The Illyrian tribe of Dardani was the first to inhabit the present-day region of Kosovo in the Neolithic age. After a period of rule by the Romans, a Serbian ruler annexed the area at the end of the twelfth century. At the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, the Ottoman Turks inflicted heavy casualties on the Serbian army and eventually gained control of all of Serbia by 1459. Kosovo remained an Ottoman territory until 1912, when it became part of the newly independent state of Albania. One year later, however, the Great Powers—Austria-Hungary, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, and Russia—forced Albania to cede Kosovo to Serbia. In 1918 it was incorporated into the newly formed Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which later became Yugoslavia.
In 1945, Kosovo became an autonomous province within Serbia. Tensions between ethnic Albanians (the majority of the population) and Serbs mounted as the Albanians continued to agitate for secession from Serbia, seeking either union with Albania or outright independence. Most of the province’s Albanian inhabitants supported the independence movement, while Serbs feared it would be precede further ethnic cleansing and the formation of a “Greater Albania.” The Kosovar parliament issued a resolution supporting independence since the “political will of Kosovo people for independence is non-negotiable.” In the meantime, the Serbian Cabinet adopted a resolution opposing full independence for Kosovo.
Kosovo declared its independence in February 2008 and is ruled by a parliamentary system led by a prime minister.
Between March 1998 and April 1999, over half a million people were forced out of Kosovo, a region in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia , during fierce fighting between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. Most fled to neighboring Albania and Macedonia. In Albania, the Assemblies of God operated refugee camps, and other relief agencies helped provide these camps with food, blankets, medical, and hygienic supplies. Besides meeting the basic physical needs of these refugees, however, AG missionaries also ministered to their spiritual needs by sharing the gospel, sharing Scripture, and praying with them. Many refugees became believers and returned to Kosovo after the war with newfound faith and hope. These new Christians formed the nucleus of the Assemblies of God church in Kosovo.
Although the war is over, ethnic tensions persist. The Kosovar church has endured persecution, poverty, and war, but young evangelists and pastors continue to emerge from this vibrant group of believers. The church is growing and thriving despite all obstacles. Many more churches have been established since the war, including the Community Fellowship Center of the Assemblies of God, which opened its doors in April 2001. Located near the Serbian border in Mitrovica, this Pentecostal fellowship and many others work to bring healing and hope to a city and region long divided.
The Movement Today
Today there are three Assemblies of God churches with about 50 members and adherents.
Additional Facts About Kosovo
Area: 4203 square miles
Population: 1.91 million
Languages: Albanian, Serbian
Agriculture: Wheat, corn, berries, potatoes, peppers, fruit; dairy, livestock; fish
Industry: Mineral mining, construction materials, base metals, leather, machinery, appliances, foodstuffs and beverages, textiles