Eritrea - Women praising God - Photo: VOMC


Eritrea is one of the most secretive and isolated countries of the world. In 2002, the government outlawed every religion except for Sunni Islam, Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholicism and the Lutheran Church. All other religious groups are illegal, and the government heavily controls approved churches. Years of Communism, required military service and economic depression have forced many Eritreans -- including evangelical believers -- to flee the country. Despite these hardships, the underground church in Eritrea continues to grow due to the faithfulness of church leaders both inside and outside the country.

Life for Christians:

Evangelical churches are highly persecuted and must meet secretly. The government actively seeks to infiltrate these underground churches and imprison their leaders. Over the past 16 years, hundreds of Christians have been imprisoned because of their faith. Approximately 300 believers are known to remain in prison. Imprisoned Christians are not given a trial, nor are they allowed to see their families -- many of whom do not know where their loved ones are located or if they are still alive. The conditions inside the country's prisons are some of the harshest in the world. Christian prisoners are provided meager rations, treated very poorly and, in some areas, held inhumanely for years within metal shipping containers amid extreme desert conditions.

Country Information


6,147,398 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Tigrinya (50), Tigre (30), Saho (4), Afar (4) Kunama (4), Bilen (3), other (5)

Religion (%)
Islam (47.4), Christianity (48.8), other (3.8)

President Isaias Afworki (1993)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic religious law

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Operation World

Pray for Eritrea

Ask the Lord to provide imprisoned Eritrean believers a means of escape and a place of safe refuge. Pray for Him to also work deeply in the hearts of the country's governing officials so they will grant His people the freedom to worship Him and glorify His matchless name. Mindful of their own human frailties, may these political leaders realize the need to make Jesus their own personal Saviour and Lord by accepting His gift of eternal salvation.


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Eritrea News

  • New Arrests and Prison Releases
    Eritreans worshipping
    Photo: VOMC

    According to a recent report, 30 Christians were arrested in mid-March while gathering for worship at a believer's house in the Eritrean city of Keren. Unfortunately, no further details are available at this time. The recently arrested followers of Jesus join more than 400 other Christia

  • 44 Christians Arrested; Three Others Released
    Large church
    A cathedral in Asmara.
    Photo: Wikipedia / KH (cc)

    According to a recent report, 44 believers have been arrested from private homes in Eritrea by governing officials since the beginning of 2023. The group – consisting of 39 women and five men – are being held at the Mai Serwa prison on the outskirt