THE STEFAN BANKOV STORY

October 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication

One of them was Dr. Stefan Bankov, perhaps the immigrant with greatest influence for the Bulgarian Protestant scholasticism. Immigrating to the United States in 1969 after being severely persecuted in Bulgaria, Bankov earned a doctoral degree in theology and dedicated his life to one great purpose, namely the preparation of the first concordance of the Bulgarian Bible. The concordance was completed in 1986 before the era of the personal computer. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bankov returned to Bulgaria to work with his home church of Bourgas. He is the founder and president of East-West Christian Solidarity, a nonprofit religious organization based in California which aims to provide Christ-centered evangelism, preaching, teaching, and humanitarian for Bulgaria.

Marked Man: The Rev. Dr. Stefan Bankov (1934-2021)

October 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Publication

Marked Man

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1978/november-3/new-firepower-for-fighting-war.html

The mysterious deaths in London last month of Bulgarian defectors Vladimir Simeonov and Georgi Markov didn’t surprise fellow defector Stefan Bankov. Bankov, a Christian who left Bulgaria with his family in 1969 to escape persecution, now preaches the gospel by radio to his countrymen. Working with Underground Evangelism in Glendale, California, he says that he and his family have been subjected to Communist harassment, threats, and assassination attempts.

While flying from London to Seattle in 1974, a man and woman spilled a liquid on Bankov’s shoulder that paralyzed his side and made him violently ill for several days. Two months ago, shots were fired at him outside his home. Bankov says that during his stay in the United States, there has been an attempt to kidnap his daughters. He reports that strangers have made attractive offers to his wife and daughters to get them to return to Bulgaria, and that his family has received hundreds of abusive telephone calls. A note taped recently to a window at the Bankov home warned: “You are marked. We follow you all the time.”

Bankov made these threats public only recently and after the deaths of Simeonov and Markov, who were among a group of five Bulgarian broadcasters who defected. Markov died after being stabbed by a poison-tipped umbrella. Simeonov died after falling down the stairs inside his London apartment (London authorities aren’t discounting the possibility that he was pushed), and Vladimir Kostov survived a poisoning attempt similar to that which killed Markov. A fifth broadcaster now working for Radio Free Europe hasn’t been attacked.

Currently under police protection, Bankov is cooperating with the FBI and Scotland Yard in an investigation of the deaths of the Bulgarian defectors—victims, he is sure, of foul play on the part of Bulgarian Communists. “I think their (the Communists’) main purpose is to scare every member of my family,” Bankov said of his own situation. “They want to keep us under constant psychological pressure.”

The Bulgarians apparently are upset by Bankov’s radio witness that is beamed to his homeland of nine million people. He recently received a letter from Bulgaria that warned him to leave Underground Evangelism, an organization with an evangelistic outreach to Communist countries, or “the troubles will never stop.”

Bankov attended a Bible college in Los Angeles for four years before starting his radio ministry. He works seven days a week preparing sermons and lectures in systematic theology for his Bible College of the Air. Broadcasts are aired once a day over Radio Trans Europe in Portugal and over Radio Malta.

The Bulgarian government frequently uses “ground wave jamming” to block Bankov’s broadcasts into major Bulgarian cities, according to Underground Evangelism president Joe Bass. Copies of a two-volume set of Bankov’s sermons and lectures, as well as cassette tapes of his broadcasts, are being smuggled into that Communist nation.

Bankov became a Christian in 1953, and he later pastored an independent church in Bulgaria until the government closed it in 1964. Bankov still owns the tattered New Testament, held together by a rubber band, that was his only resource during his ministry in Bulgaria.

The forty-five-year-old Bankov is accustomed to persecution. Before he escaped Bulgaria, Bankov says he was “constantly under pressure.” “It was a difficult time with the Bulgarian government.… They accused me of being mentally sick because I could not see the progress of the Communist party or of the Socialist society.”

Bankov, who creates most of his own teaching materials during twelve- and fourteen-hour working days, fears most for the safety of his family. As he intends to continue his radio ministry, he says, “My prayer every day is just, ‘Lord, help the kids and my wife to understand.’ ”

East-West Christian Solidarity, Inc.

Glendale, California 91225

Mission:

East-West Christian Solidarity was founded by Dr. Stefan Bankov, an internationally recognized Christian leader who survived Communism and the Cold War. Rev. Bankov was an underground pastor in Bulgaria from 1958 to 1969. He emerged from behind the Iron Curtain in 1969, after escaping a prison death sentence by the communist leaders in Bulgaria. He has survived communist torture, beatings, and attempted murder. After his escape, Pastor Bankov continued to preach to the Bulgarians by radio broadcasts from Trans World Radio and Radio Ibra. Dr. Bankov has spoken before members of Parliament in Australia, in churches of countless denominations, and his name has been featured in newspapers, magazines, and on television in several countries. Dr. Bankov has also authored many books–including the first Slavic Bible Concordance for the Eastern Bloc countries. After the fall of communism, Dr. Bankov returned to Bulgaria, his native homeland, to plant new churches, minister to the needs of people in this third world country, and contribute to the country’s long-term development. East-West Christian Solidarity offers preaching, teaching, literature, and humanitarian relief, in addition to planting, building and supporting churches even in the large Muslim population in remote areas of Bulgaria. Dr. Bankov has over 35 years of experience in providing underground evangelism, outreach and humanitarian relief in Bulgaria. For more information, please contact us.

Bulgarian Churches in Crete (2021 Report)

October 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

bulgarian-churchLove of Christ Bulgarian Church – Yarapetra, Crete

READ MORE:

Bulgarian Churches in Germany (2021 Report)

October 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News

bulgarian-church

#1 Baptistenkirche, Müller Straße 14 Berlin

#2 Zollhofstrasse 4, 67061 Ludwigshafen

#3 Stadtmission Waldsrt. 36, Offenbach am Main

#4 Lotztstr. 54, 65934 Frankfurt

#5 Kaiser Wilhelm Str. 255, 47169 Duisburg

Duisburg 47169 „Die Brücke“, Johannismarkt 7

#6 Hauptstrasse 4 Hilgert 56206

#7 Bremen Walle Heerstr 197

#8 Hofäckerstrasse 3 71732 Tamm (near Stuttgart)

#9 30457 Reichweinweg 2, Hannover

#10 Adolph Kolping Platz 11 – Kaiserslautern 67655

#11 Franz Georg str 36, Trier 54290

#12 Kirschstr 48a, Montabaur 56410

#13 Emilienplatz 16, Hagen 58097

#14 Kesselheimer weg 16, Koblenz 56070

#15 Langestraße 226, Hamm

#16 Emserstr. 57, Wiesbaden 65195

#17 Goethering 9-11, Osnabrück 49074

#18 Lichtinsel Veringstr. 47, Hamburg 21107

#19 Athener Ring 34, Kulturbücke 50765

READ MORE:

BULGARIA represented with 5 lemmata in the printed BEGP

October 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism (BEGP) provides a comprehensive overview of worldwide Pentecostalism from a range of disciplinary perspectives. It offers analysis at the level of specific countries and regions, historical figures, movements and organizations, and particular topics and themes. The published volume is now available along with the online version of the Encyclopedia

Bulgaria set for third election this year in November

October 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Protest party ITN edged out the conservative GERB in the latest vote, but was not able to form a government. Bulgarian President Rumen Radev will also be running for reelection. Bulgaria will hold its third parliamentary election since April on November 14, President Rumen Radev announced Saturday. Following months of deadlock, Bulgarians are set to once again choose a new parliament after neither of the three largest parties was able to secure a majority government after an election in July. On Saturday, Radev announced that presidential elections will be held on the same day to save money. He is hoping to secure his second term in November.

President Biden delivers remarks at Bulgaria’s Three Sea’s initiative, which aims to reinforce ties between countries along the borders of the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas.

Who is predicted to win?

Protest party ITN, that emerged from mass demonstrations against corruption in 2020, won the July election  but was  not able to secure a majority in parliament.

Protesters take part in an anti-government demonstration in Sofia, BulgariaAnti-corruption protests in the summer of 2020 led to the creation of a protest led by an entertainer

The latest polls indicate a similarly inconclusive race ahead of the November election.

The pro-EU, centre-right party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) is now leading in a Politico poll by 23% with ITN on 20% support.

In contrast, the leftwing alliance, led by the Socialist Party, is trailing the top two with 16% of the popular support, according to the poll. It achieved 13.2% of the vote at last July’s parliamentary elections.

The split sets the scene for more political instability amid the COVID-19 economic crisis and Bulgaria’s desire to enter the eurozone in 2024.

What of the presidential elections?

President Radev is an independent who is widely considered one of the most popular politicians in Bulgaria. He is tipped to win a second term in office.

While the Bulgarian president’s powers are largely ceremonial, he can also propose legislation and force new votes in parliament by vetoing policy.

“I will count on the support of all respectable Bulgarians on the big issues – the fight against poverty and injustice,” said Radev.

Government Elections in Bulgaria (2005-2019):

2005 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
2019 Municipal Elections