|Before the conquistadors came from Spain, Nicaragua's
indigenous peoples followed various traditional belief systems. Some cultures
were similar to indigenous Mexican cultures and some were similar to indigenous
South American cultures. Today, indigenous Nicaraguans tend to practise
one form or another of the Christian faith.
In 1524, Nicaragua's first Roman Catholic church was established in Granada. The most prominent religion in Nicaragua today is Roman Catholicism. Although there is no official religion in Nicaragua, the current government maintains close ties with the Vatican, and supports the Catholic church. Some religious leaders hold important positions in the Nicaraguan government.
|The Jesuit priest Father Fernando Cardenal led
the National Literacy Crusade during the Sandinista government. He took
this action with the blessing of the pope. During the 1980s, however, Roman
Catholic church leaders often opposed the government's policies concerning
social and economic issues, while priests and nuns who worked in local
communities continued to support the Sandinista government's attempts to
improve the lives of Nicaraguans.
Governments since 1990 have tended to uphold traditional Roman Catholic values. For example, the government has made attempts to restrict women's roles in the workplace and to focus on their roles as housewives and mothers. This has not been well received, even by many Catholic Nicaraguans.
|Nicaragua is home to some beautiful examples of
church architecture and religious art. The Black Christ of Esquipulas is
a famous statue that is housed in the beautiful church in Jinotega, along
with other important religious art. The largest church in Central America
is the Roman Catholic Cathedral in León, built between 1746 and
1850. The cathedral houses huge paintings of the Stations of the Cross
painted by Antonio Sarria.
Protestantism is more common in eastern Nicaragua than elsewhere in the country because of the influence of Great Britain in the area. In the 1980s, Evangelical Protestant churches increased in popularity. The Moravians, the Assembly of God, and the Baptist Convention of Nicaragua are the most well-established non-Catholic denominations. Some indigenous people follow traditional spiritual practices, which focus on the natural world.