The land known today as the Czech Republic was originally settled by Celtic and Germanic tribes. After them, came Slavic tribes from the east, and conquering Mongolian Avars later on. The Avars were driven out when Samo, one of the first strong leaders of the land, emerged in 623. The land became known as Moravia and then Bohemia as the years went by. Religious conflicts in the 1400s changed the face of religion and government. The nation of Czechoslovakia was formed at the close of World War I. German culture, politics, and residents were a major influence in Czechoslovakia with the result that Germany took control of it even before the start of World War II. When the Nazis were defeated in 1945, Communism began to take root throughout much of the country. Communism lasted in Czechoslovakia until 1989. Free elections were held soon after. Against popular opinion, the Czechoslovakian government decided to split the country into two nations, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. Since then, the Czech Republic has enjoyed relative economic success and a stable political climate.
The first Christian missionaries arrived in Moravia in 863 A.D. at the invitation of Ratislav, a Moravian ruler. Christianity continued in the country, and the modern Pentecostal movement in Silesia started in 1905 (The Czech Republic was still part of the Habsburg (Austrian) monarchy at that time). The movement grew and believers all over the country joined to form the Resolute Christian Fellowship. That fellowship’s name was changed to the Apostolic Church of the Czech Republic in 1989 when it was formally recognized by the Czech government.
In the 1960s, Rev. Bob Mackish—one of the best known American missionaries to Eastern Europe—began to explore ministry opportunities in Czechoslovakia. For 25 years, he visited the country often and helped strengthen the church. Because of Rev. Mackish’s work in the country, the Assemblies of God forged a partnership with the Pentecostal Movement in Czechoslovakia in the 1990s.
The Movement Today
Today, Assemblies of God missionaries provide help, encouragement and many other forms of assistance to national churches in the Czech Republic. The Apostolic Church reports the following statistics for the Czech Republic: 80 ministers, 53 churches and more than 50 preaching points, 3,772 members and approximately 5,000 adherents, and one Bible school with an extension program totaling 70 students.
Additional Facts About The Czech Republic
Area: 30,450 square miles
Population: 10.5 million
Ethnic Groups: Czech (94 percent), Slovak (three percent)
Agriculture: Wheat, sugar beets, barley, corn, hops, rye, potatoes, fruits and flax
Industry: Machinery, oil products, woven fabrics, paper, crude iron, pig steel, and footwear