Bulgarian Church of God

February 20, 2007 by  
Filed under Research

The prehistory the Bulgarian Church of God is rooted in the rise of the Protestantism on the Balkans in the 1800s when American missionaries were allowed to enter the Ottoman Empire. As early as 1827 The British Bible Society began working on a Protestant translation of the Bulgarian Bible. In 1871 the first Bulgarian Protestant Church was founded in the town of Bansko. In the next year the American Missionary School was established in the town of Samokov. In 1878 Bulgaria was liberated from 500 years of Turkish yoke, and during 1890-1910 a great number of Protestant denominations, among which Methodist, Baptists, Lutherans and Congregationalists started local churches throughout Bulgaria.

In 1920 Ukrainian immigrants Voronev and Zaplishny traveled to Russia to preach the Pentecostal message. On the way his ship stopped at the Bulgarian port of Bourgas where he preached in the Congregational church and several are baptized with the Holy Spirit. This event marked the beginning of Bulgarian Pentecostalism, which in the next few years spread throughout the country.

In the 1930s the movement called itself the Bulgarian Pentecostal Union (now affiliated with the Assemblies of God). A more conservative Pentecostal group with congregations located mainly in Northern Bulgaria emerged and formed the union called The Northern Brothers (or Tinchevists after the name of the leader Stoyan Tintchev). The group called themselves the Church of God. After the 1944 Communist Revolution in Bulgaria it continued its existence as an underground organization and was severally persecuted. In the 1980s the Bulgarian Church of God established connection and became a part of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN).