Church History
Kiribati: Overview

“Kiribati: Overview,” Global Histories: Kiribati (2019)

“Kiribati: Overview,” Global Histories: Kiribati

map of Kiribati

A Brief History of the Church in



In 1975 students from Kiribati who had attended Church-owned Liahona High School in Tonga returned to their home country as missionaries. The early converts of these young I-Kiribati missionaries established the first branch of the Church and held their meetings on the campus of their old school, the Auriaria Kokoi Ataria School on the island of Tarawa. Just two years later, the Church converted that school into the Moroni Community School (later Moroni High School).

As students of Moroni High School embraced the restored gospel and spread its message across the islands, the school gained a reputation as “a city on a hill” (see Matthew 5:14) and a place of study and faith. Despite early resistance from government and community leaders, the school and the Church have grown much in the years since Kiribati gained its independence in 1979. Now the Church is recognized as a positive influence in the social, educational, and cultural development of the country and is the third-largest Christian denomination in the republic.

Quick Facts

  • Official Name: Republic of Kiribati/Ribaberiki Kiribati

  • Capital: Tarawa

  • Largest City: Tarawa

  • Official Languages: Kiribati and English

  • Land Area: 811 km2 (313 mi2)

  • Church Area: Pacific

  • Missions: 1 (Part of the Marshall Islands Majuro Mission)

  • Congregations: 30