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A History of Orthodox Missions Among the Muslims

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Another Turkic people who converted from Islam to Orthodoxy are the Gagauz, their total number today being around 220,000. Since 1994 they have had their own autonomous territory within the Republic of Moldova - the "Gagauz Yeri." The Gagauz descended from the Turkic Oguz, Pechenegs, and Polovzy who adopted Islam as early as the 9th century but later converted to Christianity in the 13th century. A sprinkling of Arabic words and Muslim terms found in everyday Gagauz are the main evidences of their Islamic heritage. In the Russian-Turkish wars at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th the Gagauz fought for the Russians, at the same time settling the depopulated steppes of southern Bessarabia (modern day Moldova).
Missions among the Caucasian peoples of southern Russia have been no less fruitful. During the second half of the 16th century Allah-Verdi of Tsakhur, who had previously converted from Islam and had become a Christian missionary, brought the entire Ingyl Georgian tribe back to Orthodoxy.[12] At the dawn of the 19th century over 47,000 Ossetians converted to Christianity, thus bringing the majority of the Ossetian people out of Islam. By 1823 nearly all Ossetians were Orthodox. Quite a few lot Abkhazians also returned to Orthodoxy- between 1866 and 1902 a total of 21336 Muslim Abkhaz became Christian. In August 1759 a Kabardian noble, Kurgoko Konchokin, was baptized with his entire family, taking the name Andrei Ivanov and filing a petition to the mayor of Kizliar town to "assign him a plot for settlement between the hamlets of Mozdok and Mekenem.[13] In 1762 he was given the rank of lieutenant colonel and given the name Konchokin, prince of Cherkasy. It was Ivanov who founded the present town of Mozdok, where many Kabardians settled and voluntarily converted to Orthodoxy. Their descendants number nearly 2,500 and constitute nearly half of the Mozdok Kabardian subgroup.[14] The conversions of well-known and prominent individuals can be found among all the peoples of the Caucasus.
'''Saints of the Orthodox Church who converted from Islam'''

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