Mandaean in Sweden


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Mandaean refers both to a religion and an ethnic group. Those who marry outside the Mandaean community cease to be Mandaeans.

Mandaeans are perhaps the remnant of the Essen community (who wrote the dead sea scrolls) after it was destroyed in 70 AD. They fled eastward and took up residence along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where their communities flourished. Several hundred years ago, their customs were recorded in their holy book, "Kenz irRabba" [the great treasure], which reads from both covers to the middle [you start at one cover and read to the middle, and then you turn it over and start from the other cover and read to the middle].

For centuries they lived in Iraq along the banks of the major rivers. Most lived among the Marsh Arabs. They were the gold smiths of Iraq, so they became targets of kidnapping and extortion by criminals after the fall of Saddam Hussein. They lost a large part of their community due to the violence in Iraq. Some were killed and others moved to Western countries like Sweden. They have large communities in Sweden, Australia, Canada and the USA.

The first Mandaeans came to Sweden in the 1970s to continue their trade, goldsmithing. Many more came to Sweden during the Iraq wars. Some fled from Iraq to Syria where they faced persecution from those who wanted to force them to adopt Muslim ways.

The Mandaeans congregate in Stockholm, although they also live in many other parts of Sweden. They have their own Mendi, their place to conduct their rituals. There are at least 20 Mandaeans associations in Sweden.


What Are Their Lives Like?

In Sweden, they blend in with other Iraqi and Syrian refugees. They must learn a new language, new job skills and a radically different culture. Those who are more fortunate are able to continue their lucrative trade, goldsmithing.

Mandaeans have their own marriage ceremonies. The bride to be sits inside a tent facing a table. On the table are nine mud plates, each one representing a month of pregnancy. Bride and groom must face opposite directions looking into mirrors. Each prays against demonic possession while gazing into their mirror.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Mandaeans adhere to one of the gnostic religions. They are based on what they consider “knowledge.” Gnostics believe God is not involved with our material world. They believe there are different worlds. One of them is the one we live on, a world of darkness. We have souls that are imprisoned in our bodies. There is another world, a world of light.

Baptism is the most important part of the Mandaean religion. One can be baptized numerous times; the purpose of baptism is to bring about spiritual purity. Because they revere John the Baptist, they are often confused with Christians. Mandaeans also revere other biblical characters such as Adam. Unlike Christians, Mandaeans do not rely on Jesus Christ as the only way to God the Father.

Mandaeans have their own scriptures written in the ancient Mandaic language. These books tell how to live a moral life. Other books are only for their priests. These books contain instructions on how to conduct Mandaean rituals.

Mandaeans have a large and small Eid [i.e. holiday] like Muslim, one in the spring and another in the summer. They observe their own festive calendar. Mandaeans have elaborate death rituals including giving a new name to the deceased to assist them entering the "world of light." Angels also play a large role in the religious life of Mandaeans.

As time goes on, Mandaean youths will become adults, and there will be new generations. It is unclear what spiritual direction Mandaeans will take. Some will become more secular like the Swedish majority while others will cling to their cultural and religious roots. Those who retain their religious beliefs are likely to change their ancient rituals. There is also a secularized version of their religion which some might adopt.

Some of the Mandaean rituals need to change in Sweden. Water baptism involves being in the water for hours. This is changing because much of the water is frozen much of the year. Their rituals for slaughtering livestock does not conform to how it must be done according to Swedish law.


What Are Their Needs?

What the Mandaeans need is a relationship with Jesus Christ so they can enjoy life to the full.

Mandaeans need to take advantage of this opportunity to seek and find the Lord of lords. There is freedom of religion in Sweden.


Prayer Points

Pray for Mandaeans in Sweden to have receptive hearts, ready to receive the only savior.
Pray for loving and dedicated workers to go to them.
Pray for the few known Mandaean believers in the USA, Germany and Jordan to take Christ to those in Sweden.


Scripture Prayers for the Mandaean in Sweden.


References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandaeans_in_Sweden
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338502405_Mandaeism_-_A_religion_between_Sweden_and_the_Middle_East
https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2019/08/iraq-minority-mandaen.html
https://nationalpost.com/holy-post/gnostic-sunset-strife-in-syria-and-iraq-driving-out-mandaeans-the-last-surviving-followers-of-john-the-baptist


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Mandaean / Sabean People Video

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People Name General Mandeaen
People Name in Country Mandaean
Pronunciation man-DAY-un
Alternate Names Sabbehi
Population this Country 5,700
Population all Countries 75,000
Total Countries 6
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 13483
ROP3 Code 106221
ROP25 Code 305093
ROP25 Name Mandaean
Country Sweden
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Göta dialect group is south, including parts of Småland, south Swedish provinces, Värmland, Västergötland; Svea is north, including Hälsingland, parts of Östergötland and Uppland, and Swedish-speaking parts of Finland; Southern Swedish in Skåne, Blekinge,   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Country Sweden
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Göta dialect group is south, including parts of Småland, south Swedish provinces, Värmland, Västergötland; Svea is north, including Hälsingland, parts of Östergötland and Uppland, and Swedish-speaking parts of Finland; Southern Swedish in Skåne, Blekinge,.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010

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Primary Religion: Other / Small
Religion Subdivision: Mandaeism
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
2.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
98.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Primary Language Neo-Mandaic
Language Code mid   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Swedish
Primary Language Neo-Mandaic
Language Code mid   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
  Swedish
People Groups Speaking Neo-Mandaic

Primary Language:  Neo-Mandaic

Bible Translation Status:  Unspecified

Resource Type Resource Name Source
None reported  
Photo Source Suomen Mandean Yhdistys - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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