By: Guadalupe Muñoa
Victory takes courage!
Serbia has a fairly recent history with football; with the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the separation of Montenegro in 2006, they were granted FIFA and UEFA membership, finally participating in the World Cup for the first time in South Africa in 2010 as an independent nation. In Qatar, they’ll have the opportunity to fulfill expectations they’ve generated in their country before each World Cup — to fight for glory — since they haven’t been able get past the first round in previous years. It’s the ideal moment to take advantage of their “golden generation” and finally go beyond the group stage. The Serbian team has a bit of everything: strength, determination, and various talented players who can fulfill different roles on the field, with 22-year-old Dusan Vlahovic standing out. They are part of group G in Qatar with Brazil, Cameroon, and Switzerland.
This country has many beautiful mountains and carefully preserved natural landscapes. Church buildings and monasteries are decorated with frescoes and mosaics, which make them popular tourist attractions, highlighting the Studenica Monastery as a World Heritage Site. The city’s most spectacular monument is the Petrovaradin Fortress because of its peculiar clock, where the hour hand is longer than the minute hand! Some of the Serbs’ recreational activities include painting, literature, music, theater and cinema, religious festivals, and dancing. Although their economy is mostly based on manufacturing and exports (driven largely by foreign investment), Serbia still has a 24.6% poverty rate.
Staple Serbian foods are bread, meat, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Peppers are a common ingredient in their cooking as well. The national dish, called cevapcici, are small meat patties often eaten as dessert, but pita, strudel, and palacinke crepes are popular as well. Three alternating cheek kisses are a common form of greeting, and Serbs are a hospitable, lively, and good-humored people who love to visit with each other and chat. Spoken by 89% of the population, the official language is Serbian.
Religion continues to play a vital role in Serbian society. The church plays an important part in the Serbian people’s history, trying to fill the void where national values were flipped upside down after strong international pressure. Thankfully, the danger in which the church found itself during World War II has greatly diminished. Serbia is now a country with religious freedom; 2011 census data indicates that Orthodox Christianity represents 84.6% of the populace, Catholicism 5.0%, Islam 3.1%, and Protestantism 1.0%. 1.2% claim no religion, and 5.2% have other religious affiliations.
Pray for the tensions between Serbia and Kosovo. Pray for all those who share the gospel in the country, and that they’d have strength to continue to do so. We know the only real instrument of transformation will be the good news of salvation.
Credit: Nebojša Petrović
Credit: Milan P. Stepanov.