• Pray for revival that frees churches from empty tradition and establishes a powerful witness.
• Pray for a strong Christian presence among the many humanitarian aid groups.
• Pray for healing from centuries-long ethnic and religious hatred.
Captured sixty times and destroyed thirty-eight times, Serbia’s beautiful capital city Belgrade exemplifies the war and civil unrest that the Balkan peninsula has undergone over the past two millennia. A landlocked nation within the Balkan state, Serbia also includes two autonomous provinces: Vojvodina and Kosovo. Serbia’s geography consists of flatlands in the north, forested hills in the middle, and mountains in the south, with the Danube River passing through the capital city of Belgrade.
Forty-five years of Communism, inclusion in Yugoslavia, and the devastating Balkan wars that followed have all left Serbia with a bitter legacy and a desperate economy. The recent global economic crisis and the effects of war have led to high unemployment rates. A past littered with what most of the world perceives as ethno-religious hatred and cleansing haunts Serbia even today.
For most Serbians, ethnicity and religion go hand-in-hand. Primarily Orthodox (73%), 80% of the population claim Christianity. Over half of these would see their faith as cultural and part of their ethnic identity, leading to rampant nominalism. The Serbian Orthodox Church has suppressed other churches, often in totalitarian fashion. Non-Serbian Orthodox churches are increasingly attacked, Muslim/Christian relations remain tense, and hostility against Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventists is also prevalent. Protestantism has had a history of influence on Hungarian and Slovak minorities, but its impact on Serbs has been minimal, with only about half of the local believers being ethnically Serbs. But despite deep divisions within the faith community and difficult cultural hurdles, a tiny but growing body of evangelical believers is attempting to overcome ethnic division by worshipping together in unity.
Capital City: Belgrade
Government: Parliamentary republic
Major People Groups: 82% Serb; 5% Hungarian; 2% Bosniac (Muslimani); 1% Croat; 1% Kosovar (Gheg Albanian)
Religion: Christian 90%, Muslim 7%, Agnostic 3%
Language: Serbian, Hungarian, Romany, Bosnian, Croatian
GDP Per Capita: $18,200
Literacy Rate: 99.5%
POPULATION IN UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS: 2%
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