Gospel Day in Kosrae Date in the current year: August 21, 2019

Gospel Day in Kosrae August 21 is Gospel Day in the Micronesian state of Kosrae. It was established to commemorate the introduction of Christianity on the island of Kosrae. Gospel Day is an official holiday in Kosrae, but it is not celebrated in the three other states.

The Federated States of Micronesia is a small state in Oceania. Its population is predominantly Christian, but the representation of Christian denominations varies from state to state. For example, the population of Pohnpei is evenly divided between Catholics and Protestants, and in Chuuk and Yap, there are slightly more Catholics than Protestants (60% versus 40%). In Kosrae, however, 95% of population are Protestants because Christianity was first introduced here by American Congregational missionaries.

Protestant missionaries first arrived in Kosrae in 1852. Their arrival coincided with a significant population decline that was mainly caused by a deadly epidemic of a disease brought to the island by whalers. Over a period of 40 years, the population of Kosrae declined from 3,000 to slightly more than 300. Since the island lost nearly 90% of population, its traditional hierarchy and associated social institutions began to collapse.

The missionaries introduced a new system of civil government that helped fill the void. Benjamin Snow, the pastor, began to organize town hall type meetings for the islanders. In 1869, the paramount chief of Kosrae was forced to support Snow’s experimental system of civil government. Snow formed a council consisting of seven elected representatives. Although the council was supposed to oversee island affairs, the church had the final say, being the de facto supreme authority on Kosrae.

Five years later, the paramount chief was deposed by the council and replaced by a new Christian chief elected by vote. Soon most islanders converted to Christianity, and the church became the center of the political and social life on the island.

To this day, Christianity plays a significant role in the culture of Kosrae, so Gospel Day is an important holiday for all islanders. It is marked with special church services and other events and activities.

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Category

Anniversaries and Memorial Days

Country

Micronesia

Tags

Gospel Day in Kosrae, holidays in Micronesia, introduction of Christianity, Christian missionaries