Bible Society, West Balkan Partnership, Bible projects, Albania, Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bible translation

June 17, 2019

Living Word – Bible tournament in futsal

Bible tournament in futsal – Belgrade 2014

The Serbian and the Albanian Bible Society organized a tournament in futsal on 29th and 30th of March. The tournament was held in Belgrade, and it was the first event of this kind. Six youth teams from Albania (Emanuel and Rilindja) and Serbia (Students of the Orthodox Theological Faculty, team of the Serbian Bible Society, Evangelical association of students, and White Eagles) were participating.

The tournament was organized under the slogan Living Word. The tournament was opened and welcomed on Saturday, 29th of March by the GS of Serbian Bible Society, ms Vera Mitic, deacon Radomir Rakic (Serbian Orthodox Church) and mr Altin Hysi, the GS of Albanian Bible Society. The opening and closing ceremonies were followed by prayers and each match started with reading of selected verses from the Bible.

We can say that top-level football was played for two days in the sports centre ‘SOS’ by young Christians, which makes this event stand out from all the other tournaments. All the matches were characterized by fair play, good defence and unselfish passes. All the players and visitors expected the Final match in joy.

After the very exciting final match the first place and the trophy went to the team of the Serbian Bible Society and the second to the Students of the Orthodox Theological Faculty. The third place was won by the Evangelical Association of Students after a tough match against the team from Albania – Emanuel.

The GS of Serbian and Albanian Bible Society played host to the General secretaries of Croatian and Macedonian Bible Societies, mr Damir Lipovsek and mr Petko Zlateski respectively. The tournament was also attended by mr Gradimir Stanic (Serbian Orthodox Church), board member of the Serbian Bible Society, mr Dane Vidovic, vice president of the Serbian Bible Society’s board and Arch Preast Marinko Juretic, the vice president of the Croatian Bible Society’s board.

About the tournament Living Word

The tournament was a great idea realized by the two Bible Societies, as noted by mr Damir Lipovsek, and a very successful event even though it was a first of its kind. It is certain that the newly founded friendships and connections made during this tournament will remain. The Croatian Bible Society is planning to be the host of the next event which will hopefully become traditional.

Zefijan Nikolla, the coordinator of the Evangelical association of students in Albania, pastor in God’s service in Tirana is for the fifth time in Belgrade, he has great communication with theologians, he exchanges his experiences and knowledge with them and looks forward to each new encounter. He accompanied his team during this tournament but he was available to all participants during these two rewarding days. For some, this was the first visit to Belgrade and Serbia, but they carry the best impressions from the tournament with a desire to come back.

Douring the tournament, pastor Zefijan encouraged and advised his players, but in the final he honestly cheered for the team of students from the Belgrade’s Orthodox Theological Faculty. Even though teams from Albania did not win any of the trophies, they were not disappointed because the aim and the meaning of this tournament for them and all other participant was the same – enjoying God and receiving joy from God.

At the end of the tournament, pastor Zef sent a Christian message: we should live in peace, love, respect the differences with selfless devotion to the Lord with which we can realize the fullness of life.

The coordinator of the Evangelical association of students in Serbia Samuel Petrovski has confirmed with enthusiasm that the tournament was fantastic as it provided the opportunity for young people from Serbia and Albania to meet as well as the opportunity for students to socialize with people who belong to different Christian churches.  At first glance, organization of such an event can seem impossible but tournament showed that everything is possible with God’s help.

Samuel added that this gathering showed that regardless of whether you are an orthodox Christian or a Christian who goes to the evangelical church, in essence there is one God and one Holy Bible. Through our cooperation and todays football, we can influence today’s society in clearer and better way. We see this tournament as a beginning and as a seed which will develop the root for the future sports events.

The best player on this tournament was not declared, the diplomas and prizes were not distributed as all the players were unified before God. In the name of all contestants, mr Fajton Baro, the world famous wrestler, thanked the Bible Societies of Serbia and Albania for organizing this event.  For this occasion, with much joy and love, he was the goalkeeper in one of the Albanian teams.

The General Secretary of Albanian Bible Society, Altin Hysi, did not hide his satisfaction as he was the part of the team that organized this event which was full of joy, love, fair play and friendship. There was a lot of laughter, enjoyment and good football moves. Some matches were lost, some were won as in real life, but with the help of God all situations can be overcome. The presence of God is more important than the game, as disclosed by the motto of the tournament: praise the Lord’s name.

GS of Bible Society of Serbia explained that the main aim of this tournament was to send a strong message of Christian love, peace and tolerance and to show that the God’s Word can be heard whether the time is favourable or not throughout Lords Land.

Link to youtube video about this event:

Link to report about this event on Serbian Orthodox Church official site: