Serbia News

  • Serbian Orthodox Church Desecrated
    Serbia map & flag

    On March 4, Vicar Bishop Teodosije of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren was informed that the Church of Saint John the Baptist in Pec, Serbia had been broken into and desecrated. According to a March 7 report from KIM Info Service, the doors and windows of the church had been smashed. Derogatory graffiti had been painted on the walls and garbage had been scattered throughout the church courtyard. Graffiti included the acronyms UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army) and TMK (Kosovo Protection Corps).

    Ask God to give these Christians a deep assurance of His never-ending love, even in the midst of very trying circumstances (Ephesians 3:14-19). Pray that those responsible for this attack will be held accountable. Pray that Christians in the West will come to have sympathy for their brothers and sisters in Serbia.

  • Evangelical Church Building Fire-Bombed

    An evangelical church building in the Serbian town of Kraljevo, south of Belgrade was fire-bombed on December 17. The bomb caused damage to the furniture, carpets and the air conditioning system of the rented facility. Pastor Alexander Vitakic told Mission Network News that this was not the first attack on their church. In June, the building was attacked with stones. There are also reports that a Baptist church building in Novi Sad, north-west of Belgrade, was recently vandalized with rocks. Vitakic suspects that recent media reports accusing evangelicals of "destroying Serbian identity" may have incited the attacks.

    Pastor Vitakic asks for prayer for the safety and for the future of the church, since their land lady may ask them to leave because of the damage. Pray that believers will continue to boldly and lovingly preach the Gospel (Ephesians 6:18-20). Vitakic said, "Our vision is to reach Central Serbia for Christ and we are committed to that vision."

  • Controversial Religion Law Passes in Serbia
    Serbian President Boris Tadic

    On April 27, Serbian president Boris Tadic signed into law the "Law on Churches and Religious Communities" even though he expressed concerns about its "shortcomings."  In a letter to the Serbian legislature, Tadic wrote, "I believe that it is imperative that the Serbian Legislature urgently adopt amendments to the law so as to eliminate its shortcomings."  However, Tadic gave no indication on how he intends to expedite those amendments and has acknowledged that the law in its present form violates the European Convention on Human Rights

    According to the new legislation, all but seven officially recognized "traditional" faiths will lose their legal and tax-exempt status and will have to re-apply for legal recognition.  Those stripped of their registered status include the Church of the Nazarene, Baptists and Seventh-Day Adventists, all of whom have all been in the country for over one hundred years.

    Pray that amendments to the law will be made that will serve to improve the religious rights of all of Serbia's citizens. Pray that the believers will rely on the Holy Spirit to fill them with His love and power, keeping their minds clear of any apprehension they may be experiencing at the future implications of this law (1 Timothy 1:7). Pray that they will keep their eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of faith, seeing Him as their example of faithfulness and perseverance (Hebrews 12:1-3).

  • Updates on Beaten Pastor
    Serbia map & flag

    The physical condition of Josip Tikvicki, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor beaten on April 15, worsened on April 27, when he collapsed from pain and stress. As of April 29 he remains in hospital, recovering from a broken jaw, which is now wired shut, an injured knee, several fractured ribs and several minor injuries. According to local police, his three attackers have been arrested.

    Also on April 27 another Seventh-day Adventist church was vandalized, breaking all the windows.

    Original Persecution and Prayer Alert story published April 23, 2003
    (Report received April 29 from Adventist News Network)