Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in the European Union (2017 Report)

November 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

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Is Migrant crisis in Europe really under control?

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Turkey deal may have stopped refugees from reaching France and UK but it has not resolved the crisis

Less than two years after the European Union was confronted with an unprecedented influx of refugees, during which over a million people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond flooded Europe’s borders, EU officials are saying that the migrant crisis is under control. For this, the EU credits its March 2016 agreement with Turkey, which was intended to curb entries into Greece via the Mediterranean Sea and end onward movement into Europe across the western Balkan route. At the time, one European Commission senior policy official said the agreement, which stipulated that Greece send back to Turkey those migrants who do not apply for asylum or have their claim rejected, was seen as necessary to “ensure the future of the EU”, where the migrant situation had become “explosive”.

Just over a year later, crossings on the eastern Mediterranean have dropped from a weekly peak of 1,400 in early March 2016 to a weekly average of 27 for March 2017. The western Balkan path into Europe has seen a similarly significant decrease in crossings, from 764,000 in 2015 to 123,000 in 2016. Declarations of success have come despite criticisms by NGOs and experts, who have condemned the Turkey deal as an outsourcing of responsibility. This tactic may have stopped refugees from reaching France, Germany and the United Kingdom, at least temporarily, but it has not resolved the crisis at Europe’s borders.

Crossings of the central Mediterranean, which predominantly impact Italy, are actually on the rise, and the stalemate over relocation of refugees from Greece to Turkey, a key part of the 2016 deal, continues. A new report by the German think tank Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) shows that EU states along the western Balkan route are systematically – and violently – pushing back migrants. This route, which was at the forefront of the 2015 crisis, remains active, but it has slightly changed: movement has been redirected from Greece to Bulgaria’s land border with Turkey.

In 2016, 18,000 migrants crossed into Bulgaria. According to the FES report, Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia have responded to the new influx by intensifying “efforts to prevent entry into their territory”. Hungary has further restricted its asylum legislation which “taken together with the physical push-backs, amount to the systematic violation of human rights” in the country, which already has the EU on edge with its ongoing crackdown on civil liberties. Attempts to forcibly close the borders in Hungary and Bulgaria have created a bottleneck in Serbia, where about 10,000 refugees and migrants are reported to be stuck. Border tightening across the western Balkan region has also led to an increase in the use of illicit smuggling networks, which is precisely the problem the EU claims it is seeking to tackle.

Meanwhile, the stalemate on relocation has left thousands of refugees trapped on the Greek islands. Thus far, only 1,000 people have been sent back to Turkey. With serious overcrowding and a lack of meaningful access to asylum procedures, the security situation in Greece is increasingly dire. The EU’s support for a possible agreement with Libya displays a lamentable lack of lesson-learning.

Italy had a similar deal with Libya in 2008, which collapsed with the Arab Spring. This directly contributed to the sharp rise in migration flows from 2011. Nor is the Turkey agreement the first time that the EU has tried to outsource responsibility.

The so-called Dublin Regulation, which from 2003 designated asylum responsibility to the country of entry, quickly became unsustainable, with Italy and Greece unable to tackle the massive influx. By turning a blind eye to the problems that the 2016 Turkey agreement is wreaking on Balkan states, the European Commission will again struggle to formulate a cohesive shared response to the ongoing migration crisis. As one European Parliament official stated, the tendency instead has been “to try and keep the problem out of the EU as much as possible so as to not have to deal with the situation.” But one European Commission policy official from the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs suggested in an interview that “containing the numbers through third country deals is a precondition” for all EU states to determine a common policy. Having “more predictable numbers”, she said, would give national governments the “breathing space” needed to sell voters on the need for a stronger, common approach to refugee arrivals.

But with the EU in a deadlock over the new Dublin negotiations, it is unclear whether member states can actually agree on a plan to effectively share responsibility in the continuing migrant crisis. Frontline member states are acutely concerned that the outcome of current talks may worsen the situation by further overburdening them. Inaction is not an option. Under international human rights law, European states are obliged to ensure safe and effective access to their territory for those fleeing persecution. It also has a legal mandate to find a solution: article 80 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union requires the bloc to pursue a common asylum policy grounded in the “principle of solidarity”.

The recent decision by the Commission to open sanction procedures against Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic for failing to comply with the relocation decision is a step in this direction. Confronting recalcitrant member states – perhaps by cutting off access to EU funding – the bloc can halt the current a la carte mentality that leads states to pick and choose when they share responsibility. Because, when it comes to Europe’s migration crisis, as one European Parliament member for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs put it, “either you get with the programme or you’re not in the club”.

Bulgaria Allows Foreigners to Buy Land after EU Launched Proceeding

November 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

EU Launches Proceeding on Agricultural Land Ownership Laws in Bulgaria

Bulgaria May Scrap Barriers on Foreigners Buying Land Under EU pressure – and to avoid heavy fines – the Bulgarian government is moving to remove barriers against the acquisition of agricultural land by foreign citizens. The European Commission took a decision Thursday on demanding a clarification on thelaws regarding the acquisition of agricultural lands passed in Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithunia and Slovakia.

As announced by the commisison’s press office, several of the directives in the laws can be considered as hindrances to the free movement of capital within the borders of the EU. All restrictions to agricultural land ownership need to be substantiated and justified so that no doubt is left on possible discrimination against foreign investors.

The commission also noted that all countries have the righ to determine their own laws, but they also need to comply with the union’s anti-discrimination policies. Some of the dubious requirements listed in the Bulgarian legislation involve requirement for residence in the country, restrictions regarding people with no professional qualification, as well as a requirement for the preliminary approval of sales contracts.

The EU Commission’s official announcement letter marks the start of the proceeding, giving countries a two-month deadline to provide information on the case. The last amendment to the Bulgarian property law states that there will be BGN 100 per decar sanctions on land ownership upon Bulgarians with properties outside of the EU, Investor.bg reminded.

Currnetly: Foreigners or foreign legal persons may acquire ownership of a land under the terms of an international treaty ratified by the order of Art. 22, Par. 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, promulgated and enforced, and foreigners – also by legal inheritance.

Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament Released on All Saints Day for the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

November 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Books, Events, Featured, News, Publication, Research

Our decade long work of “Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament with Critical Apparatus Based on Nestle-Aland 27/28 and UBS-5” in Bulgaria is now released

After working on the New Bulgarian Translation of the Bible since 1996 and more actively on the interlinear version for the past decade, on October 31, 2017 for the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia on All Saints Day 2017, we presented hot off the press the first edition of the Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament from the critical edition of GNT.

On the picture, a symbolic stack of the first 95 copies arranged at the presentation to commemorate with the work of the great reformers.

Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament with Critical Apparatus: Addressed Problems and Proposed Solutions

October 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Books, Events, Featured, News, Publication, Research

Releasing our decade long work of “Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament with Critical Apparatus Based on Nestle-Aland 27/28 and UBS-5” in Bulgaria

After twenty some years in Bible translation and a decade long work on this current edition, we are happy to announce that on the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, our Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament will be presented in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia on All Saints Day 2017. The Greek Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament proposes the following solutions to the translation of the Bible in Bulgarian:

  1. A non-received test – Textus Haud Receptus
  2. Critical Edition of the Greek New Testament alike Revised Textus Receptus, Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, von Soden, Nestle-Aland, UBS and SBL GNT
  3. Literal translation from Greek made word for word without dynamic equivalents
  4. Linguistic paradigm for repetitive parallel permutation structures in the Greek-Bulgarian translation alike form criticism of the Bible
  5. Analytical Greek New Testament with complete morphology of the words

Announcing our Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament with Critical Apparatus

October 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Books, Events, Featured, News, Publication, Research

Releasing our decade long work of “Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament with Critical Apparatus Based on Nestle-Aland 27/28 and UBS-5”in Bulgaria

October 31, 2017 marks the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. For this commemorative occasion, occurring only once every seven generations, we will be presenting a decade long work of ours in the capital Sofia. On All Saints Day 2017, the first edition of the Greek-Bulgarian Interlinear of the New Testament from the critical edition of GNT will be released. A symbolic stack of the first 95 copies arranged at the presentation will commemorate the work of the great reformers.

After working on the New Bulgarian Translation of the Bible since 1996 and more actively on the interlinear version for the past decade, we are hoping to address the following problems within the current revision of the Bulgarian Protestant Bible:

  1. Lack a definite orientation toward the critical edition of the Greek New Testament
  2. Revisions made on the basis of older revisions separating the current Bulgarian Revision from the true meaning of the Bible
  3. Diverse Biblical text tradition with undefined sources, base texts and methodology of revision
  4. Need of analytical Greek New Testament with proper morphology
  5. Interlinear edition, combining New Testament Greek and modern day Bulgarian based on the critical edition of the Greek New Testament

2017 Catalog of Immigrant Bulgarian Evangelical Churches around the World

October 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

bulgarian-churchBulgarian Evangelical Churches in the European  Union (2017 Report)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in America (2017 Report)

  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Chicago (2017 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Texas (2017 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches – West Coast (2017 Report)
  • Atlanta (active since 1996)
  • Los Angeles (occasional/outreach of the Foursquare Church – Mission Hills, CA)
  • Las Vegas (outreach of the Foursquare Church – http://lasvegaschurch.tv)
  • San Francisco (occasional/inactive since 2012, Berkeley University/Concord, CA)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Canada (2017 Report)

  • Toronto (inactive since 2007)
  • Toronto/Slavic (active since 2009)
  • Montreal (occasional/inactive since 2012)

CURRENTLY INACTIVE CHURCHES/CONGREGATIONS:

  • New York, NY (currently inactive)
  • Buffalo, NY  (occasional/inactive)
  • Jacksonville, FL  (occasional/inactive since 2014)
  • Ft. Lauderdale / Miami  (currently inactive)
  • Washington State, Seattle area (currently inactive)
  • Minneapolis, MN (occasional/inactive since 2015)

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South East Region Prayer Meeting in Bulgaria

October 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

European Court of Human Rights to Stop Social Engineering

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

The European Court in Strasbourg has condemned the Russian law which protects children from propaganda by “sexual minorities”. This is not the Court’s first decision, based not on real human rights, but on radical ideologies which destroy the core values of each person and each sovereign people.

Recently, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECHR) adopted a new decision on the complaint of Russian homosexual activists (“Bayev and Others v. Russia”). In it, in fact, the Court declared the Russian law which prohibits the promotion of homosexuality and other non-traditional sexual relations among children, “discriminates” and violates “human rights” (below, you can read the full text of the decision).

The social meaning of the decision of the European Court is obvious – in fact, it claims that the promotion of homosexuality among children and to the general public is a “human right”.

This decision, no doubt, is inspired not by legal logic, but, frankly, by ideology. And, it is an ideology of a radical sort, directed against the family, marriage, traditional moral values of most European nations, and most importantly – against the interests of the children themselves.

Everything that does not agree with this ideology is completely ignored by the Court. And the Court does this not just without justification in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which should completely determine its work, but also in direct contradiction tothis international document and its binding norms.

During the consideration of the case, not only was the position of the Russian Federation presented, but also – as a third party position – the arguments of the Russian NGO, “Family and Demography Foundation” (you can read these arguments in the “For More Information” section, below).

These convincing and sound arguments were ignored or discarded by the Court as non-essential.

The Court ignored the objective facts – that, according to authoritative scientific data, the homosexual lifestyle is associated with a serious danger to physical and mental health. Public promotion of it – especially among children – threatens the health of the population.

The Court also ignored the fact that international legal standards require special legal protection for the family – the “natural and fundamental group unit” – and marriage between a man and a woman, on which it is based. Children have the right to grow and be educated in such a social setting that protects the family and associated moral values, and not in a society where the opposite “values” of so-called “sexual minorities” are openly advocated.

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, in its decisions, has repeatedly stressed: from the Constitution of our country, “… it follows that the family, motherhood and childhood in their traditional understanding, understood from our ancestors’ understanding, represent those values that ensure a continuous change of generations, serve as a condition for the preservation and development of a multinational people of the Russian Federation, and therefore they need special protection from the state “.

The Court ignored the fact that the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle as “normal” contradicts the values of the majority of Russian residents – and, not only representatives of different traditional religions, but also non-believers as well.

All this the European Court ignored and rejected in defiance of the norms of the Convention itself, to which it is obliged to be guided.

After all, Article 10 of the Convention, in which the Court accused the Russian Federation of a “violation”  in its decision, clearly indicates that freedom of expression can be limited to national laws,“in the interests of national security,…for the protection of health and morals,…or the rights of others.”

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, in its recent decision, fairly and reasonably explained that the European Court, in interpreting the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, must rely on generally accepted international norms, and, in particular, on the provisions of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties:

By fixing in Article 26 the fundamental principle of international lawpacta sunt servanda (each treaty in force is binding on its participants and must be executed in good faith by them), the Vienna Convention also establishes a general rule for the interpretation of treaties, which provides that the treaty must be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the usual meaning that should be given to the terms of the treaty in their context, and also in the light of the object and purpose of the treaty(art. 31, para. 1).

Thus, an international treaty is binding for its participants in the sense that can be clarified through the given rule of interpretation. From this point of view, if the European Court of Human Rights, in interpreting the case, or a provision of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, gives the concept used in it something other than its ordinary meaning or interprets it contrary to the object and purpose of the Convention, the State, in respect of which the decision in this case has been delivered, has the right to refuse its execution, as beyond the limits of the obligations voluntarily assumed by this state upon ratification of the Convention.”

Unfortunately, the European Court of Human Rights has, for more than a year now, instead of making substantiated and just decisions (having clear legal grounds), and, instead of protecting the genuine human rights guaranteed by the relevant Convention, very often deals with very different things.

Nowadays, the Court has started to impose a new, groundless understanding of “human rights”, based on false and dangerous radical ideologies. These ideologies are directed against family, marriage, the rights of parents, and human life itself.

At the same time, the Court constantly issues its own self-referencing interpretations of the norms of the Convention, deprived of real legal grounds, for the “emerging European consensus” in the field of human rights. The Court calls this approach “an evolutionary interpretation of the Convention”, but there are no grounds for it in the Convention itself. Moreover, it follows from the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties that this approach is inadmissible.

In reality, the ECHR replaces genuine international norms with its own baseless judgements and opinions which are not based on the text of the Convention.

In recent years, the Court has taken very many such unjust decisions. The current decision, in the case of Bayev and Others v. Russia, is just one of many examples of this kind.

Below, you can read about some of these rulings in a special message from the Russian Family and Demographic Foundation, to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, as well as a report by Paul Coleman, a legal expert from the international organisation “Alliance Defending Freedom”.

It is enough to list only some of the recent examples of judicial activism at the ECHR:

  • In the case of Koch v. Germany, the Court, in fact, included in the “right to privacy” the possibility of euthanasia (suicide with the help of doctors). At the same time, the Court came into conflict with their own legal precedents in other decisions!
  • In the case of Goodwin v. The United Kingdom, the Court stated that it is no longer “convinced” that, in our time, it is still possible to proceed from the assumption that the words “man” and “woman” should “denote the definition of gender on the basis of purely biological criteria”. In other words, the Court declared that gender today is no longer determined by sex – supporting a gender-based ideology, devoid of any scientific basis.
  • In the case of Schalk and Kopf v. Austria, the Court stated that there was “an emerging European consensus in favor of the legitimate recognition of same-sex marriages.” And, in the case of Vallianatos and Others v. Greece, the Court held that Greece “violated the rights” of same-sex couples by not allowing them to register “civil unions”. The fact is that the Greek law allows such unions to be concluded as an alternative to marriage, but only of different sexes. But, the Court stated that the state should recognise “civil union” for same-sex couple, too.
  • And, in fact, in its decision on Paradiso and Campanelli v. Italy, several years ago, the Court tried, not only to force states to recognise surrogate motherhood (which is banned in many countries), but, also, to “legalise” the trafficking in children.

By acting in this way, the European Court deprives itself of legitimacy and undermines the protection of real human rights.

Here it is appropriate to quote the dissenting opinion of Judge Ziemele of the European Court, commenting on the Court’s decision in Andreeva v. Latvia:

“The Court must not go against the general principles of interpretation established by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and thus act ultra vires. This creates challenges in the field of international law that have a certain novelty, and affects the value of such judgements. The Court should not promote the fragmentation of international law in the name of dubious human rights and should not easily take decisions that could undermine state building, because the protection of human rights still requires the existence of strong and democratic states…”.

Please sign this petition to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg!

Let’s tell the European Court that its approach to interpreting the Convention is not based in real human rights, but in an ideology. By acting in this way, it usurps the rights of sovereign peoples, and these actions undermine the international system for the protection of genuine human rights. By its unjust actions, the Court destroys its own authority and legitimacy.

If this is not immediately stopped, then we will be ready to demand that our governments withdraw from the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms!

Prophetic Revival in Bulgaria: The Search for Holiness Continues

October 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

bulgaria2015The Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 did not take believers in the Eastern Block by surprise. They had been fervently praying for God to intervene and He did. Perhaps the greatest miracle of the 20th century was Communism falling on its own. If suffering with the Regime had been an eschatological expectation, the fall of the Regime was an eschatological celebration. And through all these times, the search for deep, biblical holiness after the heart of God never stopped. For the people of God, that search was always miraculous and prophetic.

IДжони Ноер в БЪЛГАРИЯ 10n the spring of 1989, a Danish journalist by the name of Johny Noer came to Bulgaria with a prophetic message. For years he had lived and travelled in many countries with his family and coworkers in a convoy of several trailers. They met the start of 1989 with a seven-day fast on the island of Pathmos where God told them to travel to Eastern Europe and proclaim the fall of the Regime. The Convoy did so through many difficulties paying a high price to minster in Bulgaria for the next three months.

The last service they conducted before being extradited by the authorities was on Easter morning at the Black Sea port city of Varna. Thousands of believers arrived from all over the country. The use of an auditorium was not allowed so they gathered outside the small Pentecostal church at the cities outskirts. They were surrounded by a dense police cordon of several hundred K9 patrols. Under these circumstances, the sermon could only be short and simple. In fact, it contained the exact words the Communist Police forbade Pastor Noer to say: “Let My People Go!” A prophecy was given that Communism will soon fall. It was fulfilled exactly seven months later on November 10, 1989.

Джони Ноер в БЪЛГАРИЯ 2But there was something else that happened at that memorable Easter morning. Two large scrolls were brought into the church. There, over 5,000 men and women signed their names as a testimony of their dedication to God and preaching the Gospel until revival breaks through in Bulgaria. Beside a petition to the government for religious freedom, this national declaration affirmed the search for holiness, which even Communism had not been able to stop in Bulgaria.

In the fall of 2014 our ministry invited Pastor Johny Noer to Bulgaria again. His second visit marked exactly 25 years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall. After a week long crusade in a dozen of Bulgarian cities, several thousand Christians gathered again in Varna and signed two new scrolls containing the Second Varna Declaration. The event was just like a quarter of a century ago and made clear that revival cycles take place on increments of 25 years – a period where two generations overlap. It also proved that the search for holiness has not stopped in Bulgaria.

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