Capital City: Belgrade
Area: 77,474 sq km (29,913 sq miles)
Official Language: Serbian
Major Religions: Christian 70%, Muslim 19%, Other 11%
Adult Literacy Rate: 93%
Life Expectancy: 75 Years
Organisation: South-East European Union Conference
Radoslava Grujica 4
J F Huenergardt, the pioneer of the Advent message in Hungary, also pioneered in Banat and Backa (Northern part of today’s Yugoslavia). In 1901 he visited the capital of Serbia, Belgrade, for the first time. In 1904 he visited the Serbian village of Mokrin (Banat), where there was a small group of people who had accepted the Sabbath as the day of rest through the witness of a young watchmaker who travelled from village to village plying his trade. They were soon baptised and became the first members of the Seventy-day Adventist Church in Banat.
In 1905, in Kumane, another Serbian village, 75 miles north of Belgrade, a Serbian peasant, Sava Eremic, read in his newspaper that a baker in Germany had found a peculiar religion that prohibited his baking bread on Saturdays. After reading this the man said to himself: “This man of Germany is right. According to the Bible, the seventh day is the Sabbath and not the first day of the week.”
He wrote a letter to the British and Foreign Bible Society asking for the address of the Sabbath-keeping people. He was informed that such people were living in Hamburg. So he addressed a letter: “To the Sabbath-keeping people in Hamburg,” and it safely reached its destination.
This letter was sent to J F Huenergardt with a request that he visit Kumane. He was soon on the way to meet Eremic and others who had become interested. Not being able to speak to them in their own language, he was obliged to find an interpreter. The village barber, Lazar Sijacic, was the only one in the community who was able to speak both Serbian and Hungarian. In the course of the studies the interpreter became so interested that he closed his shop on the busiest day of the week, and joined others in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath.
That same year Huenergardt baptised eight in this village and organised the first Serbian Seventh-day Adventist church. This small group was entrusted to the care of a Romanian preacher, Peter Todor, who knew the Serbian language. A few years later Todor died of tuberculosis, but other young preachers, Robert Schillinger and his two younger assistants, Albin Mocnik and Max Ludewig, dedicated their lives to the proclamation of the Adventist message among the South Slavs.