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Austria

Austria is a country famous for its natural beauty, culture, and art. However, persecution of Protestant believers throughout the country’s history has left Austria with a Protestant minority.

 

Austria is a country famous for its culture, music and arts. It has breathtakingly beautiful scenery with magnificent lakes, large forests, high mountains and a huge diversity of animal life. Austria also has a long and painful history as a country set in the heart of Europe. In the 16th century the Habsburg dynasty not only ruled the Austrian provinces but also Spain, and large parts of the New World. At the time the Emperor coined the phrase that he ruled an Empire where the sun never set. Today Austria is a small country in the centre of Europe.

 

Austria also had a turbulent history during the time of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. It was first Roman Catholic, and then the ‘new’ gospel of the Reformation won the hearts of approximately 80% of the population. But only 30 years later the Counter-Reformation led by the Roman-Catholic Church and the Habsburg ruler resulted in suppression, persecution, expulsion and murder of thousands of Protestant believers … and the Austrian Empire became one of the strongest Roman Catholic countries in the world, with more than 90% Roman Catholic believers.

 

The drama in the 16th century had a strong impact on society, not only in religious beliefs but also in cultural behavior, values and personal beliefs. Believing in God or not became a private, hidden aspect of life. Being part of the religious system was the keeping of tradition, and obedience to the ruler.

 

Today the influence of the Roman Catholic Church is decreasing – only 62% of the population is still nominally Catholic. However, on the increase is not the protestant-evangelical denomination but rather Islam, the second largest confession in Austria with more than 6% of the population. Since World War II, the fastest growing group is those who claim ‘no confession’, now representing more than 20% of the population.

OM started the first evangelistic summer outreaches in 1961. Since then several thousand young Christians have spent their summer holidays or even up to two years in Austria in order to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. In spite of all these efforts only 0.4% of the population is part of an evangelical free-church today.

OM Austria is as passionate today as at the beginning in desiring to be an instrument of hope in the hearts of communities, to see lives changed and society positively influenced.

 

Therefore we are:

 

  • mobilising and supporting the Austrian church to be become part of God`s mission around the world, starting in Austria.
  • partnering with the Austrian churches in new church planting initiatives, projects and related ministries.
  • helping the needy in this country – Austrians, immigrants and refugees – to find hope and a better future.
  • loving Muslims by building bridges between them and the Christian majority.
  • impacting society through professional initiatives in the area of music and arts.

 

Facts about Austria
Population:
8,884,864 (July 2021 est.)
Language:
German (official nationwide) 88.6%, Turkish 2.3%, Serbian 2.2%, Croatian (official in Burgenland) 1.6%, other (includes Slovene, official in southern Carinthia, and Hungarian, official in Burgenland) 5.3% (2001 est.)
Religion:
Catholic 57%, Eastern Orthodox 8.7%, Muslim 7.9%, Evangelical Christian 3.3%, other/none/unspecified 23.1% (2018 est.)
Economic Overview:
Austria is a well-developed market economy with skilled labor force and high standard of living. It is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany's, but also the US’, its third-largest trade partner. Its economy features a large service sector, a sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector.
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