Introduction / History
The weather-beaten face of the aged Archi man shook back and forth negatively—once, twice, three times. An inquiring visitor had asked this patriarch, "Where do the Archi people originate from?"
"No," he responded emphatically, with the negative shakes of his head. "All other people come from us!"
High in the southern mountains of Dagestan in southern Russia, the rugged Archi people fiercely cling to their ancient identity. They are so fierce in their identity that they conclude that they are not the off-shoots of anyone.
Russian government pressure tried to subsume the Archi under the language category of their near-by neighbors—the Avar—but the Archi never internally agreed. Avar is utilized for writing, and secondarily the Russian language, but the Archi spoken language is alive and well in village families.
Where are they Located?
The distinct Archi language is spoken in eight Archi mountain villages with a total population of at least 2,000 Archins:
What are Their Beliefs?
The Archi have observed strict Sunni Islam for over 1000 years. Islam in these mountain villages is a blend of the Five Pillars and ancient superstitious practices, such as veneration of sacred trees, common to folk Islam. The Archi are renowned for their strengths of shepherding, weaving, and vigorous honor; but are not renowned for the qualities of mercy and grace, which have often been in short supply in this culture. No representatives of Jesus’ grace have yet found their way into relationships within Archi culture.
* Pray for the gospel of grace and the love of Jesus to find its way into the Archi world through true friends.
* Pray that the Word of God will be infused into Archi culture by creative efforts, and find its way into receptive Archi hearts.
* Pray Matthew 9:36-38 for the Archi people.
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