Text source: Joshua Project
Introduction / History
Albania is about the size of the US state of New Hampshire. For nearly five centuries the territory we now know as Albania was part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. In 1912 Albania became an independent country.
The forty years following WWII were particularly difficult for Albania as it was under the control of the communist dictator Enver Hoxha. He proclaimed Albania as the world's first atheistic state and severely persecuting both Muslims and Christians.
Finally in 1992 the communist party was defeated in the elections and democratic forces took over the government. In the past 30 years the Albanian economy has steadily grown and Albania is no longer the poorest nation in Europe.
About half of the world's Albanians live in Albania. Others live in Kosovo, Greece, Germany, the USA, Turkey, the UK, and Switzerland.
There is a large number of Albanians in Switzerland. Though there were some who came as guest workers in the 1970s and 80s. It was during the Yugoslav Wars and the Kosovo War when Albanians were admitted to Switzerland as refugees.
What are their lives like?
Of immigrant groups in Switzerland, only the Italians have a higher number than the Albanians. In Switzerland they face suspicion because some Albanians have been arrested for serious crimes. Albanians have a high unemployment rate, partly because so many work in construction, and industry where work is sporadic. Others are students.
Albanians in Switzerland have their own cultural, sports and intellectual associations. As relatively recent immigrants, they are not well acculturated, though most speak German Swiss as a trade language.
What are their beliefs?
As was mentioned earlier, Hoxha tried to stamp out religion in Albania. Before the Ottoman conquest, the majority of Albanian professed to be Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christians. In the 17th and 18th centuries the majority of Albanians converted to Islam to avoid heavy taxes. Currently, over half of the population of Albania claims to be Muslims. Christians, mostly Eastern Orthodox, makeup about one third of Albanian peoples.
Arabs states have provided money to build mosques in Albania and to educate the Albanian Muslims in the faith. For the Christian Albanians, there was a newly translated Albanian New Testament available in 1990.
What are their needs?
All Albanians need to hear and respond to the good news about Jesus Christ. They need to understand that they can have a personal relationship with God through Christ. The Christians in Albania need priests and pastors who will teach them the Word of God and show them how to live out the gospel.
Pray that Albanian Muslims will tune into gospel radio broadcasts.
Pray for Albanians to read and heed the New Testament.
Pray for a Christ-centered revival in the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Albanian churches in Albania.
Ask the Lord to send Holy Spirit anointed disciple makers to Albania.
Pray that all the Albanian people all over the world would have the opportunity to hear the good news.
Pray that Christians and churches in nations where the Albanians live will reach out and build redemptive relationships with them.
ReferencesView Albanian, general in all countries.