Text topic: Themes
Text author: Драган Тодоровић
The Protestantization of the Roma refers to a more recent process of mass involvement of the Serbian Roma in small religious communities of Protestant provenance. Cultural factors, reflected in the level of similarity between elements of the Romani cultural identity and the religious experience of the communities belonging to Protestant provenance, play a crucial role in the process of Protestantisation. Among these factors, the most important are: the role of music and dance in celebrating God, freedom and expressiveness in demonstrating spirituality, and closeness of the established religious bonds. Celebration and adoration in the Pentecostal movement are parts of religious service which particularly appeal to the Roma. By clapping their hands and swinging their bodies, they express their gratitude to God, and by shouting “Hallelujah” and “Amen” they confirm the testimonies and prayers of gratitude of other believers. With their eyes closed, they cross their arms across the chest or raise them and stretch them out towards preachers with microphones in their hands. Sometimes they even cry. Special attention in Protestant communities is paid to the first and direct individual experience of the people with whom they spend time during service. In common alienation, which is omnipresent in modern times and in the situation in which the Roma are observed as enemies by the majority, small religious communities represent oases of friendship, loving shelters and new families which protect them from solitude, fear, poverty and sickness. They heartily communicate with each other with their glances and smiles, before, during and after the service. Not only the designated member, but all other believers as well, will shake hands with anyone who enters their church, and give them a hug once they have met them.