Nigeria is a country with a rich history of religion and spirituality. Christianity, in particular, has played an important role in the country’s development and culture. The spread of Christianity in Nigeria can be traced back to the 16th century when Capuchin priests built the first church in Ode-Itsekiri.
Since then, various Christian denominations have been established in Nigeria, each with its unique history and impact on the country’s development. In this article, we will explore the top 10 oldest churches in Nigeria and their history, highlighting their contributions to the country’s culture and development.
10 Oldest Churches In Nigeria
1. St. Anthony’s Monastery
St. Anthony’s Monastery, also called “Satoni” – This Catholic church was built between 1690-1692, making it the oldest church in Nigeria. However, the first church in Nigeria was actually built in the 16th century by Capuchin priests in Ode-Itsekiri, not in Badagry as commonly believed.
2. Anglican Church Mission Society (CMS)
The CMS started in 1841 and was established in 1842 in Badagry by Henry Townsend. The Anglican Church has played a significant role in Nigeria’s history and has been instrumental in the spread of Christianity throughout the country.
3. Methodist Church Nigeria
Christianity was first preached in Badagry on September 24, 1842, by Thomas Birch Freeman of Wesley Mission (now Methodist Church). The Methodist Church has a long history in Nigeria and has been involved in various social and educational programs.
4. Church of Nigeria
This church was established in 1842 (Badagry) by Henry Townsend. It is the largest Anglican Church in Nigeria and has been involved in various social and political issues in the country.
5. Nigeria Baptist Convention
Established in 1914, the Nigerian Baptist Convention has its origins in an American mission of the International Mission Board in 1849 led by Rev. Thomas Jefferson Bowen. He arrived in the Badagry area of Lagos State on August 5, 1850. The Baptist Church has been involved in various educational and social programs in Nigeria.
6. African Church
African Church was founded in 1901 as a result of a disagreement in the Anglican Church between missionaries and a group of African Christians over indigenous leadership. The African Church has been involved in various social and political issues in Nigeria.
7. Apostolic Church Nigeria
The church was established in 1918, the church has its origins in the founding of a prayer group called “Precious Stone” in Ijebu Ode by Anglican leader Joseph Shadare. The church left the Anglican Church in 1922 and joined the Apostolic Church in 1931.
8. Salvation Army
Salvation Army was established in 1920 by William Booth, who was born in Nottingham, England, in 1829 and experienced poverty from an early age. The Salvation Army has been involved in various social and educational programs in Nigeria.
9. Cherubim and Seraphim
Established in 1925-26 as a distinct section of the Aladura founded by Yoruba prophet Moses Orimolade Tunolase and Christiana Abiodun Akinsowon, an Anglican who had visions and trances. The society’s doctrines include revelation and divine healing.
10. Church of the Lord (Aladura)
Church of the Lord (Aladura) started in 1925 by Josiah Olunowo Oshitelu, an Anglican catechist and schoolteacher whose unusual visions, fastings, and devotions led to his dismissal in 1926. The Church of the Lord has been involved in various social and political issues in Nigeria.