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    Christmas in Pakistan

    Christmas in Pakistan


     


    A two percent minority of Christians in Pakistan celebrates the religious holiday of Christmas. Christianity is the second largest religious minority in Pakistan after Hinduism. The total number of Christians in Pakistan is approximately 2,800,000 in 2008, or 1.6% of the population. Of these, approximately half are Roman Catholic and half Protestant. Most Christians in Pakistan are descended from recent converts during British rule. In 1877, on St. Thomas' Day at Westminster Abbey, London, Rev Thomas Valpy French was appointed the first Anglican Bishop of Lahore, a large diocese which included all of the Punjab, then under British colonial rule, and remained so until 1887, during this period he also opened the Divinity College, Lahore in 1870. Rev Thomas Patrick Hughes served as a Church Missionary Society missionary at Peshawar (1864–84), and became an oriental scholar, and compiled a 'Dictionary of Islam' (1885). Missionaries accompanied colonizing forces from Portugal, France, and Great Britain. Christianity was mainly brought by the British rulers of India in the later 18th and 19th century. This is evidenced in cities established by the British, such as the port city of Karachi, where the majestic St. Patrick's Cathedral, Pakistan's largest church stands, and the churches in the city of Rawalpindi, where the British established a major military cantonment. All of the modern Christians in Pakistan are descended from converts from during British rule.

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