Albanian, Macedonian in North Macedonia

Map Source:  People Group location: Joshua Project. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Albanian, Macedonian
Country: North Macedonia
10/40 Window: No
Population: 521,000
World Population: 521,000
Primary Language: Albanian, Gheg
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Albanian
Affinity Bloc: Eurasian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The collapse of Albania and the communist regime in 1991 brought on numerous traumatic and rapid changes in Albania and neighboring Macedonia, leaving the people under the communist regime with an identity crisis. The emigration between the countries, resulted in the Macedonian people struggling to find their identity in a country, Albania.

Albania is the only neighboring country which recognizes the status of Macedonian ethnic minority but restricts it to the region of Mala Prespa. The part of Macedonia known as Mala Prespa was given to Albania by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. However, the Albanian government excludes Macedonians living in other areas, especially in Golo Brdo, who are mainly Muslim.

Their greatest concentration is in the border regions of Golo Brdo, Mala Prespa and Debar. There are also a large number of Macedonians who live in Tirana, Pogradec, Korce, Kavaje, and Elbasan and Gora areas.

Even though all of them speak Macedonian, the second and third generation has moved away from speaking their traditional language and now most of them speak Albanian only.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The areas where Macedonians live are extremely poor and many survive as day laborers in the Republic of Macedonia. Elementary education is provided in Macedonian, and efforts are underway to extend this to people with ethnic affiliation throughout the country.

There are several organized and active associations of Macedonians in Albania, of which the major four are Mir (Peace), Gora, MED (Macedonian Aegean Society) and Prespa. Most of the Macedonian organizations united into the political party called Macedonian Alliance for European Prosperity, which sealed their political influence.

The Macedonians of Albania also have their own journal that circulates among the population. A radio and TV program in Macedonian is also broadcast by the Korca state radio and TV station. The programs which comprise news bulletins and songs in Macedonian for the Macedonian minority in Albania are broadcast for half an hour each day.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Macedonians in the Prespa region are Eastern Orthodox Christian and those in Golo Brdo are predominantly Muslim. Macedonians in more southerly regions share the Orthodox Christian faith with the high concentration of Albanian Orthodox believers of these regions, as well as local Aromanians and Greeks who are largely Orthodox. In the northern region, the proportion of Muslim Macedonians increases with the proportion of Muslim Albanians. The Macedonian Muslims are found primarily in the Gollobordë, Gora and Peshkopi regions, with smaller populations in the south of the country in places such as Rajca.

What Are Their Needs?

There is a great discontent among the Macedonians that not all sections of the community have access to mother tongue education, if they fall outside of areas categorized as minority zones. The members of the minority groups living outside the designated areas have difficulty registering their ethnic belonging in the civil registry thereby resulting in delayed or no access to their due rights.

The denationalization and forced assimilation of the people into Albanians have given way to limited freedom and human rights for the Macedonians living in Albania compared to other countries. Numerous human rights violation is also reported on an ongoing basis.

Prayer Points

Pray for the economic upliftment of the Macedonians who struggle to make ends meet.

Pray that their cry for justice and rights as ethnic minority will be taken seriously by the Albanian Government and international organizations.

Pray for the few Albanian believers to be filled with the love and the power of the Holy Spirit so they will be equipped to preach, teach and disciple.

Pray that Bibles will be effectively distributed throughout Macedonia and have a strong spiritual impact.

Pray for the effectiveness of the JESUS Film in Macedonia.

Pray for Macedonian Outreach, an organization that aims to reach the Macedonians in the Balkan Peninsula, by meeting the physical needs of the refugees and orphans, by providing education and emergency assistance. They also provide spiritual resources through the distribution of Bibles, Christian supplies, media and literature. They assist churches, Christian workers and any graduating high school student who wishes to take Bible courses.

Text Source:   Joshua Project