The country known today as Croatia was conquered by Rome around 10 AD from the Illyrians and divided into two provinces—Pannonia and Dalmatia. These two provinces fell to Slavic tribes in the seventh century. Decades later, the people living in the region began to call themselves Croats. After a long period of Hungarian rule, the Ottoman Empire took over, followed by the French under Napoleon. Croatia united with other Slavic areas and in 1929 became part of Yugoslavia. The end of World War II ushered in Communist rule. Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. A vicious civil war then erupted with the Serbs gaining about 30% of Croatian territory. A peace accord was signed in 1995, but it wasn’t until 1998 that Croatia gained control of all of its territory.
The Evangelical Church of Croatia, the Pentecostal church with which the Assemblies of God USA is associated, began when Germans founded its first group in the mid-‘30s. From this small beginning, the church grew and during the Communist era not only survived but multiplied. During the civil war, the Evangelical Church of Croatia through its relief agency, AGAPE, was able to provide desperately needed humanitarian aid and ministry to Croatians and other war refugees.
The Movement Today
Today, the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek with Dr. Peter Kuzmic as its president, trains ministers from several Balkan countries. Presently there are about 60 students.
Although most Croatians consider themselves to be Roman Catholic, they do not seriously practice their religion. Orthodox Christianity, Islam, and Protestantism account for the other major religions present in Croatia. The Evangelical Church of Croatia reports the following statistics: 106 ministers, 54 churches and outstations, 3,400 members and adherents, and 7 Bible Schools including extension programs and seminaries serving a total of 51 students.
Additional Facts About Croatia
- Capital: Zagreb
- Area: 21,851 square miles
- Population: 4.3 million
- Languages: Croatian (96 percent)
- Government: Presidential/parliamentary democracy
- Agriculture: Wheat, corn, sugar beets, sunflower seed, barley, alfalfa, olives, fruits, soybeans, and potatoes
- Industry: Chemicals, plastics, machine tools, fabricated metal, electronics, iron and steel products, aluminum, paper, wood products, construction materials, textiles, shipbuilding, oil refining, food and beverages, and tourism