In contemporary society, religious pluralism presents a range of complex challenges to religious groups and communities. The collapse of Communism and the emergence of renewed forms of nationalism in a number of post-Communist countries resulted in religious revival. The policy of atheism led by Communists led to the rejection of any authority of institutionalized religion. Between 1989 and 1991, after the Communist period, in Romania and in Serbia the number of those declaring themselves as “believers” increased considerably. This growth meant also moving away from traditional religious expressions towards new forms of religion. NeoProtestants such as Baptists, Pentecostals and Seventh Day Adventists, according to Parushev and Pilli, made their way to Eastern European countries in the second half of the nineteenth century and during the first decades of the twentieth century. Thus in that period there was a migration of Hungarian, Czech, Slovak and German Protestants into the northern areas of southern Slavs, while the colporteurs of the British and Foreign Bible Society distributed Bibles in the Balkans (Parushev, Pilli 2004: 157). This paper will focus on the existence of neo-Protestant religious communities among the Romanian ethnic minority in Serbia and the presence of conservative Nazarenes. In Serbia today, Nazarenes have less than 900 baptized members, even though at the beginning of the 20 century th their number was 15,000. The majority of Nazarenes immigrated during the First and Second World War to the United States. There they were called New Amish or New Mennonites. Today the most 1 numerous group, with approximately 400 members, live in the Romanian village of Lokve, in the province of Vojvodina. This Romanian group – illuminates the position of small and minority religious groups in Serbia in general. Even though the dominant confession of the Romanian national minority in Vojvodina is Romanian Orthodoxy, a new dimension of religious identity is provided by the numerous small religious groups themselves. Many are not publicly visible in Serbia, and some, like the Nazarenes, are so small and located in remote corners to be almost invisible. This paper is based on ethnographic fieldwork research I conducted from 2008 in Romanian villages in Serbia within the larger research project “Ethnic and social stratification of the Balkans” conducted on behalf of the Institute for Balkan studies SASA.



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