Christianity in Sudan

Andrew C. Wheeler



The State of Studies 

Like Ethiopia, but unlike other parts of Eastern Africa, Sudan bas a very long Christian history going back to the early centuries of the Christian era. Consequently the history of the Church in Sudan is a story fascinating in its historical, geographical and cultural diversity. There is diversity too in the thoroughness with which scholars have engaged with this long history, certain periods being much less covered by historical study. Before embarking on the story of Christianity in the Sudan through nearly 1500 years we need briefly to study the thoroughness with which that story has been studied. 

The history of the Church in Sudan can be divided into three main phases: 

i) 543-1504 The Church in Ancient Nubia. This period in the history of northern Sudan has perhaps been best served by scholars, both historians and archaeologists. During the colonial period (Sudan became independent in 1956) much valuable archaeological work was done. Much of this work was published in Sudan Notes and Records and later in the archaeological journal Kush, published from 1952. [1] The most valuable secondary work on Christian Nubia belongs to this period. Monneret de Villard's Storia della Nubia Cristiana (1938) remains indispensable despite the fact that it has not been translated into English. For more, click here

Christianity in Sudan

Christianity has a long history in the region that is now Sudan and South Sudan. Ancient Nubia was reached by Coptic Christianity by the 2nd century. The Coptic Church was later influenced by Byzantine Christianity. From the 7th century, the Christian Nubian kingdoms were threatened by the Islamic expansion, but the southernmost of these kingdoms, Alodia, survived until 1504.

Southern Sudan (including what is now South Sudan) remained long dominated by traditional (tribal) religions of the Nilotic peoples, with significant conversion to Anglicanism (Episcopal Church of Sudan) during the 20th century. for more, click here.