It is professed by the Turkish minority, the Muslim Bulgarians and some of the Roma. The former two are concentrated in the Rhodopes, a massif in southern Bulgaria, but are present in clusters in other parts of the country, for instance the Turks in the Ludogorie region and the Pomaks in the Rhodopes and some villages in northern Bulgaria. Today, Muslims form the majority in Kardzhali Province and Razgrad Province and Smolyan Province . The majority of the Armenians in Bulgaria are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which has an eparchy in the country based in Sofia. Most Armenian Apostolics live in Plovdiv, Sofia, Varna or Burgas.

During John Hunyadi’s campaign in Niš in 1443, Skanderbeg and a few hundred Albanians defected from the Turkish ranks; for twenty-five years he scored remarkable victories against the Ottomans. He adopted the Byzantine double-headed eagle flag, and his spectacular victories brought him the papal title Athleta Christi. The eagle was used for heraldic purposes in the Middle Ages by a number of noble families in Albania and became the symbol of the Albanians.

The Catholic Church has roots in the country since the Middle Ages, and Protestantism arrived in the 19th century. They had not yet forgotten the war of a century before when their women flung themselves by the hundreds over the roads near Yanina to escape Ali Pasha’s soldiers. The Turks finally relinquished their efforts to quell the movement they had themselves helped to bring about, and Montenegro had to content itself with the barren tracts of the Buna and the port of Ulcinj. She could not have aspired even to these had not Russia favored the cession of Albanian-inhabited lands to its client state Serbia, which shared with Russia common bonds of Orthodoxy and Slavic culture.

The Kastrioti’s coat of arms, depicting a black double-headed eagle on a red field, became famous when he led a revolt against the Ottoman Empire resulting in the independence of Albania from 1443 to 1479. This was the flag of the League of Lezhë, which was the first unified Albanian state in the Middle Ages and the oldest representative political body in the country with extant records. Despite its low number today, Bulgaria’s Jewish population exerted considerable cultural influence on the country in the past and is still of importance today. The Jews in Bulgaria are concentrated in the larger cities, mostly in the capital Sofia. Islam is the second largest religion in Bulgaria, representing about 8% of the population in 2011.

According to some sources around 16-17% of the population of Albania were Catholic, but in the 2011 census the percentage of Catholics was 10.03%. Catholicism is strongest in the northwestern part of the country, which historically had the most readily available contact with, and support from, Rome and the Republic of Venice. More than 20,000 Albanian Catholics are located in Montenegro, mostly in Ulcinj, Bar, Podgorica, Tuzi, Gusinje and Plav. The region is considered part of the Malsia Highlander region of the seven Albanian Catholic tribes. The region was split from Ottoman Albania after the First Balkan War.

The dominant form of the religion is Eastern Orthodox Christianity within the fold of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. During the Ottoman rule of the Balkans, Sunni Islam spread in the territories of Bulgaria, and it remains a significant minority today.

Protestantism in its various forms arrived in the 19th century because of missionaries, mainly from the United States. Today it is a quickly growing confession, with membership having tripled from 1992 to 2011. Half of the Protestants in Bulgaria are newly converted Roma, while the other half are hotmailorderbride.com/albanian-women/ for the most part Bulgarians. The Union of Evangelical Congregational Churches in Bulgaria is a fruit of American missionaries in the 19th century. A 2015 study estimated 45,000 Christian believers from a Muslim background in the country, most of them belonging to some form of Protestantism.

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It was the symbol of the unrecognised Republic of Kosova during the 1990s. The current independent state of Kosovo uses a different flag that was designed to avoid any symbols associated with a particular ethnic group, similarly to the flags of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cyprus. The symbol of the double-headed eagle was re-used by Albanian nationalists during the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries as a symbol of their campaign for their country’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. On 28 November 1912, the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in Vlora and the flag, raised by Ismail Qemali, was adopted as the symbol of the new nation.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has seen the most serious decline from 2001 onwards. The church’s credibility has been undermined since the 1990s by its collaboration with the erstwhile Communist regime, fully revealed with the opening of the state’s secret archives in 2012, according to which eighty percent of the clergy were members of the secret police. Religion in Bulgaria has been dominated by Christianity since its adoption as the state religion in 865.

In the 2011 census, the question about the religious affiliation became optional, and thus 21.8% of the total population didn’t answer. Until the census of 1992, Bulgarians were obliged to declare the historic religious belonging of their parents and/or ancestors, while since 2001 people were allowed to declare personal belief in a religion or unbelief in any religion .

Tiranë-Durrës has one suffragan Diocese for Rrëshen as well as metropolitan authority over the Byzantine Rite Apostolic Administration of Southern Albania, also known as the Albanian Greek-Catholic Church. There are five dioceses in the country, including two archdioceses plus an Apostolic Administration covering southern Albania.

After the end of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria (1946–1990), the revival of Islam was stronger than Orthodox Christianity. With the international rise of Islamic terrorism in the 2000s, however, there was a growing disaffection for the Islamic religion among Bulgarians.

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It was spread among the Bulgarians by Bulgarised Saxon ore miners in northwestern Bulgaria and by missionaries among the Paulician and Bogomil sectarians, as well as by Ragusan merchants in the larger cities. The total number of the Catholics in the country accounted for 0.8% of the population in 2011. By far the dominant religion in Bulgaria is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, professed by the prevalent ethnic group, the Bulgarians, who are adherents of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Approximately 60% of the Bulgarians belonged to the church as of 2011. Other Orthodox churches represented in the country by minorities are the Russian Orthodox Church, Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Romanian Orthodox Church and Greek Orthodox Church.

The Czech Republic is a member country of the Schengen Area since December 21, 2007. Cyprus holds 6 seats in the European Parliament and has held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU once in 2012. Croatia holds 11 seats in the European Parliament and will hold the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time in the first half of 2020. Bulgaria holds 17 seats in the European Parliament and will hold the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time in 2018. Beginning in 1969, the flag of Albania was widely unofficially flown in Kosovo by the country’s ethnic Albanian population.

The revival of the national aspirations of Albania dates from the Congress of Berlin , when Austria, in order to compensate Serbia and Montenegro for her retention of Bosnia and Herzegovina, thought to divide the land of Albania between them. The Turks secretly fostered the opposition of both Muslims and Catholics, and the Albanian League was formed “for the maintenance of the country’s integrity and the reconstitution of its independence”. The country is currently split into two Ecclesiastical provinces each headed by Archbishops – Shkodër-Pult in the north and Tiranë-Durrës in the centre and south.

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The Constitution of Bulgaria designates Orthodox Christianity as the “traditional” religion of the country, but guarantees the free exercise of any religion. Bulgaria has not experienced any significant ethnic or religious confrontation, unlike the case in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. In fact, the capital Sofia is known for its so-called Square of Religious Tolerance; the St Nedelya Church, St Joseph Cathedral, Banya Bashi Mosque and Sofia Synagogue are located within metres of each other in the very centre of the city. In the latest years, there has been a decline of both the historic religions of Bulgaria—Orthodox Christianity and Islam—, which shrank respectively from 86% in 1992 to 84% in 2001 to 61% in 2011 and from 13% in 1992 to 12% in 2001 to 8% in 2011.

Estonia is a member country of the Schengen Area since December 21, 2007. Denmark holds 13 seats in the European Parliament and held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU 7 times between 1973 and 2012. Denmark is a member country of the Schengen Area since March 25, 2001. The Czech Republic holds 21 seats in the European Parliament and held the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU once in 2009.