Lezgian in Azerbaijan



Population

184,000

Christian

Evangelical

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


Introduction / History

The dynamic young Lezgi man, imitating the eagle, fell to his knees, leapt up and twirled with rapid foot movements, with his outstretched arms swooping above him. Nearby, but not touching him, the gracious Lezgi woman, with demure hand movements and light artistic footwork, appeared to be floating across the floor as she responded symmetrically to the male dance. Celebrating a village wedding, the two were dancing the Lezginka, the world-famous dance with its origins in the Lezgi people of the eastern Caucasus region. Or, perhaps, they were dancing the Lezginka on the stage of a packed-out theatre in front of 1000's in London or Munich or Moscow. The ancient folk dance of the Lezgi people expresses the proud history and cultural dynamism of the 800,000+ Lezgis of southern Russia and northern Azerbaijan. Lezgi—over 450,000 in Russia; an estimated 350,000 in Azerbaijan.


What Are Their Lives Like?

In the 90 Lezgi towns and villages of Dagestan the Lezgi raise sheep and goats, combined with subsistence agriculture, leather working, and textile production [famous hand woven carpets]. Life is similar in the more than 50 Lezgi towns and villages of northern Azerbaijan; with the exception that in Dagestan Russian serves as the 2nd language, whereas Azeri is the 2nd language for Lezgi in Azerbaijan. The Lezgi language, however, is alive and well—with robust oral activity in Lezgi villages, homes, and schools; and a huge reservoir of Lezgi literature and music. Many Lezgi have also out-migrated from rural Lezgi regions to urban areas of Dagestan and Azerbaijan, primarily for economic reasons. Patriarchal social structure among the Lezgi remains strong, especially in village life and in demarcated urban enclaves.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Islamic power swept into the Caspian seacoast region of the Lezgi people already in the 7th and 8th Centuries, and has carried huge influence into Lezgi society over the past 1000 years. By the end of the 18th Century, the Lezgi people were considered 100% Muslim. Spiritism and animistic practices are also widespread in Lezgi culture. Rags are tied on holy trees or near holy graves to seek spiritual assistance for health or marriage or economic good fortune. Soothsayers are frequently consulted.


What Are Their Needs?

As epitomized in the majestic Lezginka, there is a nobility in ancient Lezgi culture. This, however, as elsewhere in the world, does not leave the people immune to the effects of sinful human nature. And neither spiritism nor Islam provides the cleansing forgiveness of Jesus or the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. In the past two decades there are now 75+ Lezgi followers of Jesus in Dagestan, and more than 100 Lezgi believers in Azerbaijan. Pray for their influence to spread and multiply—Colossians 1:6. Of great significance is progress in Lezgi Bible translation. The Four Gospels & Acts and a Children's Bible have been published in Lezgi, and sixteen additional NT books are in process. From the OT, Ruth, Esther & Jonah have been published, and ten more OT books are in process. There is a strong Bible translation team, including Lezgi believers. This work connects with the heart of Lezgi language and culture. An ancient text in a Lezgi tribal language, from pre-Islamic times, even contains Bible translation portions. Pray that the best of noble Lezgi culture will be infused with the regenerating power of Jesus' grace.


Prayer Points

* Pray for the Lezgi believers to shine as bright lights in the midst of their Lezgi families & clans. Phil.2:12-15
* Pray for men and women of peace (Luke 10:6) in each one of the 142+ Lezgi towns & villages, to be keys to welcoming the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit into each Lezgi community in the years ahead. Matthew 9:36-38 & Hebrews 2:3-4
* Give thanks for the Translation Work which is underway. PRAY for wide reading! II Timothy 3:15-16
* Pray for many Lezgi to dance, full of the joy of the Holy Spirit, in the years to come. Isaiah 55:11
* Pray for the noble Lezgi culture to be graced with the Fruit of the Spirit in the next generation. Gal. 5:22-23


Profile Source:   provided by NCRP  

Expanded PDF Profile

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-09-22
People Name General Lezgian
People Name in Country Lezgian
Population in Azerbaijan 184,000
World Population 691,000
Countries 9
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Lezghi
Affinity Bloc Eurasian Peoples
People Cluster Caucasus
People Name General Lezgian
Ethnic Code CEW17b
People ID 13049
Country Azerbaijan
Region Central Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 46  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Qusar and Zachmaz provinces, near Russian Federation border on the northeast; southern slopes of main Caucasus chain.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Lezgi (184,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Lezgi 184,000

For Main Lanugage: Lezgi


Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1990-2010)
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Jesus Film: view in Lezgi Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Subdivision: Sunni

Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
0.10 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
99.90 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
30.0 %
Orthodox
60.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
Protestant
10.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: COMIBAM / Sepal  
Map Source: Bryan Nicholson / cartoMission  
Profile Source: provided by NCRP  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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