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

June 17, 2019

Why is the Balkan region unique?

1.    Diversity, Conflict and War

Because we are at the crossroads of different cultures (East and West) and religions (Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Islam), the tensions have always been great and the causes for them remain unanswered. The wars at the breakup of Yugoslavia (Croatia, Bosnia – Sarajevo, Srebrenica) have been Europe’s deadliest conflicts since World War II, so the need for reconciliation between the peoples is great.

2.    Christianity in the Region

Many of the people belonging to the traditional Churches are cultural Christians, with little or no personal faith and no Bible reading habits, which, together with atheist propaganda during Communism, creates a great secular influence in our countries. Along this the traditional Christianity was abused for the purposes of nationalistic and anti-Islamic promotion during the war at the breakup of former Yugoslavia, which creates a notion that Christianity is a part of the problem, not the solution.

3.    West Balkan Partnership Surpasses Divisions

Because we are the only interdenominational organizations with daily operations, the Bible societies surpass these divisions and have the potential to launch credible Bible-based ministry, working together with the more “living” parts of the traditional Churches in all our countries. This way we can be a real catalyst for change. Bible societies of the West Balkan partnership bring a different Christian testimony to the question of Islam, reconciliation among the people and the politicians of the region and also to the Churches.

4.    A New Christian Mission in a Strongly Secular Society

The continuation and growth of the Bible work in the West Balkans belongs to a new challenge for the Christian missions worldwide: how to be effective Christian witnesses in the face of secularism. Due to its drastic influence on the decline of the churches, the Europe as a whole and the Balkan region in particular is becoming a new mission field in the classical sense of the word. Efficient and focused Bible ministry is an integral part of this new mission initiative that needs urgent attention, if we are to be obedient to fulfilling the Christ’s Great Commission.