Malta
Republic of Malta
August 8
Europe


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 316 sq.km. Three small but strategic islands in the central Mediterranean. Dry limestone hills with no rivers.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 388,544 +0.71% 1,230 per sq.
2010 412,587 +0.54% 1,306 per sq.
2025 429,847 +0.14% 1,360 per sq.

Capital Valetta 9,128. Urbanites 90%.

PEOPLES

Maltese 95.3%. Descendants of Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and others.

Other 4.7%. British 5,500; Arab 2,500; Other EU 2,000.

Literacy 96%. Official languages Maltese, English. Maltese is related to Arabic with a strong Italian influence.

ECONOMY

Based on tourism, ship building/repairing and light industry. Rapidly becoming a major container-port hub. HDI 0.850; 32nd/174. Public debt 44% of GNP. Income/person $9,330 (30% of USA).

POLITICS

Independent from Britain in 1964. Parliamentary republic since 1974. Power alternates between evenly matched socialists, who favour non-alignment and links with N. Africa, and nationalists who favour links with Europe. Malta is negotiating early entry into the EU.

RELIGION

The Catholic Church is the State Church. Discriminatory legislation against other religions and denominations was eased in 1989 and 1990. Legally, there is religious freedom.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 97.20 377,665 +0.6%
non-Religious/other 1.70 6,605 +6.8%
Muslim 1.10 4,274 +7.3%

Christians Denom. Affil. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 7 0.17 1 +5.1%
Anglican 1 0.28 1 -0.9%
Catholic 1 88.02 342 -0.3%
Marginal 1 0.23 1 +1.1%
Unaffiliated   8.50 33 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 80 213,750 342,000
Church of England A 2 180 1,100
Jehovah's Witnesses M 7 532 900
Chr Evangelical (AoG) P 3 70 180
Bible Baptist P 1 60 100
Evang Baptist P 2 70 90
Other denoms [4]   7 160 277
Total Christians [10]   102 214,800 344,600

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 1.0 4 +0.5%
Charismatic 4.5 17 -0.1%
  Pentecostal 0.1 0 +12.6%

Missionaries from Malta
P,I,A None known.

Missionaries to Malta
P,I,A 14 in 5 agencies from 3 countries.


Challenges for Prayer

1 Malta was the first nation in Europe to embrace Christianity – after the Apostle Paul's shipwreck on the island. It has been staunchly Catholic for many centuries with high church attendance. Despite continuing devotion to religion, few Maltese have been confronted with the need for a personal faith in the living Lord Jesus. Pray for a removal of the barriers of spiritual blindness and fear that hold many from commitment to Him.

2 Catholic charismatic groups have grown and spread all over the islands. They have considerable evangelistic zeal. Pray that leaders of the groups may centre their ministry on the Bible and resist pressures to compromise basic scriptural truth.

3 A Protestant evangelical witness among Maltese did not exist until after independence in 1964. This was not permitted by the Britlish rulers. Praise God for steady, albeit slow, growth since then. There are over 500 associated with the 11 or so congregations. Pray for:

a) The two Baptist groups and the AoG and their expanding witness to Maltese, and tourists. Though official opposition to Protestant activities has largely gone, social pressures on seekers and new converts can be intense. For many, to be Maltese is to be Catholic. Pray for multitudes to come to living faith in Christ.

b) The older, English-speaking denominations which have long catered to the needs of the expatriate community. There is much nominalism, and little effective outreach to the indigenous population.

4 Many Maltese have emigrated to other lands such as Australia (150,000), Britain (36,000), Italy (25,000) and Canada (20,000) where a number have come to the Lord. Pray that some of these may return to their homeland with the gospel.

5 North Africans have close links with Malta – especially diplomatically isolated and unevangelized Libya and also Tunisia. Pray for the many travellers, tourists and businessmen who come to Malta from these lands. Pray that there may be effective literature and personal outreach to them and that Malta may play a key role in the rebuilding of the North African Church.

6 Christian support ministries for prayer:

a) The Maltese Bible Society published the first one-volume Maltese Bible in 1980. Widespread publicity and controversy were stirred by this edition. A Catholic version was published in 1985. The Gideons have distributed Maltese, Arabic and English New Testaments widely in hotels, schools and institutions. Pray that many may read the Word with inner enlightenment and outward change.

b) Christian literature is limited in quantity and variety. Pray that evangelical titles may increase in number, and for the provision of those gifted in writing or translating. Pray for an effective publishing and distribution structure to be established.

c) The JESUS film has now been dubbed in Maltese – the first full-length film ever to have this.

d) Christian radio. In 2000 Christian Light Radio gained a licence for 24 hours/day FM broadcasting.

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