Abkhaz in Russia


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

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Introduction / History

At the eastern end of the Black Sea, a pleasant stretch of land rises from the shores of the Black Sea to the southwestern slopes of the mighty Caucasus Mountain range. For millennia this is the ancient homeland of the Abkhaz people. One writer states, "From the earliest of times, the warmth and mildness of the climate and the fertility of the land have defined the Abkhaz way of life." Abkhaz village and small-town life is strong in the raising of cattle, farming, beekeeping and vineyards.
The disputed province of Abkhazia is half composed of native Abkhaz, speaking their own distinct Abkhaz language. The Abkhazians then for the most part utilize Russian as a 2nd language. Abkhazia, in the 20th Century, was considered a province of Georgia, but the 1992-93 War in Abkhazia left the province in an uneasy semi-autonomous state, estranged from Georgia but not independent. A second conflict in 2008 further distanced the region from Georgia and left the region in a quasi-union with Russia, and with an uncertain international status. In Abkhazia, approximately 50% of the 125,000 Abkhazians are city-dwellers and the other 50% live in rural village settings. North across the border in southwestern Russia, the 11,500 Abkhazians are 85% urban and only 15% rural.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Abkhaz women in Russia marry in their early twenties, but men often wait until their thirties or even forties. Marriage is forbidden with all possible relatives; individuals are not allowed to wed anyone with the same surname as any of their grandparents. In the past, the young man and his friends kidnapped the young woman and took her to his house, where the marriage ceremony was performed. Whether or not the bride was abducted, her family does not attend the wedding. She is required to stand silent and secluded while her husband's family feasts and celebrates.
The Abkhaz highly value hospitality. A guest is given the same respect as a father or grandfather and is seated at a place of honor at the table. The arrival of a guest is accompanied by a ritual feast. Over wine, hosts and guests go through rounds of toasts, honoring each other and getting to know each other better. Providing hospitality in this way is a source of family pride.


What Are Their Beliefs?

In the 6th Century, most of Abkhazia became nominally Christian; then in the 16th Century due to the Ottoman Turk takeover and pressure from the Muslim Adyghe to the north, the region became largely Muslim. This changed again in the 1860s, when Russian conquest forced massive numbers of western-Caucasus Muslims south into the Ottoman Empire. Present-day Abkhaz are considered 60-80% Orthodox Christian and 20-40% Sunni Muslim—both in Abkhazia and in southern Russia.
But many Abkhaz will observe that these Christian or Muslim formal influences are "less enduring than older animistic cultural ways of reverence for trees and nature, and ancestor worship." One present-day Abkhaz historian said, "We're 80% Christian, 20% Muslim, and 100% pagan." Evangelical Christians in Abkhazia are less than 1%; and among the Abkhazians located in southwestern Russia, there are less than 20 evangelical believers. Furthermore, in Abkhazia the Orthodox Church is badly splintered between Armenian, Georgian, Russian, and the (unrecognized by Eastern Orthodox hierarchy) predominant Abkhazian Orthodox Church. A fresh reading of the New Testament, coupled with a fresh breeze of the Holy Spirit (Acts 3:19), is deeply needed for the Abkhaz people.


What Are Their Needs?

The Abaza people need spiritual hunger. As it stands, they are willing to settle for spiritual counterfeits rather than drink from the water of life.


Prayer Points

Pray for a re-emergence of the simple transforming gospel among the Abkhaz people.
Pray for open-hearted Abkhaz to be graced with the power of the Holy Spirit, and through them for the fruit of the Spirit to begin to flourish in a society wracked by conflict and clan power struggles.
Pray that many Abkhaz will be inspired by the example of Acts 8, where robust pagan worship was superseded by the power of Jesus' gospel, accompanied “by signs and wonders following.
Pray for success for the Abkhaz Bible Translation Team which is preparing the four gospels for publication, with Acts and the Epistles to follow.


Scripture Prayers for the Abkhaz in Russia.


References

provided by NCRP


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  
Other PDF Profile

People Name General Abkhaz
People Name in Country Abkhaz
Pronunciation AHB-kahz
Alternate Names Abkhazian; Abxazo; Abzhui; Apswa; Bzyb; Ubyx
Population this Country 8,100
Population all Countries 190,000
Total Countries 6
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 3
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 10130
ROP3 Code 100018
ROP25 Code 300015
ROP25 Name Abkhaz
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.08 %)
70.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
30.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Primary Language Abkhaz (8,100 speakers)
Language Code abk   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Abkhaz (8,100 speakers)
Language Code abk   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Abkhaz

Primary Language:  Abkhaz

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1912-1981)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2015)
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Film / Video Jesus Film: View in Abkhaz Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Apsuwara - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source Temo Blumgardt - Wikimedia  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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