The Republic of Macedonia* is a small country (25.713 km2 and population of 2.1 million people) on the Balkan peninsula, in South-East Europe. Rich with history and tradition, tenderhearted people and breath-taking natural sights, it is a real gem in the Balkans.
The last 20 years were difficult for the Macedonian people as they went through a painful process of transformation of the political and economic system. Once a party-rule communist country, now the political system of Macedonia is one of a modern parliamentary republic.
The most difficult change was in the area of economy - namely, the transformation from socialism into a market economy, which meant privatization of the public wealth. This process left scars on the pages of Macedonian history, and wrinkles on the faces and necks of the people. A major event in these 22 years of independence was the military conflict in 2001 between the Macedonian armed forces and Albanian opposition. Today, Macedonia is still economically weak, politically-unaware and with ongoing ethnic tension. Macedonia was confirmed as a European Union candidate country in December 2005.
The Macedonia province of the Bible covered a much larger region, including northern Greece, and is mentioned in the New Testament 28 times. Macedonia in the Bible was the first province to which Paul travelled from Asia when he visited Philippi, and where Lydia became Europe’s first believer in Christ.
Macedonia became a cultural and intellectual centre of Europe, where literacy was very high in comparison to other parts of Europe. In the 9th century, two brothers, named Cyril and Methodius, translated the Bible in the language of the people and then with the help of their students, they preached the Word of God in a way that was understandable to the Slavic people (the term “Slavic” comes from “Slovo” which means “Word”). Everyone who has read church history knows how important it was, in those dark centuries, to have the light of the Gospel in your own language. This was a real rarity since the Bible was available only in Hebrew, Latin and Koine (old Greek).
Macedonia is at a crossroad now. Its people are left without the testimony of God and the winds of liberalism are blowing so strong that even the ruins of its once-spiritual tower are in danger of being destroyed. Nowadays, Macedonia is far away from the times of its spiritual culmination.
About 2/3 of the population belong to the Macedonian Orthodox Church, some 30 percent are Muslims and there is a small number of Catholics living in the country. The number of Evangelical Christians is about 2,000 people - that is 0.1 percent of the population. Imagine a line of 1,000 people and only one of them is an Evangelical Christian!
The vast majority do not know the basics of the Christian faith. Churches are small (about 30-40 members), and considered by the majority of the population as a sect. There are no Christian television programmes, newspapers, colleges or theological schools. The number of Christian books is small (maybe about 100 titles written or translated into Macedonian).
“Come over to Macedonia and help us!” (Acts 16:9)
OM's current ministries: bringing hope to young people, students, families, local church planting, discipleship training and web based evangelism. OM Macedonia has workers from Australia, Norway, Poland and Macedonia serving.
*recognized by the U.N. as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Thank You for the beautiful country of Macedonia, with its picturesque landscapes and wonderful people. Thank You for the fastest-growing evangelical church in Europe. We pray that the Macedonian church will stay close to Your word, and that it can have a positive impact on a culture influenced by materialism, drug abuse, suicide and the trafficking of women to the West.
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