Serbia and Montenegro
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The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed in 1918 following the First World War and drastic changes to the European map. The name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. During the Second World War the country was occupied by the Germans who were then expelled in 1945 by Communist Dictator Marshall Tito. After Tito’s death in 1980 the Yugoslavia he ruled began to unravel along the many ethnic lines. Serbia and Montenegro were parts of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but became independent republics in 1992. In February of 2003 lawmakers restructured the country into a loose federation of two republics called Serbia and Montenegro. The Constitutional Charter allows for each republic to hold a referendum by 2006 that would allow for autonomy for either republic from the state union.
Today Serbia and Montenegro comprise area of about 102,000 sq km and a combined population of 11 million people. Land boundaries include: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia and Romania. The two republics and two nominally autonomous provinces (Kosovo and Vojvodina) are governed by a single Parliament made up of 91 Serbs and 35 Montenegrins nominated by the two individual state parliaments.
The economy of Serbia and Montenegro is impaired by difficulties dating back into the history of Yugoslavia Republic; debt is 123% of the Gross Domestic Product. As the republics, including Kosovo, are in the process of restructuring and the immediate future is not known it is safe to assume that the economy will not see great stability in the near future. The economy can be divided into three sectors: Agriculture (15%), industry (28%), services (56%).
The ethnic diversity of Serbs, Albanians, Montenegrins, Hungarians and other minorities reflect the religious diversity of Serbia and Montenegro. Orthodox Christianity makes up the largest sector of the population with 65%. Islam claims almost 20% of the population, while the Roman Catholic tradition and various Protestant denominations claim only small minorities, 5% and 1% respectively.
The American a cappella Churches of Christ conducted mission work in the former Yugoslav Republic in the 1980s and were successful in gaining government authorization for Churches of Christ in 1985. However, each congregation must also receive a separate authorization. These American missionaries were Andy Basic, Gary Jackson and Doug Gragg. By 1990 they were able to report two congregations in the Croatia Republic and a single congregation in Belgrade, in the Serbia Republic. No current information on the existence of that congregation is available.
The American Christian Churches and Churches of Christ mission organization, White Fields Overseas Evangelism, reports some activity of that tradition in Serbia.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.
Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1101 19th Avenue, South, Nashville, TN 37212-2112 (USA)
Telephone: (615) 327-1444
Website: http://www.discipleshistory.org (provides links to other historical sites and databases).
Online catalog: ALEX Online
For online directories of a cappella Churches of Christ see:
Church of Christ, Belgrade (1990 contact info)
XI Nova 2a, 11221 Kumodaz