Slovenes settled the country of Slovenia during the waning years of the Roman Empire. Avar, French and Austro-Hungarian governments vied for control over the country for centuries. Slovenia became a part of Yugoslavia after World War I in 1918. Slovenia was occupied by the Nazis, Hungarians and Italians during World War II. From 1945 to 1990, as part of Yugoslavia, it was under communist rule.
Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 after the Yugoslav government refused to adhere to established shared-governing procedures in the unified state. The Yugoslavian Army invaded and, after a ten-day war, was repelled. The European Union and the United States recognized Slovenia as a sovereign state soon afterwards. May 2004 marks the entry of Slovenia into the European Union.
Church History and the Movement Today
The Roman Catholic Church had a strong presence in Slovenia by the 600s AD and Christianity remained in Slovenia over the centuries. A large Slovene family, the Banfis, immigrated to the U.S. from Vesisca, Slovenia, and settled in Milwaukee. There, in the church of Joseph Wannenmacher, three of the Banfi sisters were converted and baptized in water and the Holy Spirit. One of them, Marija, married Ernest Mihok, a Hungarian Pentecostal in Milwaukee.
In 1933, Ernest and Marija Mihok traveled to Hungary and Slovenia to preach the gospel to their own people. They stayed in the home of Joseph and Fana Novak in Vescica where they held church meetings. Soon, many villagers were saved in the Novak home—Joseph and Fana included. From there, the Pentecostal movement spread throughout the country. Later, under communism, religion was all but stamped out of the people. When communism fell, the spiritual vacuum was filled by widespread occultism, alcoholism and drug abuse.
Most Slovenes consider themselves to be Roman Catholic but do not practice their religion. The Pentecostal Evangelical Church of the Slovene Republic still ministers among the people. The church, commonly known as the Pentecostal Union, reports the following statistics: 37 ministers and workers, 20 churches and outstations, 973 members and adherents.
Additional Facts About Slovenia
- Capital: Ljubljana
- Area: 7,820 square miles
- Population: 1,937,000
- Ethnic Groups: Slovene (91 percent) Croat (three percent) and others (six percent)
- Languages: Slovenian (official) and Serbo-Croatian
- Agriculture: Potatoes, hops and wheat
- Industry: Metallurgy, electronics and vehicles