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Christians in Kosovo Conversion rate - warning - 02-17-2009

<FONT size=1>http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12868180</FONT>

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<FONT face="verdana, geneva, arial, sans serif" color=#cc0033 size=-1><B>Christians in Kosovo</B></FONT>

<FONT face="verdana, geneva, arial, sans serif" size=+1><B>Conversion rate </B>
</FONT><FONT face="verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif" color=#999999 size=-2>
Dec 30th 2008 | PRISTINA
From The Economist print edition</FONT>

<FONT face="verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif" size=-1><B>A surprising story of Muslim converts to Christianity</B></FONT>
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<FONT face="verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif" size=-1>A CHRISTMAS tree dominates the centre of Pristina. Nearby a huge Catholic cathedral is being built. Farther off stand statues of two Albanian heroes: Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a Catholic nun, and Skanderbeg, a medieval prince who renounced Islam for Catholicism. Yet 95% of Kosovo’s 1.8m ethnic Albanians, out of a total population of 2m, are nominally Muslim. Don Shan Zefi, a Catholic cleric, says there are only 65,000 Catholics in Kosovo. </FONT>
<FONT face="verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif" size=-1>If Don Zefi has his way, there will be a lot more in future. On Christmas Eve some 38 people were baptised in a single town, Klina. Conversions to Christianity have become common (though a cautious Catholic church does not give precise figures). Don Zefi says he knows of large numbers more in “tens of villages” who want to convert. </FONT>
<FONT face="verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif" size=-1>He dislikes the word, because many of them come from a crypto-Christian background. Their forefathers may have converted to Islam under Ottoman rule, but behind closed doors they kept their old Catholic practices. Jahja Drancolli, a historian, adds that “religion has always been secondary” to being Albanian. Converts, he says, “want to return to the old religion they believe they had” and to show that they are “part of the Euro-American trend.” For every convert, anecdotal evidence suggests more go to church or are interested in Christianity.</FONT>
<FONT face="verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif" size=-1>The Catholic church is not the only one active in Kosovo. Since 1985, says Artur Krasniqi, a Protestant pastor, as many as 15,000 Kosovar Albanians have converted to Protestantism: 2,000 regularly attend church. He says that Kosovo, despite being nominally mostly Muslim, has “no religious identity”. But he worries about the rising influence of radical Muslims. Protestants, he complains, cannot get separate sections in cemeteries because the authorities do not want to provoke quarrels with local Muslims. </FONT>
<FONT face="verdana,geneva,arial,sans serif" size=-1>What about Orthodoxy? Close by Pastor Artur’s office is the empty hulk of the unfinished, abandoned Serbian Orthodox cathedral in Pristina. Kosovo’s Serbs, who are Orthodox, make up the largest Christian group in Kosovo. They no longer live in the capital but in the north or in scattered enclaves and villages. Since the 1999 war, dozens of their churches have been destroyed. Worse, the Serbian Orthodox church in Kosovo is riven by a political split that has seen monks brawling and fighting. In Belgrade the 94-year-old Serbian Orthodox patriarch, Pavle, has long been gravely ill and a vicious war of succession is being waged. For now, other forms of Christianity seem more peaceable.</FONT>
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Christians in Kosovo Conversion rate - warning - 02-17-2009

From the thread started Feb 21, 2008
Novena for Kosovo

Novena Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Most Blessed Mother, heart of love, heart of mercy, ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer. As your children, we implore your intercession with Jesus your Son. Receive with understanding and compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially [for the Catholics of Kosovo, that they be strengthened in their faith, and all those Kosovars not within the Church be led to Her, that peace and Christian charity may triumph.]

We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open to those who ask for your prayer. We trust to your gentle care and intercession, those whom we love and who are sick or lonely or hurting. Help all of us, Holy Mother, to bear our burdens in this life until we may share eternal life and peace with God forever.

Amen.