EU Elections 2019 in Bulgaria

May 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Publication

The names of all 17 new MEPs became clear. The CEC officially announced theresults of Sunday’s European elections. Thus, 5 Bulgarian parties and coalitions will have their representatives in the new European Parliament. These are GERB, BSP, DPS (MRF), VMRO (IMRO) and Democratic Bulgaria.

Most MEPs – 6, will have the party of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in a SDS (UDF) coalition. Maria Gabriel, Andrey Kovatchev, Andrey Novakov, Eva Maydell, Asim Ademov and Alexander Yordanov are leaving for Strasbourg. The BSP MEPs will be Elena Yoncheva, Sergei Stanishev, Petar Vitanov, Tsvetelina Penkova and Ivo Hristov. DPS sends three MEPs to the new European Parliament – Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Iskra Mihaylova, Atidje Alieva-Velii. In fact, they are candidates from third to fifth in the list, but due to the rejection of the first two – Mustafa Karadayi and Delyan Peevski, the next three will leave for Strasbourg.

VMRO will have two MEPs – the leader of the list Angel Dzhambazki and the director Andrey Slabakov. The second was under No. 4 in the vote list, but because of the preferential vote he has collected, he will replace Yulian Angelov and Alexander Sidi. The last coalition, sending a MEP, is Democratic Bulgaria. Its representative in the new EP will be Radan Kanev.

According to the latest CEC data, 31.07% of the actual ballots released in the polls last Sunday were for GERB. BSP collects 24.26% of the vote. For the DPS voted 16.55% of the people. VMRO colected 7.36% and Democratic Bulgaria – 6.06%. “Volya” remains below the minimum threshold with 3.62% of the votes, the independent candidate Desislava Ivancheva with 1.55%, Mincho Hristov with 1.18%, Valeri Simeonov collected 1.15% of the votes, ‘’Way to the Young” coalition with 1.09%, Attack with 1.07%, Vazrazhdane NP with 1.04% and others.

As we have previously proposed, this puts Bulgaria back on the “Red Light of 25 Years of Communism…” as in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018…

Government Elections in Bulgaria (2005-2019):

elections 20132005 Parliamentary Elections
2006 Presidential Elections
2007 Municipal Elections
2009 Parliamentary Elections
2009 European Parliament elections
2011 Presidential Elections
2011 Local Elections
2013 Early parliamentary elections
2014 Early Parliamentary Elections
2015 Municipal Elections
2016 Presidential election
2017 Parliamentary elections
2019 European Parliament election (23-26 May)
2019 Bulgarian local elections

Global Network of Bulgarian Evangelical Churches outside of Bulgaria (2019 Report)

May 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

bulgarian-churchBulgarian Evangelical Churches in the European  Union (2019)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in America (2019 Report)

  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Chicago (2019 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Texas (2019 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches – West Coast (2019 Report)
  • Atlanta (active since 1996)
  • Los Angeles (occasional/outreach of the Foursquare Church – Mission Hills, CA)
  • Las Vegas (outreach of the Foursquare Church –
  • San Francisco (occasional/inactive since 2012, Berkeley University/Concord, CA)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Canada (2019 Report)

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


  • 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)


Russian Molokan Immigrants Land at Angel Island

May 20, 2019 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Editor’s note: The earliest group of Russian immigrants to arrive in San Francisco were Molokan peasants from the Kars region of the Transcaucaus in 1905. Religious dissenters from the Russian Orthodox Church, they were called “Molokane” or “milk drinker” by the Russian clergy because of their refusal to abstain from drinking milk or eating meat during the Orthodox fast days. The group called themselves “Spiritual Christian Holy Jumpers” and also refused to bear arms. They were persecuted and exiled into the wilds of the Transcaucasian region in 1820 and threatened with conscription into the military after 1887. Fearful of their future as religious dissenters and pacifists in a hostile land, approximately 3,000 Molokans embarked on a clandestine journey to America between 1904 and 1911. Traveling in large and small groups of families, most of them entered at the ports of New York, Montreal, and Galveston. At least 300 came via Panama and thus ended up at the port of San Francisco.

Though the Immigration Station on Angel Island did not open until January 21, 1910, the government ran a quarantine station in Ayala Cove from 1891 to 1946. Many of the Molokans settled in Los Angeles, the Central Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, and in Arizona and Oregon.  For a time there was also a Russian Molokan colony in Baja California, near Ensenada. This is the story of Alex Babashoff’s journey to America. The Immigration Station had not yet been built, but he stayed in the quarantine station on Ayala Cove on Angel Island.

My grandfather Alexandr Ivanovich Babashoff, “Alex,” immigrated to America via Panama arriving in San Francisco in 1905, where he was quarantined for a time on Angel Island. His journey began at the Black Sea port of Batumi, Georgia, with a group of fellow Russian Molokans, a spiritual Christian sect that practiced their faith separately from the dominant Russian Orthodox Church.

Many Molokans originally lived in and around the city of Tambov, about 450 km southeast of Moscow. Count Leo Tolstoy, who lived nearby, took notice of and admired their pacifist and communal way of living. Because their beliefs were contrary to the state-supported religion and with a growing number of followers, government and church authorities considered Molokans a threat. In 1839 the Tsar ordered Molokans to resettle in southern regions of the Russian Empire beyond the Caucasus Mountains – present day Armenia, Georgia and Russian-occupied territory in the eastern part of Turkey. Once in this frontier area, the families were granted temporary exemptions from military service and were able to more freely practice their religion.

Following a prophecy within the greater Molokan community that foretold of a migration to a promised “land of milk and honey” where they could enjoy more religious freedom, a group of elders explored North America for a potential new homeland. Tolstoy encouraged them to pick Canada where he was instrumental in resettling another sectarian group called the Doukhobors, but they chose California.

Alex was born in one of the small agricultural villages surrounding Kars, Turkey, in the shadow of Mt. Ararat in 1886. In February 1905 he and my grandmother (“Babunya”) Masha welcomed their first child Tanya (“Aunt Jennie”).

In 1904 Russia went to war with Japan. By 1905 the Tsar was in need of more young men for his army, and the military service exemption granted to the Molokans expired. Alex was 19 years old and therefore a prime candidate to be conscripted. He knew it was time to follow the prophecy even if it meant leaving his new family behind. He was confident he could arrange for them to be reunited soon. So Alex joined a group of about 144 men, women and children that boarded the ship (name unknown) in Batumi in March of 1905 for the journey to a new home in America.

Port of Batumi

The first leg of the journey was across the Black Sea with a stop in the Ukrainian city of Odessa before passing through the Bosphorus Strait. Their next stop was Constantinople (now called Istanbul), Turkey, but they were not permitted to go ashore. The ship then passed through Sea of Marmara, the Dardanelles, and the Aegean Sea before entering the Mediterranean. A few days later, the ship dropped anchor in Marseilles, France. From there some of the original group continued on to Ellis Island in New York while the majority was directed to the Panama Canal Zone.

The group observed Passover which occurred between April 5 and April 12 in 1905 during their Atlantic Ocean crossing.

After several days at sea, the ship arrived in Colon on the eastern Caribbean shore of Panama. Since the canal was still under construction, they had to cross the isthmus by train to Balboa on the Pacific side.

Train across Panama Canal Zone

The officials told the elders of the group that they needed to pay more money to book passage to California. Not everyone had enough money left, so they found construction jobs on the Panama Canal project.

It was hard work in the tropical climate. The weather was hot and humid, which reminded them of stepping into a banya (Russian steam bath). There were many disease-carrying insects. Many of the workers before them had caught malaria from the mosquitoes. A yellow fever epidemic had just been reported.

At first, the foreman refused to pay the Molokans for their labor.  Instead, he asked them to stay and work longer. The elders protested and told him they must join their brothers and sisters in Los Angeles.

For the last leg of the journey, the Molokan immigrants divided into three groups.  Each group sailed on ships of the Pacific Mail Steamship Line at different times. It took up to 23 days for the voyage from Panama to San Francisco, California.

The first group of forty-five immigrants departed Ancon, Panama, aboard the S.S. San Juan on May 12, 1905. The ship made a few port calls along the way including La Union, El Salvador, on May 19, San Jose, Guatemala, on May 21 and Mazatlan, Mexico, on May 28 before arriving in San Francisco on June 5. An article in the San Francisco Call newspaper the next day (June 5, 1905) included this description of the party: “The Slavs are of the peasant class, clean and healthy in appearance and not unintelligent. The party includes about a score of babies and young children.”

S.S. San Juan

The passenger manifest indicates that one baby boy was born at sea, one man died on June 5, and eleven Molokans were held in quarantine on Angel Island for observation or to be treated for various eye and skin afflictions, such as trachoma, impetigo, seborrhea and eczema.

The rest of the Molokans stayed together in Panama and worked for another couple of months. Eventually, they all earned enough money to leave. Of course, this was not without paying a price in human life and suffering. Some of the Molokan children died and were buried in Panama.

The second group also sailed on the San Juan, which left Ancon on July 18, 1905, with at least one stop in Acajutla, El Salvador, on July 22 before docking in San Francisco on August 3. Upon their arrival in San Francisco, the immigrants were placed in quarantine at Ayala Cove on Angel Island. There they were only able to take cold water baths.  Twenty-eight people from the second group were initially rejected by immigration officials and not permitted to enter the United States. The San Francisco Call (August 1905, unknown date) described these passengers as “a detachment of the long-haired and bewhiskered agriculturists.” The article went on to say,

“The San Juan on account of the Russians was ordered to the quarantine station, where the ship, steerage passengers and their effects will be thoroughly fumigated. The ship was released late in the afternoon. The San Juan brought only a few cabin passengers, who were not detained in quarantine.”

The elders went to see officials at the Russian consulate in San Francisco and asked for assistance in sending a telegram to President Theodore Roosevelt. The elders explained that they were all healthy when they started the journey, but a few became sick while working for an American company in the Canal Zone. Eventually, the sick ones were granted exemptions, and everyone was permitted to enter the United States of America. However, one woman passed away on August 9 while still in quarantine. She was buried in San Francisco. Then the rest of the group took a train to Los Angeles.

Alex sailed with the last group of forty-seven Molokan immigrants to leave the Canal Zone aboard the S.S. Newport, which arrived in San Francisco on August 25, 1905, five months after beginning his journey. According to an article appearing in the San Diego Union the next day,

“All hands were sent to the quarantine station on Angel Island for examination. On the way up from Panama a 10-year-old child died of bronchitis and was buried at sea.”

S.S. Newport

Like the others in his group, Alex took the train to Los Angeles to begin a new life in America. As he had hoped, his wife Masha and baby daughter Tanya (Jennie) were able to immigrate the following year along with other members of the Babashoff family led by Alex’s grandparents. Their route took them overland to Bremen, Germany, where they boarded the S.S.Chemnitz of the North German Lloyd steamship line. Their ship crossed the Atlantic with a stop in Baltimore, Maryland, before disembarking the steerage passengers in Galveston, Texas, on May 26, 1906. From there, they took a train to Los Angeles.

Alex and Masha raised a family of three boys and six girls.

They lived on Soto Street in Boyle Heights and then Eagle Street in East Los Angeles. Alex held a variety of laborer jobs, including work at the Patten-Blinn Lumber Yard.

Alex died in 1938 at the age of 52 and Masha in 1968 at age 79. Their legacy so far includes nine children, eight grandchildren, including the author, sixteen great-grandchildren, twenty-one great-great grandchildren, and one great-great-great grandchild.    


Bill Aldacushion is a descendant of Russian Molokan immigrants who grew up in Southern California. He was educated at the University of Southern California earning an undergraduate degree in economics followed by an MBA. His professional career spanned 40 years as a manager with IBM with various positions in sales, marketing, consulting and solution development focused on the global government, education and health industry segments. Retired now, Bill resides in Virginia where he supports the music and arts through numerous volunteer activities in the Washington DC area. He has researched, written and informally published several genealogy and family history reports. He also maintains the web site which documents another aspect of his Russian ancestry.

Special thanks to Judy Yung for editing assistance.

Cup & Cross featured in Meditations of the Heart By F. Marshall

May 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Missions, News

10 Religious Liberty Cases in 2019

May 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Despite the continual threats to the religious freedom of Christians in America, there were a number of advances over the past twelve months (see: The 7 Most Significant Religious Freedom Victories of 2018). But continual vigilance is necessary, and we are fortunate to have groups like Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith, working to protect our liberties.

Although the new year is still a few days away, ADF is already preparing to defend a number of important legal challenges to freedom of religion. Here are ten cases coming in 2019 you should know about:

State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, is headed back to court in 2019, with ADF arguing her case before the Washington State Supreme Court. Although Barronelle serves all customers, the state of Washington and its attorney general are suing her in her business and personal capacity because she politely declined to create custom floral art for long-time customer’s same-sex wedding in 2013. While targeting Barronelle for her biblical beliefs about marriage, the state chose not to take action against a coffee shop owner who profanely berated and expelled customers because of their Christian beliefs—even though the incident was caught on video. If the government succeeds in punishing Barronelle for her beliefs, she and her husband could lose everything—their business, their home, and every penny they’ve saved.

Tree of Life Christian Schools v. City of Upper Arlington In a case that could make a major difference for churches, religious schools, and other religious groups across the United States, Tree of Life Christian Schools is expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in early 2019. Represented by ADF, Tree of Life has been kept from using its own building for the past seven years simply because the City of Upper Arlington—near Columbus, Ohio—refuses to allow it to do so. The city’s ongoing discrimination against Tree of Life is a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)—a federal law passed unanimously by the House and Senate before being signed into law by President Bill Clinton. A win for Tree of Life would allow the school to double its current enrollment of 660 students—which represents 18 countries of origin and a high percentage of income-based voucher and scholarship recipients—and would set legal precedent that would help other Christian schools, as well as churches, synagogues, and mosques facing discriminatory government regulations. Learn more here.

Downtown Hope Center v. Anchorage Driven by its faith to help women victimized by rape, sex trafficking, and domestic violence, Downtown Hope Center provides a safe place for sexually exploited women to sleep at night. But Anchorage officials are demanding that Hope Center allow men who believe they are women to disrobe and sleep three to five feet from women in its overnight sleeping facilities. As one woman who stays at the shelter put it, “I would rather sleep in the woods than sleep in the same area as a biological man.” If Hope Center follows its convictions and chooses to protect the privacy and dignity of the vulnerable women in its care, it could be forced to shut down its women’s shelter, depriving battered women of a much-needed safe place. ADF filed suit in federal court to protect Hope Center’s freedom to serve consistent with its faith. Learn more here.

New Hope Family Services v. Poole New Hope Family Services is a Christian adoption provider and pregnancy center that has placed more than 1,000 children into adoptive homes since 1965. Yet, if the state of New York has its way, New Hope will have placed its last child into the arms of an adoptive family—all because of New Hope’s belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. In keeping with its Christian faith, New Hope places children only in homes with a married mother and father, while referring unmarried couples, same-sex couples, and others to nearby adoption providers. This October, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) gave New Hope an ultimatum: it could either violate its conscience by placing children in same-sex households, or submit a close-out plan for its adoptive services. Represented by ADF, New Hope has asked a federal court to stop the state’s campaign to shut down its adoptive services because of its biblical view of marriage. Learn more here.

Masterpiece Cakeshop Part II Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is being harassed for his faith again by the state of Colorado. Less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2018 that Colorado cannot treat Jack differently than other cake artists who decline custom projects based on the messages they convey, the state has decided to prosecute him again for living out his faith. This time, an attorney asked Jack to create a cake designed pink on the inside and blue on the outside, which the attorney said was to celebrate a gender transition from male to female. Jack declined the request because the custom cake would have expressed messages about sex and gender identity that conflict with his religious beliefs. ADF filed a lawsuit against Colorado to immediately stop its attempts to punish Jack and ensure that he is not forced to express messages that violate his faith. Case page here.

Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski One primary battlefield for free speech and religious liberty is the public university campus—many of which have instituted arbitrary, and often comically small “free speech” zones to chill speech. One of these zones was used to keep Chike Uzuegbunam from sharing the gospel at Georgia Gwinnett College. The policy—which Georgia Gwinnett has since abandoned—forbade any expression “which disturbs the peace and/or comfort of person(s)” and restricted speech to two tiny speech zones that made up less than 0.0015 percent of campus and were open only 18 hours per week. Administrators tried to get a free pass for repeatedly violating Chike’s rights by changing its policies and asking the court to dismiss his case. Although the trial court unfortunately did so, ADF appealed to make sure Chike’s rights are vindicated and to keep this all-too-common situation from repeating itself on other college campuses. Read more here.

Students for Life at California State University-San Marcos v. Abrego Another major problem for free speech and religious exercise on public university campuses is the way administrators are putting their thumb on the scale through mandatory student fees. That was the case at Cal State San Marcos, which denied a Students for Life’s request to draw $500 from a $2.1 million pool of mandatory student fees in order to host an event to educate fellow students on abortion and the sanctity of life. Meanwhile, the university allocates $52 in mandatory student fees to two groups—the Gender Equity Center and the LGBTQA Pride Center—for every dollar it makes available to the other 100-plus on-campus groups combined. Students for Life and its campus president, Nathan Apodaca, is challenging the school’s unconstitutional use of mandatory student fees in federal court with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom. Read more here. Watch video here.

Redeemer Fellowship of Edisto Island v. Town of Edisto Beach Redeemer Fellowship of Edisto Island, South Carolina, had rented the Edisto Beach Civic Center for Sunday worship on two occasions, but after the church proposed another rental agreement, the town council voted to reject the church’s application and amended the facility-use guidelines to ban all rentals for “religious worship services.” ADF challenged the town’s unconstitutional action in federal court, and is expecting a decision in early 2019.

Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix On January 22, 2019, ADF attorneys will be arguing a case at the Arizona Supreme Court that involves two artists who risk jail time and fines if they violate a sweeping Phoenix criminal law. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski co-own a Phoenix art studio called Brush & Nib Studio, which specializes in hand-painting, hand-lettering, and calligraphy for weddings and other events. Brush & Nib is challenging a city ordinance that, as Phoenix interprets it, forces the studio’s owners to use their artistic talents to create artwork celebrating same-sex marriage. The ordinance also forbids them from publicly expressing the Christian beliefs that prevent them from doing so and the beliefs that require them to create art celebrating only marriages between one man and one woman. The law threatens up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines, and three years of probation for each day that there is a violation. Case page here.

Telescope Media Group v. Lindsey Carl and Angel Larsen are professional storytellers who use film to help their clients tell their most important stories. They want to bring their talents to the wedding industry and use their gifts to promote their religious beliefs about marriage. Unfortunately, Minnesota’s government won’t allow them to do that. According to state officials, a state law mandates that if the Larsens tell stories that are consistent with their beliefs about marriage, then they must tell marriage stories that violate their beliefs as well. If they decline to do so, they would face steep fines and even up to 90 days in jail. The couple has challenged the law in federal court, and await a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Case page here.

Cup & Cross featured in the Works of William Penn

May 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Featured, News


May 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, will visit Bulgaria from May 5 to 7 2019, the Bulgarian government information service said on December 13, citing a statement by the Vatican.

His visit to Bulgaria will include stops in capital city Sofia and in Rakovski, the latter a town where a large percentage of the population are members of Bulgaria’s Roman Catholic minority. The dates announced mean that Pope Francis will be in Bulgaria on an important day in the country’s calendar, May 6, a public holiday celebrated as St George’s Day and as the Day of the Armed Forces.

Pope Francis will visit the Republic of Macedonia’s capital Skopje on May 7, the Vatican said. Further details of his travel programme would be announced later, the statement said.

In May 2018, after Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov was received in audience by Pope Francis, it emerged that the Vatican was prepared to consider a visit by the Pope to Bulgaria, Romania and perhaps a country from the Western Balkans. A visit by the Pope to Bulgaria was discussed between head of state President Roumen Radev and the Apostolic Nuncio to Bulgaria, Archbishop Anselmo Guido Pecorari.

The only previous visit by a serving head of the Roman Catholic Church to Bulgaria was in 2002, when Pope John Paul II visited. The majority of Bulgarians declare themselves to be Orthodox Christians, with Roman Catholics constituting a small minority among the country’s Christians, similar in number to Protestants in Bulgaria.