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Despite attempts by the former Yugoslavia to keep the various states secular and to discourage religious life, the decline of communism has led to a revival of religious life.

This has led to a great solidarity within the religious groups, but also to conflicts between the various groups.

Despite the fact that NorthMacedonia has several dozen large and small religious communities, the Orthodox Christians of Macedonia (Slavonic Macedonians, Serbs, Vlachs and some Roma) form a large majority with approximately 67%. All Orthodox Christians belong to the Macedonian Autonomous Orthodox Church founded in 1958.

About 30% are Sunni Muslims (Albanians, Turks and some Roma) and the remaining 3% are Catholic (some Albanians with Mother Theresa as a famous member), Evangelical, Jehovah's Witness, Atheist or Bektaši. Ex-president Trajkovski belonged to the Methodist community.

Bektaši followers Haci Bektas Veli, founder of the Bektaši order, is a saint who lived in the 13th century and won many followers among the Anatolian population. His philosophy was an elaboration of that of the Alevis, a liberal group within Islam.

Alevis do not go to the mosque, do not pray five times a day, do not participate in Ramadan and the position of men and women is completely equal. The real differences between Bektaši and the Alevis have become so small over the centuries that they are almost non-existent.


Detrez, R. / Macedonië : mensen, politiek, economie, cultuur, milieu
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen

Evans, T. / Macedonia
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Last updated May 2024
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