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After 12 years of absence, Croatian Jesuits returned to North Macedonia in September this year. Fr. Vinko Maslać and Fr. Marijan Bešlić will be responsible for the Cathedral Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Skopje. On September 4, they were welcomed and presented to the community by the bishop and eparch Kiril Stojanov.

This is the fourth time that Jesuits are in Macedonia. Italian Jesuits arrived for the first time in the second half of the 19th century as so-called “flying missionaries.” In 1917, the Jesuits of the Albanian mission of the Veneto Province took charge of the Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Skopje, and in 1922, the Vice-Province of Yugoslavia took charge of the parish. The Jesuits left Skopje in 1935. Then, in 1963, Jesuits returned to Skopje. However, they had to leave again in 1970. More than thirty years later, Jesuits were again in Macedonia: they remained in Skopje from 2003 until 2010.

In North Macedonia, Catholics make up less than 1% of the 2 million population. According to the statistics of the Diocese of Skopje, there are two parishes of the Roman Rite (Skopje and Bitola) with around 3700 Roman Catholics. In the Greek Catholic eparchy, founded in 2017, there are roughly 12 thousand Catholics of the Byzantine Rite in seven parishes.

Luka Ilić SJ

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