25 Year Revival Cycles in Bulgaria’s Protestant History

February 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News

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2014    Pastor Johny Noer visits Bulgaria with a prophecy for a new spiritual revival in the land

1989    First visit of Pastor Johny Noer in Bulgaria. The Berlin Wall fell seven months later

1964    Pastor Stoyan Tinchev of the Bulgarian Church of God passed away. This was a breakthrough moment for the ministry of the denomination, which will occupy a historical place in the Bulgarian Pentecostal movement in the next half of century

1939    In the years before WWII, Dr. Nikolas Nikoloff returned to Bulgaria in a renewed attempt to unite all Pentecostal churches in the country. Future Pentecostal Union’s president Ivan Zarev is ordained to the ministry, which determined the pro-government course the denomination would take under the Communist Regime

1914 The beginning of the Great War stopped access of American missionaries to Bulgaria and opened the doors for liberal theology to enter traditional protestant churches. This factor alone allowed the success of the first Pentecostal missionaries sent to Bulgaria by the Assemblies of God in 1920.

1889 After the bylaws of the Congregational church are accepted in the city of Pazardjik in 1888, the Congregational denomination is registered in the capital Sofia on October 27, 1889. Interestingly, exactly a century later again in the capital Sofia on October 27, 1989, the communist militia uses force to stop Green Party protestors which marks the beginning of the fall of communism in Bulgaria.

1864 The monthly protestant periodical “Zornitsa” (Morning Star) is first published to become not only the most successful protestant publication in Bulgaria, but also a symbol of Bulgaria’s Enlightenment. At the same time, ABFMC agent Charles Mors began a Bible Study in Sofia from which the first evangelical church in the capital will emerged in 1879.

1839 In Smyrna (modern day Turkey) began the printing of the first modern day Bulgarian New Testament

1814 The agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society, Robert Pinkerton “discovered” the Bulgarians within the border of the Ottoman Empire and immediately calls for translators who can translate the Bible in the local vernacular. The year marks the beginning of Protestantism in Bulgaria.

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25 Years after Communism…

November 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, News

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red-light25 years in 60 seconds at the red-light…

I’m driving slowly in the dark and raining streets of my home town passing through clouds of car smoke. The gypsy ghetto in the outskirts of town is covered with the fog of fires made out of old tires burning in the yards. And the loud music adds that grotesque and gothic nuance to the whole picture with poorly clothed children dancing around the burnings.

The first red light stops me at the entrance to the “more civilized” part of the city. The bright counter right next to it slowly moves through the long 60 seconds while tiredly walking people pass through the intersection to go home and escape the cold rain. The street ahead of me is already covered with dirt and thickening layer of sleet.

This is how I remember Bulgaria of my youth and it seems like nothing has changed in the past 25 years.

The newly elected government just announced its coalition cabinet – next to a dozen like it that had failed in the past two decades. The gas price is holding firmly at $6/gal. and the price of electricity just increased by 10%, while the harsh winter is already knocking at the doors of poor Bulgarian households. A major bank is in collapse threatening to take down the national banking system and create a new crisis much like in Greece. These are the same factors that caused Bulgaria’s major inflation in 1993 and then hyperinflation in 1996-97.

What’s next? Another winter and again a hard one!

Ex-secret police agents are in all three of the coalition parties forming the current government. The ultra nationalistic party called “ATTACK” and the Muslim ethnic minorities party DPS are out for now, but awaiting their move as opposition in the future parliament. At the same time, the new-old prime minister (now in his second term) is already calling for yet another early parliamentarian election in the summer. This is only months after the previous elections in October, 2014 and two years after the ones before them on May 2013.

Every Bulgarian government in the past 25 years has focused on two rather mechanical goals: cardinal socio-economical reforms and battle against communism. The latter is simply unachievable without deep reformative change within the Bulgarian post-communist mentality. The purpose of any reform should be to do exactly that. Instead, what is always changing is the outwardness of the country. The change is only mechanical, but never organic within the country’s heart.

Bulgaria’s mechanical reforms in the past quarter of a century have proven to be only conditional, but never improving the conditions of living. The wellbeing of the individual and the pursuit of happiness, thou much spoken about, are never reached for they never start with the desire to change within the person. For this reason, millions of Bulgarians and their children today work abroad, pursuing another life for another generation.

The stop light in front of me turns green bidding the question where to go next. Every Bulgarian today must make a choice! Or we’ll be still here at the red light in another 25 years from now…

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