The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Anglican)

           The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Anglican) is a member of the Anglican Communion, encompassing the entire country of Myanmar. The current Archbishop of Myanmar and Bishop of Yangon is Stephen Than Myint Oo. The Anglican Church was established in Myanmar by British army chaplains around 1825. The Diocese of Rangoon was inaugurated in 1877, and after World War II, no new foreign missions were permitted.

           Formed in 1970, the Province of Burma initially had four dioceses, now expanded to nine. Although the church does not engage in social work, which is managed by the government, it provides relief aid during catastrophes. The church focuses on evangelism, clergy training, and teaching program improvement and collaborates with other member churches in the Myanmar Council of Churches.

           Today, there are over 70,000 Anglicans in Myanmar, a country with an estimated population of 54 million. The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Anglican) follows an episcopal polity, with nine dioceses each led by a bishop.

Bishops of Yangon and Archbishops of Myanmar
• 1970–1973: Francis Ah Mya
• 1973–1979: John Aung Hla
• 1979–1987: Gregory Hla Kyaw
• 1988–2001: Andrew Mya Han
• 2001–2008: Samuel San Si Htay
• 2008–present: Stephen Than Myint Oo

Brief History

  • 1825
    With British army some Anglican priests came into Burma, not as missionaries but as army chaplains.
  • 1854
    SPG (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) began its mission in Burma. The interest in missions among the English residents of Burma attracted the attention of the SPG to the country and thus in 1854 the SPG sent his first missionary, Cockey, to Maulmein where educational work had been already begun.
  • 1859
    The SPG sent A. Shears and his wife from England to missionary school in Maulmein.
  • 1860
    J. D. Marks, a trained educationalist, arrived, who enlarged and developed the school in Maulmein which had been started.
  • 1863
    J. D. Marks opened a school in Yangon (later this school became St John's College). Maung Shwe Zan was baptised by A. Shears as the first Myanmar native Christian in England. A woman named Cook established a school for women, named St Mary's Girls school, in Yangon.
  • 1868
    Invited by the King Mindon, J. E. Marks went to Mandalay and founded a school as well as started his mission there.
  • 1870
    J. E. Marks opened the schools in Zalon, Hanzada and Theyet Myo and started mission in delta.
  • 1872
    Mission among Tamils was started in Moulmein.
  • 1873
    C. Warren started the mission among Burmese in Toungoo.
  • 1874
    Based in Kemmendine, J. A. Colbeck started mission among Burmese and other ethnic groups.
  • 1875
    Because of their internal problem, many Karen Baptists from Toungoo came into the Anglican Church and thus the Karen Anglican population increased dramatically in Toungoo.
  • 1877
    On 24 February, Rangoon Diocese was opened and it was under the Province of Calcutta. J. H. Titcomb was the first bishop of Rangoon. As a first native Burmese, J. San Baw was ordained as a deacon in England.
  • 1877-1882
    J. H. Titcomb (the first Bishop of Rangoon (Yangon) )
  • 1878
    Four Karens were ordained as deacons and they are the first native Karen clergy. Samuel Abishe Ganathan was ordained as the first Tamil deacon and he became the missionary of the Tamils who lived in Moulmein. Since before mission among Chinese was started in Yangon.
  • 1882
    Titcomb retired and J. M. Strachan who had served in India became the second Bishop of Yangon.
  • 1882-1903
    John Miller Strachan (the second Bishop of Rangoon)
  • 1883
    J. Fairclough opened a catechetic training school in Kemmdine. T.Richard started mission in east Pazondaung in Rangoon.
  • 1884
    J. San Baw was ordained as priest at the Holy Trinity Church, the pro cathedral.
  • 1888
    H. M. Stocking started mission in Shwebo, in middle Burma.
  • 1892
    A. H. Ellis started Winchester Mission in Rangoon.
  • 1893
    Hackeny opened St Peter's Bible School in Toungoo.
  • 1894
    Making Thayetmyo as his centre, C. R. Torkington, a layman, started mission among Asho Chins.
  • 1899-1900
    Taking centre in Prome, G. Whitehead started mission among Chin tribes.
  • 1900
    W. C. B. Purser statted mission in Kyatlatt.
  • 1901
    After receiving their deacon ordinations, David Po Sa and Po Thet who are native Burmese clergy, joined the Kyatlatt mission and they extended their mission to other areas in delta.
  • 1903
    A. M. Knight became the third Bishop of Rangoon Diocese.
  • 1903-1909
    Arthur M. Knight (the third Bishop of Rangoon)
  • 1904
    Some Pow Karens from Kyaundawkalay located in delta began to enter into Anglican instruction.
  • 1907
    Mission to Seamen started in Rangoon.
  • 1909
    R. S. Fyffe, who served in Mandalay as a missionary of Wnchester Brotherhood became the fourth Bishop of Rangoon Diocese. Pow Karen from Mhawbe near Rangoon began to become Anglicans.
  • 1909-1928
    R. S. Fyffe (the fourth Bishop of Rangoon)
  • 1910
    Anglican mission spread to other Pow Karen areas in delta – Nyanugdone, Pantanaw, Wakema and Shweloung.
  • 1914
    The first Rangoon Diocesan Council was held in Rangoon. William Purser opened Kemmendine Blind School. Purser's wife began mission among mothers in Kemmedine.
  • 1917
    S. H. Jackson, who was a blind priest and was called as "Apegyi"; meaning, great father for the blind in Myanmar, came to Kemmendine and lead the Kemmendine Blind School.
  • 1918
    Saya Tawmhwa from St.Paul’s Church of Toungoo was sent as a missionary to Kappli in Pann, the southeast part of Burma.
  • 1921
    Samuel U Tun who was an Asho Chin, and Nashone Mahn Own Bwint who was a Karen, were ordained as deacons and who were the first clergy for their respective tribes. Peter Khin Maung who the first native BD degree holder from Bishop College in Calcutta, obtained the priest ordination.
  • 1924
    A. T. Houghton from Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society started mission among Kachins in Moenhyin.
  • 1925
    The new version of Burmese Bible, which was translated into Burmese by Bible Society led by C. E. Garrad, was published.
  • 1926
    The Bible Churchmen's Society (BCMS) started its mission in Hukong areas in Kamine, the northern Burma. Rangoon Diocesan Trust Assiociation was formed.
  • 1928
    N. H. Tubbs became the fifth Bishop of Rangoon.
  • 1928-1935
    Norman Henry Tubbs (the fifth Bishop of Rangoon)
  • 1929
    H. Hacking from Bible Churchmen's Missionary Society started mission among Khume Chings in Palawa.
  • 1930
    Church of India, Burma and Ceylon was formed and opened.
  • 1931
    Emmanuel Bible School was opened in Monyin in northern Burma.
  • 1932
    In August, Conference of the Clergy was held in Rangoon. BCMS started its mission in Wontho in Shan state.
  • 1934
    A building for the Bible school was started in Inya road. This building was consecrated in 1935. In the same year the Kukekine Bible School was shifted to that Bible school and it was named as 'Holy Cross College.'
  • 1935
    G. A. West who served in Kappli in Pann became the sixth Bishop of Rangoon.
  • 1935-1954
    George A. West (the sixth Bishop of Rangoon)
  • 1936
    On 3 May, as the first Karen national, Saya Saw Satphaw, was ordained as a deacon by BCMS mission in Monyin.
  • 1937
    On 25 March, as the first Kachin, U Khamawgum, obtained his deacon ordination. In the same year Emmanuel Church in Monyin was consecrated.
  • 1938
    W. B. Johnston opened a missionary hospital in Pinlone in southern Shan State.
  • 1939
    A. T. Houghton was elected as the assistant Bishop of Rangoon. Yet, unfortunately, because of World War Two this programme was broken.
  • 1940
    World War Two came into Burma and foreign missionaries had to depart from the country.
  • 1941
    In January, the Japanese army crossed the Sanlwin River came and into Burma and the Kappli mission was disconnected with Rangoon. Because of the severe attack of the Japanese army, all missionaries and foreign civilians including their families moved to upper Burma.
  • 1942
    George Appleton was appointed as archdeacon by West to look after the mission of Burma from India. Since Burma was occupied by the Japanese, all mission works including missionary schools and hospitals were stopped and most native Anglicans dispersed. The native clergy and ministers risked their lives in serving among those dispersed Anglicans in that difficult and dangerous period. Many native martyrs appeared in that period.
  • 1945
    In July, West returned from abroad and stayed in Rangoon.
  • 1946
    To reorganize the church, West created three archdeaconries, one for Delta, one for Mandalay and one for Toungoo. These posts were filled by national clergy, Luke Po Kun, J. Aung Hla and Ah Mya respectively. Holy Cross College was reopened by R. W. Garrad.
  • 1947
    Rangoon Diocesan Council was held in Moylmein. Church of the province of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon was formed as a new province in Anglican Communion.
  • 1948
    Tidey took in charge for Holy Cross College. St. Peter’s Bible School from Toungoo was shifted to Kappli in Paan and Francis Ah Mya took in charge it.
  • 1949
    As the first native bishops, Francis Ah Mya and John Aung Hla were consecrated as assistant Bishops in Calcutta.
  • 1950
    The Holy Cross College was closed temporarily.
  • 1951
    The Emanuel Bible School which was closed for ten years, was reopened by D.H.Dansey.
  • 1952
    Rangoon Diocesan Council, which could not be held for five years, was held in Rangoon.
  • 1955
    V. G. Shearburn who was a monk from St. Augustine’s Community of Resurrection became the seventh Bishop of Rangoon. U Ta Hwai was ordained as a deacon and he was the first Khume Chin clergy. Holy Cross was reopened with 13 students and J Maung Pe became the first national Principal.
  • 1955-1966
    Victor G. Shearburn (the seventh Bishop of Rangoon)
  • 1956
    Shearburn started Summer School.
  • 1957
    Moulmein archdeaconry was opened and Francis An Mya was appointed as archdeacon there. He started the self-supporting programme in Pann.
  • 1958
    Assistant bishop John Aung Hla attended the Lambeth Conference held in England, as the first Burmese national.
  • 1959
    Some students from Holy Cross Theological College were sent abroad for further study. Esther Hla Kyaw, as the first native Karen woman, was appointed as a youth leader.
  • 1960
    On 23 October, Anglican youth leaders from the whole Burma were invited to The Youth Conference in Rangoon and the conference formed “ Anglican Young People Association (AYPA).” Religious Education Department was founded and Dorothy Lewis became the department head. Taking responsibility as the editor, Elijah began to published the New Letter of the Church. Hoping to the emergence of the educated clergy. The church sent some young people to universities and after completion of their studies they were also sent to Holy Cross College.
  • 1961
    As the first Kachin native, Kushin Hla became the principal of Emanuel Bible School in Monyin. U Tote Yow who is a Khume Chin and U Yone Htow received deacon ordinations.
  • 1963
    Peter's Bible School which was closed nearly ten years was shifted to Pann and reopened there.
  • 1964
    Some graduated young people began to enter Holy Cross College.
  • 1965
    The Special Evangelism Project was started in Palawa. The Period of Myanmar National Bishops
  • 1966
    All missionaries had to depart from Burma. On 28 August 1966, Francis Ah Mya became the first native bishop of Rangoon Diocese. Rangoon Diocesan Men's Assiociation was formed and U Ba Than became the head of this association. Daw Nelly, a native woman was appointed as the organizer of Mothers' Union. Leading by the bishop the Anglican Churn in Myanmar actively participated in Burma Christian Council. Eleven Anglican graduated young people were sent to Burma Divinity School to pursue higher theological education.
  • 1966-1970
    Francis Ah Mya (the first national Bishop of Rangoon diocese)
  • 1967
    “ The Three in One Project” was started with sixteen young people in Indaw in Upper Burma. The purpose of this project included three main concerns – to do evangelism with new method, to have self-support by doing anima husbandry and cultivation and to create a community of monks and a community of nuns. To reorganize the church to be a well established one, the bishop introduced a plan called “ The New Form of the Church,” and mobilized it till almost all parishes in the whole diocese. The Diocesan Council held in this year made an agreement to create a new Anglican province in Burma. The bishop started self-supporting plan.
  • 1968
    In January, the provincial council of the church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon made the first time approval for this proposal of forming a province in Burma.
  • 1970
    January, the proposal for forming a new Anglican province in Myanmar was approved by the Provincial Council of the India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon as second time. In February, there appeared “ The Church of the Province of Burma ( Myanmar),” the Myanmar National Anglican Church. Rangoon (Yangon) Diocese, therefore, become one of the diocese in this province. Francis Ah Mya became the first Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Burma.
  • 1970-1973
    Francis Ah Mya (the first Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Burma (Myanmar))
  • 1971
    In December, Anglican Young People Association ( AYPA) presented the first Christian religious play at the memorial hall located in the Baptist headquarter compound. Based on the lives of Christ and the apostles, the religious plays have been presented almost every year since 1971. Evening Bible class for lay people was opened in Anglican Religious Training Centre in Rangoon (Yangon).
  • 1972
    Central Rangoon ( Yangon) Religious Education Committee was formed.
  • 1973
    The first summer training course of Central Rangoon Religious Education Committee was started. Leading by AYPA and supporting by Mother’s Union, The Samuel Project was started. The purpose of this project was to produce educated clergymen. The assistant bishop John Aung Hla became the second Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Myanmar. The worker priests plan was started.
  • 1973-1979
    John Aung Hla (the second Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Burma)
  • 1975
    Rangoon (Yangon) Diocesan Aid Board was formed.
  • 1976
    Led by Toteyow the mission among Lay Myo Chins was started.
  • 1979
    In June, Gregory Hla Kyaw, the former Bishop of Pann Diocese, became the third Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Myanmar.
  • 1979-1987
    Gregory Hla Kyaw (the third Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Myanmar)
  • 1981
    Mindon mission was restarted by the retired archbishop Francis Ah Mya.
  • 1982
    The Catechist Training was opened in Anglican Religious Training Centre in Rangoon (Yangon).
  • 1984
    Partnership in Mission Programme was started.
  • 1986
    Mission in Hakhine hill was started. The Provincial Council approved Myitkyina archdeaconry to become Myitkyina Missionary Diocese.
  • 1987
    Gregory died.
  • 1988
    Andrew Mya Han became the fourth Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Myanmar. Andrew Hla Aung became the bishop of Myitkyina Samuel San Si Htay, the former principal of Holy Cross Theological College, became the assistant bishop of Yangon.
  • 1988-2001
    Andrew Mya Han (the fourth Archbishop of The Church of The Province of Burma)
  • 1991
    The church opened the decade of Evangelism.
  • 1992
    Conferences on evangelism were held in every dioceses and mission works in new areas were started. Toungoo area which was a part of Paan Diocese became Toungoo Missionary and George Kyaw Mya was the bishop.
  • 1993
    In place of San Si Htay who had become the general secretary of Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC), J. Than Pe, the former Archdeacon of Yangon Diocese, became the Assistant Bishop of Yangon Diocese. Tin Maung became the Archdeacon of Yangon Diocese.
  • 1994
    Led by Paul A. Chan, St John College was opened at Holy Trinity Cathedral. In January, Toungoo Missionary Diocese became Toungoo Diocese and John Wilme, the former principal of Holy Cross Theology College, became the first bishop of Toungoo Diocese.
  • 1995
    Social Development Projects were started in every diocese.
  • 1999
    A Bible school was opened in St Michael's and all Angels' Church in Kemmendine.
  • 2001
    Samuel San Si Htay became the fifth Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Myanmar.
  • 2005
    , Stephen Than Myint Oo from Holy Cross Theological College became the fifth Diocesan bishop of Hpa-an.
  • 2006
    the first gathering of Church of the Province of Myanmar was celebrated on Toungoo Diocese.
  • 2008
    Stylo become the Bishop of Hpa-an.
  • 2009
    James Min Din former Distributor of Myanmar Bible Society and Secretary of Anglican Young People's Association became the Bishop of Sittwe.
  • 2008
    In May, the Nargis Cyclone hit the delta area of Myanmar and the CPM involved actively with mission teams for the relief works.
  • 2008
    Stephen Than Myint Oo, Diocese of Hpa-an, became the sixth Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Myanmar. All the bishops and the Archbishop of Myanmar attended the Lambeth Conference.
  • 2010
    The second Church of the Province of Myanmar gathering, Myitkyina (1–8 December 2010), from six dioceses.
  • 2015
    The third Church of the Province of Myanmar gathering, Yangon, from six dioceses.
  • 2021
    The Missionary Diocese of Homalin is created, led by Bishop Alan Kyaw Myo Naing.