The 500th anniversary of the Reformation Movement among the Christians of Europe was marked on 31st October, 2017. The commemoration was held in the Hall of the Academy of Fine Arts, which was built in 1899 as a church for evangelical and Lutheran Christians in the city, during the Austrian administration in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The historical overview of reformation in the sixteenth century Europe was presented by Dr. Stephen Goodwin, an American Protestant theologian who emphasized that Luther radically improved his former Catholic dogma, ‘Outside the Church Has No Salvation,’ with, ‘Out of
Christ No Salvation’. Saša Nikolinovic, Pastor of the Evangelical Church of Sarajevo endorsed the educational activity in Sarajevo of Anglican missionary, Adeline Pauline Irby (1833–1911). Through 40 years of activity, she organised and funded education for around 20,000 girls and women. A documentary film by Nejle Bihorac, ‘Miss Irby’, was shown.
TEN partner, Slavko Hadzic, Pastor of the Evangelical church, Koševsko brdo, in Sarajevo described the spirituality of Christians of reformed heritage, emphasising that reform requires a constant return to God and life of the crucified and resurrected Christ. Slavko explained how he grew up in an atheistic family. As a young man he was convinced that God did not exist and regarded all believers to be harmful for society. He also shared how, as an adult he accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and that he is constantly in the process of life reformation.
Also, TEN partner, Tomislav Dobutovic, Pastor of the Baptist Church in Sarajevo, explained the spread of protestantism in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia.
Another significant milestone in Bosnia and Herzegovina was achieved through media coverage of the Reformation celebrations. For more than a decade, TEN partner, Dario Kapin, pastor of Zenica Baptist Church has endeavoured to present the good news of Jesus through the local media: “Since then, many doors have opened for us and we have been able to share the gospel to all those who watched, listened and read. But our ‘fight’ for a Reformation Celebration banner started three years ago. I just felt that Holy Spirit is moving in that direction but former government (predominantly Muslim) wasn’t open for that. But we didn’t stop. We knocked on doors, made phone calls, wrote letters. In 2017, a new city major was elected. He is Muslim but not a radical one and was open for everyone. When we met with him, he promised that we would be able to display a banner for this year. What joy and victory! We got banners made in time for the jubilee of 500 years of Reformation.
“On 25th of October we held a jubilee celebration and took the opportunity to go to Zenica’s University where our guest, Josh Irby and I spoke to around 60 students. In the evening, we welcomed the city mayor and other guests for the main celebration. Both events were covered by TV and newspaper articles. On 31st of October we joined Christians in Sarajevo on the main celebration there and managed to persuade several TV stations and journalists to cover that event. Later in evening I was guest on one of the national TV stations and had an opportunity to speak for about 10 minutes. Now we pray and we believe God will do the rest.”
Mircho Andreev, Pastor of the Evangelical Church in Macedonia reports on the 500 years celebration in the Assembly of Macedonia
parliament building. A special Reformation conference was organized by Dr. Kostake Milkov who spoke at the conference and brought
together prominent speakers both from Macedonia and Albania, plus some foreign experts. Dr. Milkov is the founder and Director of the Balkan Institute for Faith and Culture and Director of RZIM Macedonia. The President of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia,
Mr. Talat Xhaferi was also a participant at the conference. It was of huge blessing for the many Macedonian church leaders and believers who attended and also because for a very first time this took place at the highest level in Macedonia.