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definition - Religion_in_Paraguay

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Religion in Paraguay

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Current Situation

According to article 24 of the Paraguayan Constitution of 1992, freedom of religion is recognised and there is no official religion. Relations between the State and the Catholic church are to be based on independence, co-operation and autonomy. The independence of religious organisations is guaranteed.[1]

As can be seen below, the majority of Paraguayans are Roman Catholic, although the percentage of Paraguayans who identify themselves as Catholic has dropped slightly. There has been a corresponding growth in the influence of Evangelical churches in recent years. There are a number of Indigenous religions and there are also Buddhist (probably due to immigration from Korea), Jewish and Muslim communities in the country.

Religions in Paraguay according to 2002 and 1992 censuses [1]

Religions in Paraguay[2]
ReligionNumber of followers 2002Percentage 2002Number of followers 1992Percentage 1992Change 1992-2002
Indigenous & Catholic2230.01N/AN/AN/A
Russian (Orthodox)4700.01%N/AN/AN/A
Other Orthodox9500.02%N/AN/AN/A
Indigenous & Anglican29<0.01%N/AN/AN/A
Indigenous & Mennonite8<0.01%N/AN/AN/A
Traditional Christianity* (excl. Catholicism)21,1330.54%14,4970.49%+0.05%
Christian and Missionary Alliance87<0.01%N/AN/AN/A
Assemblies of God9,8790.25%N/AN/AN/A
Maranatha Baptist Church10,3550.27%N/AN/AN/A
Centro familiar de adoración aposent.5130.01%N/AN/AN/A
Comunidad Cristiana1,0460.03%N/AN/AN/A
Plymouth Brethren - Open Brothers6650.02%N/AN/AN/A
Church of God (Pentecostal)1,5500.04%N/AN/AN/A
Church of God of Prophecy (Pentecostal)149<0.01%N/AN/AN/A
Free Methodists156<0.01%N/AN/AN/A
Church of the Nazarene86<0.01%N/AN/AN/A
Neotestimentaria (Baptist)2760.01%N/AN/AN/A
Other Evangelical186,1074.78%N/AN/AN/A
Seventh Day Adventist7,8040.20%N/AN/AN/A
Dios es Amor (Pentecostal)1,2900.03%N/AN/AN/A
Universal Church of the Kingdom of God7140.02%N/AN/AN/A
Unification Church116<0.01%N/AN/AN/A
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)9,3740.24%N/AN/AN/A
Pueblo de Dios12,1140.31%N/AN/AN/A
Jehovah's Witnesses11,8050.30%N/AN/AN/A
Mount Zion Church2330.01%N/AN/AN/A
Other pseudo-Christian groups8250.02%N/AN/AN/A
Post-16th-Century Christian demoninations**264,2336.78%138,5734.70%+2.08%
Hinduism (Tao)151<0.01%N/AN/AN/A
Bahá'í Faith225[3]0.01%N/AN/AN/A
"Eastern and Cultural Religions" (excl Islam)***25660.07%2,8110.10%-0.03%
Spiritualists - E.C.Basilio2890.01%N/AN/AN/A
Other, Spiritualist66<0.01%N/AN/AN/A
Indigenous Religions23,7410.61N/AN/AN/A
Religions not included above1,2080.03%N/AN/AN/A
Unspecified other religion6,1390.16%N/AN/AN/A
Religion not previously mentioned in 1992 Census****31,6680.81%8,1520.28%+0.53%
No religion44,3341.14%23,2360.78%+0.36%
No response37,2060.96%9,7900.33%+0.63%
Total no. of participants3,892,603100%2,949,099100%-


  • Traditional Christianity taken to include Anglicanism, all branches of Orthodox Church, Lutheranism, Presbyterianism and the Mennonites - all branches that had emerged by the end of the 16th Century (except Catholicism)
    • Post 16th Century Christian dominations includes: Christian and Missionary Alliance, Assemblies of God, Maranatha Baptist Church, Centro familiar de adoración aposent., Comunidad Cristiana, Plymouth Brethren - Open Brothers, Independent, Church of God (Pentecostal), Church of God of Prophecy (Pentecostal), Methodism, Free Methodism, Church of the Nazarene, Neotestimentaria (Baptist), Pentecostal, Other Evangelical, Seventh Day Adventist , Dios es Amor (Pentecostal), Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Unification Church, Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Pueblo de Dios, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mount Zion Church & Other pseudo-Christian groups
      • Eastern and Cultural Relgions includes: Hinduism (Tao), Buddhism, Reyukai, Shintoism & Bahá'í ****Religions not previously mentioned in the 1992 census include: Rosacrucis, Spiritualists - E.C.Basilio, Umbanda, Other, Spiritualist, Mentalism, Indigenous Religions, Religions not included above & Unspecified other religion

Roman Catholicism in Paraguay

Main article Roman Catholicism in Paraguay

Catholicism has long been the most important religion in Paraguay, the Bishopric of Asunción was created in 1547[4]. The majority of government officials are catholics and a number of Catholic festivals are public holidays (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Feast of The Assumption of the Virgen Mary [15 August], Feast of The Immaculate Conception [8 December] and Christmas[5].

Many people mark the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with a pilgrimage to Caacupé . The Basilica of Caccupe contains a statuette of Our Lady of the Miracles. Pope John Paul II visited Caacupe in 1987.

The Church maintains the Universidad Católica "Nuestra Señora de la Asunción".

Bahá'í Faith in Paraguay

The Bahá'í Faith in Paraguay begins after `Abdu'l-Bahá, then head of the religion, mentioned the country in 1916.[6] Paraguayan Maria Casati was the first to join the religion in 1939 when living in Buenos Aires.[7] The first pioneer to settle in Paraguay was Elizabeth Cheney late in 1940[8] and the first Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly of Asunción was elected in 1944.[8][9] By 1961 Paraguayan Bahá'ís had elected the first National Spiritual Assembly and by 1963 there were 3 local assemblies plus other communities.[10] Recent estimates of Bahá'ís mention 5500[11] or 13000[12] though the state Census doesn't mention the Bahá'ís.[13]

Judaism in Paraguay

The first synagogue in Paraguay was established in 1917 by Sephardic Jews who had emigrated from Palestine, Turkey and Greece; though there had previously been some isolated Jewish settlers from Europe.[14]

Ashkenazi Jews from the Ukraine and Poland founded the Unión Hebraica in the 1920s, while in the 1930s between 15,000 and 20,000 refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia fled to Paraguay to escape the holocaust. Many of these later moved on to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Those who remained were later joined by immigrants who were mostly survivors of the concentration camps.[14]

Today, the Jewish community has around a 1000 members who live mainly in Asunción. There is a Jewish school Escuela Integral Estado de Israel. Asunción has three synagogues: Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Chabad and a Jewish museum.[14]

Islam in Paraguay

Main article Islam in Paraguay

The 1992 census recorded 872 Muslims in Paraguay 486 of which were in the Alto Parana department, the capital of which is Ciudad del Este. There are also communities in Asunción and Itapua (the capital fo which is Encarnación)[15]. As in other parts of Latin America, many of these are descended from immigrants from Syria and Lebanon, though some may also be from Bangladesh and Pakistan[16]

Latter Day Saints in Paraguay

File:Asunción temple by Bwood720.jpeg

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims more than 70,000 members in Paraguay and that its membership has doubled in the past five years.[17]

External links

  • Paraguayan Constitution[2]
  • Dirección General de Estádisticas y Censos [3]
  • Virgin of Caacupé [4]
  • Jews of Paraguay [5]


  1. ^ Paraguay: Constitución de 1992
  2. ^ www.dgeec.gov.py
  3. ^ This number is reported by email, but there is no online reference to this number. See article Bahá'í Faith in Paraguay.
  4. ^ Paraguay - RELIGION
  5. ^ http://www.libertadeslaicas.org.mx/paginas/infoEspecial/historia/02Historiografia/10040212.pdf
  6. ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá (1991). Tablets of the Divine Plan (Paperback ed.). Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 31–32. ISBN 0877432333. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/TDP/tdp-6.html. 
  7. ^ Cameron, G.; & Momen, W. (1996). A Basic Bahá'í Chronology. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. pp. 254, 263, 458. ISBN 0853984022. 
  8. ^ a b Lamb, Artemus (November 1995). The Beginnings of the Bahá'í Faith in Latin America:Some Remembrances, English Revised and Amplified Edition. 1405 Killarney Drive, West Linn OR, 97068, United States of America: M L VanOrman Enterprises. http://bahai-library.com/books/latinamerica.lamb.html. 
  9. ^ Effendi, Shoghi (1944). God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 399. ISBN 0-87743-020-9. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/GPB/gpb-26.html.iso8859-1#gr55. 
  10. ^ The Bahá'í Faith: 1844-1963: Information Statistical and Comparative, Including the Achievements of the Ten Year International Bahá'í Teaching & Consolidation Plan 1953-1963, Compiled by Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land, pages 15, 108
  11. ^ "Republic of Paraguay". Operation World. Paternoster Lifestyle. 2001. http://www.operationworld.org/country/para/owtext.html. Retrieved 2098-07-25. 
  12. ^ "Compare Countries International > Compare Countries > Brazil Paraguay". The Association of Religion Data Archives. 2005. http://www.thearda.com/internationalData/MultiCompare2.asp?c=176,%203. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  13. ^ "CUADRO P11: PARAGUAY: Población de 10 años y más por grupos de edad, según área urbana-rural, sexo y religión, 2002." (pdf). Paraguay. Resultados Finales Censo Nacional de Población y Viviendas. Año 2002 - Total País.. DGEEC, Gov of Paraguay. 2002. http://www.dgeec.gov.py/Publicaciones/Biblioteca/Web%20Paraguay%20Total%20Pais/P11%20total.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  14. ^ a b c Jews of Paraguay
  15. ^ Dirección General de Estadísticas, Encuestas y Censos
  16. ^ Los Musulmanes - The Spanish Ummah of the Muslim world
  17. ^ LDS Newsroom - Paraguay


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