After the fall of the Roman Empire to Germanic tribes around 400 AD, North Macedonia came under the control of many other nations and people groups. The Ottoman Empire (Turkish Muslims) controlled North Macedonia for 500 years until they were driven out during the Balkan Wars (1912–1913). The Axis powers occupied North Macedonia during World War II, but were pushed out by Communist forces, which claimed North Macedonia as part of a unified Yugoslavia under the rule of Josip Broz Tito., Eleven years after Tito's death, North Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia in September 1991.
Christianity reached North Macedonia in the early years of the Church, thanks to Apostle Paul. However, after centuries of war and political change, many other religions crept in. Most North Macedonians, who identify themselves as ethnic Slavs, belong to the Macedonian Orthodox Church. About 20 percent of North Macedonia's population are ethnic Albanians, and they are mostly Muslim. Less than one percent claim to belong to other religions.
The Movement Today
The volatile mixture of ethnicities and religions in North Macedonia makes Pentecostal evangelism difficult and, at times, dangerous. During the 1998–1999 Kosovo War, however, Assemblies of God personnel ministered to hundreds of thousands of Kosovar refugees. Also, during the more recent Syrian refugee crisis, AGWM personnel ministered to over 1 million displaced people. In the continuing unstable political and social environment, many North Macedonians are beginning to respond to the gospel message and the hope that only Christ brings. AGWM missionaries in North Macedonia are assisting the spread of the gospel in church planting, children’s ministries (including Royal Rangers), and leadership training. They report the following statistics: 23 ministers, 28 churches and outstations, and about 1300 Pentecostal believers.
Additional Facts About Macedonia
Area: 9928 square miles
Population: 2.12 million
Urbanization: 58 percent
Languages: Macedonian (official, 68 percent), Albanian (25.1 percent), Turkish (3.5 percent), Romani (1.9 percent), Serbian (1.2 percent), other (1.8 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Roma, Serb
Agriculture: Grapes, tobacco, vegetables, fruits; milk, eggs
Industry: Food processing, beverages, textiles, chemicals, iron, steel, cement, energy, pharmaceuticals, automotive parts