Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 21 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Anselm of Canterbury
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Christians are the world’s most persecuted religious group, according to studies

Christophe Simon/AFP

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 03/03/17

In 2016, at least 90,000 Christians lost their lives because of their faith

Approximately 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith in 2016 worldwide, making them the most persecuted religious group in the world. That number — which amounts to one Christian killed every six minutes — is down a bit from 2015 when the number was estimated to be approximately 105,000.

According to a Fox News report, nearly a third of the deaths in 2016 were at the hands of Islamic extremists like ISIS, and others were killed by state and non-state persecution. Massimo Introvigne, director of CENSUR, told Vatican Radio that approximately 70 percent of the martyred Christians in 2016 were from tribal villages in Africa, and their deaths were partially a result of the fact that Christians often refuse to take up arms during conflicts.

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity also studies Christian martyrdom, both historical and contemporary, and estimates that between 2005 and 2015 there were 900,000 Christian martyrs worldwide—which comes out to an average of 90,000 per year. The Center says  historical, sociological, and theological arguments in quantifying Christian martyrdom throughout time must be considered. Their definition of a Christian martyr is: “Believers in Christ who have lost their lives prematurely, in situations of witness, as a result of human hostility.”

The number of Christians martyred in 2016 is likely more than 90,000, however, because studies were not able to include data from China and India — two countries with large Christian populations, but with “underground” churches, so the numbers of persecuted and martyred Christians are hard to come by.

Tags:
Christians in the Middle East
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
KIDS,WATERMELON,BEACH
Cerith Gardiner
New study shows that these 2 childhood habits make you a happier ...
2
EUCHARIST
Philip Kosloski
5 Fascinating facts about Jesus in the Eucharist
3
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
4
MASS
Philip Kosloski
5 Essential things used at Mass and their symbolism
5
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
6
PRINCE PHILIP
Cerith Gardiner
The lasting lesson from the late Prince Philip
7
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.