In Croatia, Health Magazine Launches Centennial Celebration

Life and Health has been sharing tips, hope for almost a century.

Vanesa Pizzuto and Neven Klačmer, Trans-European Division
In Croatia, Health Magazine Launches Centennial Celebration
From left to right, Mario Sijan, Tihomir Brkic, Nevenka Brandt Milovanovic, Miroslav Didara, and Miso Havran. The group is seen holding copies of the latest issue of Life and Health. [Photo: Vanesa Pizzuto/Adventist Media Exchange, CC BY 4.0]

At the 45th International Book Fair in Zagreb, Croatia, on November 12, the magazine Life and Health (životi zdravlje) began a yearlong celebration of its centennial.

The festivities commenced with a special panel discussion about the magazine’s history, led by Mario Sijan, publishing director for the Croatian Conference, alongside Tihomir Brkic, Nevenka Brandt Milovanovic, Miroslav Didara (editor-in-chief), and Miso Havran, health director for the Croatian Conference. The event also included the release of a free special issue.

“We are delighted to witness the way God has guided us and developed His work in Croatia through Life and Health,” Sijan said. “It is not only read by church members but also distributed in city libraries nationwide, sold online, and found in hairdressing salons and shops throughout the country with great feedback.”

The inaugural issue of Life and Health rolled off the printing press in 1924. Commenting on the magazine’s journey, Slobodan Bobo Marceta, Croatian Conference president, said that “in the rearview mirror, we can witness nearly a century of the magazine. This means a 100-year mission dedicated to promoting a wholistic health approach for the Croatian people.”

According to Marceta, Life and Health plays a pivotal role “when reaching out to a society that may sometimes holds prejudice towards smaller religious groups.” The magazine empowers members to share a message, “now more relevant than ever, as people are increasingly interested in exploring well-being and health.”

“All our writers contribute on a volunteer basis,” Didara said, but he also expressed thanks to key partners in the magazine’s success: Croatian church members. “Our church members are one of the main distribution sources for the magazine. While we utilize other channels, our members are the most effective at getting this magazine in the hands of those who will benefit most. Our members enjoy sharing the magazine because they have something tangible in their hands to share — as part of their personal ministry and witness for Christ.”

The celebrations will extend throughout the year with a series of events, including a health expo in Zagreb. For now, those present at the book fair took home a complimentary copy of Life and Health and enjoy a one-year free subscription.

A Brief History of the Magazine

Life and Health was founded in 1924. Its first editor Albin Močnik, was followed by Sigfried Ludevig and Mirko Golubić. Initially published with a print run of 10,000 copies, the magazine aimed to convey that adhering to God’s principles of health could lead to an improved life. Unfortunately, the onset of the Second World War halted its circulation for roughly two decades — subsequent attempts to restart publication faced bans and challenges.

In 1972, Life and Health made a triumphant return to circulation under the leadership of Velimir Šubert and Slavko Čop as editors. With its rebirth, the magazine became available in six languages in an A-4 format, resulting in a much wider distribution of between 20,000 to 40,000 copies per issue. The publication continued its flourishing journey for another two decades until the eruption of the war in Croatia. In the aftermath of the conflict, dedicated enthusiasts courageously initiated the magazine’s revival, marking its third resurgence.

In 2014, with the support of generous donors and volunteers, the Health Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Croatia restarted its circulation. Under the leadership of Nevenka Blažić-Čop and Didara, the magazine attained new heights, transitioning into full-color printing, adopting a B4 format, and once again reaching circulation levels of 20,000 copies per issue.

The original version of this story was posted on the Trans-European Division news site.

Vanesa Pizzuto and Neven Klačmer, Trans-European Division