tradition claims St Bartholomew came to the Mumbai region on the Konkan coast.
Although the exact origin of Indian Christians may be disputed, scholars agree on the Christian presence in India since the second century. The Nestorians and the Manicheans also were present in southern India in the early centuries. There were also pre-Portuguese missions to India from Rome of John de Montecorvino in the 13th century and John de Marignoli in the 14th century.
However, organized missions began with the arrival of Portuguese after Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India in 1498. Portuguese occupied Goa in 1510 and made their base for Christian mission in Asia.
The arrival of British in India (1610), the dominance of East India Company (1757-1857), and colonial rule (1858-1947) were helpful in spreading Protestantism, which began in the 19th century. India now houses Christians of almost all denominations.
With 24 million followers, Christianity is now India's third-largest religion after Hinduism and Islam in a population of 1.3 billion people. Catholics number some 20 million.
Christians are found all across India and in all walks of life with majority of them in parts of South India, the Konkan coast, and north-eastern India. An estimated 80 percent Christians, particularly in northern India, are tribal people and Dalits (former untouchables of lower caste origins.)
Indian Christians have contributed significantly to the nation-building, especially in education and healthcare. They are also well-represented in various spheres of public life.
India has Catholics of three rites, with most Catholics belonging to the Latin rite introduced by the European missioners. The two oriental rites of Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara follow Syriac liturgical patterns.
As of 2018, India has 174 dioceses, of which 132 are Latin, 31 Syro-Malabar, and 11 Syro-Malankara.