Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Country information: Croatia

Published: Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010

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Jan. 1, 2009: Est. Population, 4,489,000; Members 513; Branches 6; Districts 1;Percent LDS, .01, or one member in 8,750; Europe Area.

Located on the Balkan Peninsula in southeast Europe, Croatia is a republic made up of what was a northern internal division of Yugoslavia, where Croatian is spoken.

Due to political restrictions, no missionary work was done in Croatia until 1966 when Tomislav Zidar wrote to the Church requesting information. He had found a tract of "Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story" inside a newspaper.

In response to Zidar's letter, J. Peter Loscher, president of the Austrian Mission and his assistant Ralph V. Benson, traveled to Zagreb, Yugoslavia, to meet with Zidar. On 12 July 1966 he was baptized by Benson in the Sava River.

In 1971, Kresimir Cosic, a basketball player recruited to play for Brigham Young University, was baptized in Provo, Utah. Because of his popularity he became the Church's most powerful influence in Croatia until his death from leukemia on 25 May 1995. During his summer break from school in 1972, Cosic returned to his home in Zadar where he shared his new-found faith. He found a few converts and on 11 September 1972 the first sacrament meeting was held in Zadar.

In November of 1974 missionaries from the Austria Vienna Mission, at the suggestion of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve, began to conduct missionary work among Serbo-Croatian guest workers in Vienna. A Serbo-Croatian Sunday school was established in Vienna in March 1975. The work was sufficiently successful that six missionaries who had been trained in Serbo-Croatian at the Language Training Mission arrived on 7 May 1975 to work in Vienna.

Missionaries Kirk Barrus and Michael Meyer were sent from the Austria Vienna Mission to Zadar on 1 February 1978. Other missionaries soon followed to work there and in other cities. Missionaries continued to work throughout the 1980s under the jurisdiction of the Austria Vienna Mission. Though not allowed to actively work as traditional missionaries, they were permitted to speak about the Church if they were first asked by a potential investigator.

Church registration was granted in 1985 after the first meetinghouse in Zagreb was dedicated in November of that year by Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve.

In July 1987 the Austria Vienna East Mission was created and responsibility for Croatia was transferred to that mission.

Responsibility for Yugoslavia returned to the Austria Vienna Mission on 22 March 1991. In June of that year, when Croatia and neighboring Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia, missionaries were evacuated due to the ensuing war. They returned in February 1992.

Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Kresimir Cosic, because of his relationship with the United States, and because of the respect held for him within the country, was appointed deputy ambassador to the United States from Croatia in 1992.

July 1996 marked the creation of the Austria Vienna South Mission with Johann Wondra as president. The mission was responsible for supervising the nations of the former Yugoslavia including Croatia. In June of 1999 the mission offices were transferred from Vienna, Austria, to Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the name of the mission was changed to the Slovenia Ljubljana Mission. The name was changed again in January 2003, to the Croatia Zagreb Mission.

In 2003, membership reached 375.

Sources: Kahlile B. Mehr, Mormon Missionaries Enter Eastern Europe, 2002; Zagreb Croatia District, Annual historical report, Church Archives; Croatia Zagreb Mission, Annual historical report, Church Archives; Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan, Unto Every Nation: Gospel Light Reaches Every Land, 2003; Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, eds., "Croatia," Encyclopedia of Latter-Day Saint History, 2000; "Former Y. Basketball Star is Deputy Ambassador," Church News, 26 September 1992.

Mission — 1

(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)

(309) CROATIA ZAGREB MISSION

Molekova Ul. 3

1211 Ljubljana - Smartno, Slovenia