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Abstract

The Protestantization of the Roma refers to the recent process of mass involvement of Serbian Roma in small religious communities of Protestant provenance.

The research was conducted using the deep interview method on the basis of a structured questionnaire with baptized believers of Roma nationality belonging to the Christian Baptist Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Adventist Church, and Evangelical Pentecostal Church in the territory of Southeastern Serbia. The sample included both Roma and non-Roma high clergy of the abovementioned religious communities, as well as religious leaders of major religions of the region (Serbian Orthodox Church and Islamic Community).

This paper describes and discusses the ways (missionary activities, conversion, and proselytization) factors (socio-economic, seminarial, cultural, and political) of the Protestantization of the Roma, the results of the Protestantization of the Roma and the components of the new religious identity of the Roma converted to the “third” branch of Christianity. The principal findings of the research show that the process of Protestantization of the Roma in Southeastern Serbia leads to: 1. the emancipation and mitigation of social exclusion, 2. reshaping of the cultural identity and religious matrix, 3. the changes in the position of a minority, and 4. rethinking and adaptation of the Rromanipe(n).

The Serbian society has the opportunity to meet and accept Christian Protestants in their entirety through the Roma and the positive impact that Protestantism has on their lives. At the same time, the Roma will be enabled to become exactly what all Christian believers strive for: to be the salt and the light to others in their own community.

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