Austria is a country famous for its culture, music and arts. It has breathtakingly beautiful scenery with magnificent lakes, large forests, high mountains and a huge diversity of animal life. Austria also has a long and painful history as a country set in the heart of Europe. In the 16th century the Habsburg dynasty not only ruled the Austrian provinces but also Spain, and large parts of the New World. At the time the emperor coined the phrase that he ruled an empire where the sun never set. Today Austria is a small country in the centre of Europe.
Austria also had a turbulent history during the time of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. It was first Roman Catholic, and then the ‘new’ gospel of the Reformation won the hearts of approximately 80 percent of the population. But only 30 years later the Counter-Reformation led by the Roman-Catholic Church and the Habsburg ruler resulted in suppression, persecution, expulsion and murder of thousands of Protestant believers. The Austrian Empire became one of the strongest Roman Catholic countries in the world, with more than 90 percent Roman Catholic believers. It was strictly forbidden to read or even own a bible.
Although there was some little relaxation in the restrictions for the Lutheran church, freedom to proclaim the gospel in public only came in 1860. Therefore all the European revival movements bypassed Austria without visible influence. The drama in the 16th century had a strong impact on society, not only in religious beliefs but also in cultural behaviour, values and personal beliefs. Believing in God or not became a private, hidden aspect of life. Being part of the religious system was the keeping of tradition, and obedience to the ruler.
Today the influence of the Roman Catholic Church is decreasing – only 62 percent of the population is still nominally Catholic. However, on the increase is not the protestant-evangelical denomination but rather Islam, the second largest confession in Austria with more than 6 percent of the population. Since World War II, the fastest growing group is those who claim ‘no confession’, now representing more than 20 percent of the population.
OM started the first evangelistic summer outreaches in 1961. Since then several thousand young Christians have spent their summer holidays or even up to two years in Austria in order to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. OM Austria is as passionate today as at the beginning in desiring to be an instrument of hope in the hearts of communities, to see lives changed and society positively influenced.
What we are passionate about
Please pray for hearts to be reached; that people will find hope in God.
Please pray for more artists using their gifts to reach people with the good news.
Please pray for the young generation to grow up with a strong faith and a zeal to reach others with God’s love.
Give: Please find here http://www.a.om.org/deine-moeglichkeiten/geben how to support our work in general as well as through special projects.
OM EAST – Literature and Media
Also based in Austria, near Vienna, OM’s Literature and Media ministry, OM EAST. For more information, read OM EAST's ministry profile: https://www.om.org/en/ministry-profile/om-east-literature-and-media
More information about Austria