Christianity is very important in Sub-Saharan Africa today. The number of new Christians is growing. All the Christian denominations exist and new protestant communities arise there. But locаl African beliefs do not disappear. The process of interaction of the two worldview systems is long and complicate. We can speak about three steps of it (the 4th century AD, the 15th–16th centuries AD and since the 19th century). At the beginning, the work of Christian missionaries was not successful. Only in the 19th century Christianity began spread widely. At the first time, Africans took European material things (icons, books, crosses, etc.) as magic fetishes of new strong religions and included them into their own rituals. Then they included elements of their traditional beliefs into Christianity. The next step is the arising of syncretic Afro-Christian churches. Some of them became independent organizations. Christianity in Africa changed its attitude to African beliefs too. For a long time Christian priests absented new Christians if they made traditional customs (initiations of children, plural marriage, addressing traditional magicians, etc.). Later they became not so straight. Now Vatican is conducting official policy of africanization. The first Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa were Catholics. But the 20th century became the time of Protestant churches. Nowadays Sub-Saharan Africa has all the Christian denominations, but keeps traditional believes as well. However, sometimes Christianity is only a veil covering deeply-rooted traditional beliefs.

Keywords: Lvova E.S., Christianity, local traditions, Africa, africanization.


DOI: 10.22250/2072-8662.2018.4.45-54

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About the author


 Eleonora S. Lvova – Dr.Hab., Professor at the Department of African Studies of IAAS MSU;

Moscow, Okhotny ryad, 11; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.