On September 8, Macedonia will celebrate 20 years of independence.
The country officially celebrates this day as Independence day with regard to the referendum endorsing independence from Yugoslavia.
Macedonia reflects the religious mix of Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims, typical to the Balkan region. Catholics are a minority. In a state, which numbers over two million inhabitants, the majority is Orthodox. In the capital city of Skopje and in the west of Macedonia bordering the Republic of Albania, Muslims make up about 20% of the local population.
With the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the fall of communism in 1991, the Macedonian Catholic Church, once again free, is flourishing.
Macedonia hosts two Catholic traditions: the Latin Rite and the Byzantine Rite. The small but dynamic community of 14,000 faithful are actively working and reaching out to rebuild their Church and their nation. Both traditions lie under the responsibility of Bishop Kiro Stoyanov, the Apostolic Exarch in Macedonia. In addition to ministering to both these Catholic traditions Bishop Kiro Stoyanov sees the betterment of ecumenical relations between Orthodox and Catholic as a priority.