The Southeast European country of Macedonia is located on the Balkan Peninsula. The country has a population of around 2.1 million people. Ethnic Macedonians are the largest ethnic group in the country and account for 64.2% of the country’s population. Albanians, Turks, Romanis, Serbs, and others comprise 25.2%, 3.9%, 2.7%, 1.8%, and 2.2% of Macedonia’s population, respectively.
Christianity is the religion of the majority in Macedonia. The Macedonian Orthodox Church is the predominant Christian denomination in the country with 64.8% of the total population of Macedonia adhering to this religion. Followers of other Christian denominations account for only 0.4% of the country’s population. Macedonia also has a large Muslim population with 33.3% of the people of the country adhering to Islam.
The Largest Religion In Macedonia
Eastern Orthodoxy, the most popular religion in Macedonia, has a long history in the country. The Archbishopric of Ohrid was established in Macedonia in 1019. Eastern Orthodoxy spread fast among the people of the region and continued to flourish during the rule of several empires. However, the Archbishopric of Ohrid was abolished in 1767 by the Sultan’s decree. Great efforts were made in the next two centuries to reinstate the Archbishopric. In 1959, the Macedonian Orthodox Church was established as an autonomous body of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Archbishopric was restored. In 1967, the Macedonian Orthodox Church became an autocephalous institution.
The Influence Of Islam In Macedonia
The Ottoman invasions of Macedonia in the 14th and 15th centuries helped popularise Islam in the country. Many Turks settled in the region during this time and brought their Islamic culture to the country. Muslims populated most of the cities in Macedonia by the 19th century. Today, the vast majority of the country’s Muslims adhere to Sunni Islam of the Hanafi school of thought. Majority of Macedonia’s Muslims are from the ethnic Albanian community. The rest include Turks, Romanis, Bosniaks, and a small percentage of ethnic Macedonians as well.
Judaism In Macedonia
Although Macedonia only has about 200 Jews at present with most of them living in the capital of Skopje, this was not so in the past. Macedonia was home to a significant Jewish population for a long time in its history. Jews had been living here in the 2nd century AD under the Roman rule. Their population declined during the Crusades but rose again with the immigration of Sephardic Jews during the Ottoman rule. The Jewish population of Macedonia faced a great decimation during the Second World War when the Jews were sent off to the concentration camps. Since then, the Jewish population in the country has remained low.