NEW Bulgarian National Elections Ineffective Once Again

October 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication

Elections in Bulgaria: Can a Government be Formed? Lowest Voter Activity in 32 years

With 99.98% processed protocols in the CEC, 7 parties enter the next parliament. Here are the data as of 12.00 p.m. on October 3:

  1. GERB-SDS – 634,525 votes – 25.33%
  2. “We Continue the Change” – 505,914 votes – 20.20%
  3. Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) – 344,605 votes – 13.76%
  4. “Vazrazhdane” – 254,725 votes – 10.17%
  5. Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) – 232,932 votes – 9.30%
  6. “Democratic Bulgaria” (DB) – 186,474 votes – 7.44%
  7. “Bulgarian Rise” – 115,837 votes – 4.62%

7 political parties elected with the following allocation of seats in the 48th National Assembly:

  1. GERB: 67
  2. “We Continue the Change”: 53
  3. Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS): 36
  4. “Vazrazhdane” (Revival): 27
  5. Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP): 25
  6. “Democratic Bulgaria” (DB): 20
  7. “Bulgarian Rise”: 12

“Vazrazhdane” doubled its votes compared to the November 14, 2021 election, while the former ruling party, “We Continue the Change”, lost a quarter of the support it received then.

With “There Is Such a People”, the drop is about 60 percent of the vote for the party in November. GERB, DPS and “Democratic Bulgaria” are growing, although not drastically, while BSP continues the trend of shrinking its support.

175,338 Bulgarian citizens voted abroad. “We Continue the Change” and “Democratic Bulgaria” lost their electoral positions among Bulgarians abroad at the expense of the pro-Russian formation “Vazrazhdane”, which added more than 10 thousand votes to its result from November.

Boyko Borissov’s GERB is the first political force. It is followed by Kiril Petkov’s “We Continue the Change” with a difference of about 6-7 percent. The third position is for the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is fourth. After them is the right-wing, pro-Russian “Vazrazhdane” (Revival), whose leader Kostadin Kostadinov insisted that the party will be #1 in these elections. Sixth is “Democratic Bulgaria” (DB).

Bulgaria: GERB offers Negotiations to Everyone – Borissov doesn’t want to be PM or MP

I neither want to be prime minister, nor deputy, nor minister”, GERB leader Boyko Borissov commented at a party briefing whether he is inclined not to be prime minister in the next cabinet. “The results of the elections are expected, but they give a clearer picture of the state of the party at the moment”, said Borisov.

Tomislav Donchev thanked all the people who supported GERB-SDS. “The moment suggests a search for unity, for agreement. Out of 31, GERB-SDS won in 24 regions, DPS in 5, ‘We Continue the Change’ – in 2. The map is blue, but that is not the most important thing”, commented Donchev.

The data by municipalities are also eloquent – in 265 Bulgarian municipalities, GERB wins in 174, he added. He reported that the party had returned their support of over 38,000 people, showing that they were following the right direction in an extremely aggressive environment.

Bulgaria: Explosions at “Arsenal” Weapons Factory in Kazanlak – Casualties reported

The Regional Office for Fire Safety and Population Protection reports on an incident at the “Arsenal” plant in Kazanlak, Bulgaria. The signal was received at 11:04 a.m.

Two fire trucks from Kazanlak were sent to the scene, including departmental fire brigades and ambulances. According to unofficial information, there are two casualties, and eyewitnesses report that there was an extremely loud explosion and a dark cloud over the area.

*Update: 3 deaths reported, 3 injured people are transported to the hospital in Kazanlak.

The Labor Inspectorate confirmed the information about the incident, they also reported on an injured woman who was transported to the hospital in Stara Zagora.

 

Cup & Cross Ministries Shares the Love of Christ with Bulgarian Sunflower Seeds in Polk County, TN

September 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

by Kathryn Donev

Sunflowers are so much fun.  They are actually thousands of tiny flowers that bring joy in many ways. It’s neat to watch them follow the sun because of a trait called heliotropism.  Eating sunflower seeds can lower rates of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. They are a good source of many vitamins and minerals that can support your immune system. And did you know that a sunflowers destroy contaminants of its surrounding soil, water and air?

Although sunflowers are Native to North America, Bulgaria is among the top 10 sunflower producing countries.  As in various places in Polk County, Bulgaria is famous for their golden fields. And believe it or not, you can find Bulgarian sunflower seeds in any Dollar General labeled with the Clover Valley brand.  When we were ministering together with Feeding God’s Lambs Summer Program at First Baptist Benton giving a presentation about the 6 Senses of Bulgaria, the kids even got to taste some.  Fun.

With a multisensory trip to Bulgaria, we shared how the Holy Spirit is our Sixth Sense to guide and direct us in life and found in everything we touch, see, hear, smell and even taste.  When we all come together, we can do great things, just as with the thousands of tiny flowers that come together to have the appearance of a unified flower.  Let us be a purifier of our environments and always be reminded to follow the SON.  Being consumed with the sixth sense of the Holy Spirit is good for the soul.

Jacksonville, FL: 2020 Bulgarian Church Conference (Sept. 1-5)

August 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Bulgarian Church of God splits in 10

July 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

The Bulgarian Church of God has split in no less than 10 since the early 2000s as following:

  1. Bulgarian Church of God (27.12.1990)
  2. Church of God in Bulgaria (23.01.2006)
  3. God’s Church (13938/2006: 07.02.2007)
  4. Church of God-12 (Sofia, Rodostono)
  5. New Generation Church of God (05.04.2000)
  6. Bethesda Church of God (27.12.2010)
  7. BulLiv Church of God (15.01.2000)
  8. New Life Church of God (06.11.2000)
  9. Bulgarian Church of God – Sofia (4996/2003 Sredetz, E.Georgiev Bul. 2, apt. 4)
  10. Bridge Church of God (50/2013)

Spiritual Fullness (Fullness in the Spirit) among Early Bulgarian Pentecostals and Today

June 5, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

Bulgaria’s early Pentecostals insisted on a spiritual fullness that included: (1) salvation, (2) water baptism and (3) baptism with the Spirit.[1] As a formula of spiritual experience, it satisfied the witness of blood, water and Spirit (1 Jn. 5:8) on earth; but also corresponded with the triune God in heaven (1 Jn. 5:7), from whom the believer’s spiritual experience originated. Many conservative Pentecostals in Bulgaria today still uphold “the fullness” teaching and would not use Bibles that exclude Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7) for these three “bear record in heaven.”[2]

However, even with the already present Trinitarian experience of the believer and the enormous theological Methodist influence, it is astounding that the doctrine of sanctification was not taught as a separate work of grace among Bulgarian Protestants. Even when after Pentecostalism spread in Bulgaria, it was not included in the tri-fold formula for “spiritual fullness” of the believer. During the persecution of the Communist Regime, speaking in tongues during Communion was done as a spiritual confirmation that the person has “fullness in the Spirit” or is not a government agent sent by the police to spy on the rest of the church. Interpretation often followed to confirm the spiritual stand of the believer. Early Bulgarian Pentecostals did not distinguish between the initial evidence and the gift of speaking in tongues. Even communist propaganda author Boncho Assenov, who categorized Pentecostals as a sectarian cult, defined this fullness as fundamental for the sacramental theology of the early charismatic communities in Bulgaria.[3]

[1] Mollov, 209.

[2] Zarev, 28.

[3] Boncho Asenov, Religiite i sektite v Bŭlgariia (Sofia: Partizdat, 1968), 167, 367.

See also:

The Practice of Corporate Holiness within the Communion Service of Bulgarian Pentecostals

Sanctification and Personal Holiness among Early Bulgarian Pentecostals

Water Baptism among early Bulgarian Pentecostals

First Pentecostal Missionaries to Bulgaria (1920)

Our Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association celebrates 25 years of Military Ministry in Bulgaria

May 30, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

chaplaincy-in-bulgariaOur Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association celebrates 25 years of Military Ministry in Bulgaria since the first event co-hosted by the Bulgarian Armed Forces and government officials in 1997.

2018 The Road toward a Balkan Multi-Ministry Center and Legal Status

2017 Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association: Legal Case Renewed

2015 Revisting the Integration Proposal with Local NATO Programs by Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association

2014 Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association: Vision and Resolution Reaffirmed

2012 First Class of the Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program

2011 Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program Continues

2010 Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program begins in Sofia, Bulgaria

2009 Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association holds an introductory chaplaincy course in Yambol, Bulgaria

2008 The Case of a NATO Chaplaincy Model within the Bulgarian Army released

2007 Bulgarian Chaplaincy Associations Recognized by U.S. Department of State

2006 Registration for the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association Rejected by Bulgarian Court

2005 The Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association presented before the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance

2004 Three U.S. Bases in Bulgaria to be Built by 2010

2003 The Case of a NATO Chaplaincy Model within the Bulgarian Army

2002 First Balkan Chaplaincy Conference at the Central Church of God in Sofia, Bulgaria

2001 Church of God Chaplaincy Commission to visit Bulgaria

2000 Euro-seminar: Christian ethics in the military forces

1997 First Military Ministry Seminar in Veliko Tarnovo

With all this accomplished, in the beginning of the 21st century law and chaplaincy meet on the road to democracy as Bulgaria remains the only country in NATO without military force chaplaincy. But before chaplaincy could be legalized completely and endorsed by the state to its full functionality, several changes must be undergone. Some of them are:

  1. Legal provision allowing chaplains to work as staff in the army, which guarantees the equal presence of protestant chaplains as well.
  2. The approval, acceptance and implementation of a NATO based model for chaplaincy within the structures of the Bulgarian Army.
  3. Periodical and systematic educational strategy toward chaplaincy workers among Bulgarian evangelicals.
  4. A paradigm for cooperation of Bulgarian chaplains from various ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds.
  5. Further research publications to enhance the efficiency of chaplaincy within the Bulgarian national context.

Also important [click to read]:

More Publications on the Topic and History of Events:

NEW Bulgarian Bible Theological Dictionary

May 20, 2022 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Missions, News

Bulgarian Church of God Membership 20 Years Later

May 5, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Bulgarian Church of God Membership 20 Years Ago

March 30, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Bulgarian Congregationalists

February 10, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Congregationalists (called “Evangelicals” in Bulgaria, the word “Protestant” is not used [3] ) were among the first Protestant missionaries to the Ottoman Empire and to the Northwestern part of the European Ottoman Empire which is now Bulgaria, where their work to convert these Orthodox Christians was unhampered by the death penalty imposed by the Ottomans on Muslim converts to Christianity.[4] These missionaries were significant contributors to the Bulgarian National Revival movement. Today, Protestantism in Bulgaria represents the third largest religious group, behind Orthodox and Muslim. Missionaries from the United States first arrived in 1857–58, sent to Istanbul by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). The ABCFM was proposed in 1810 by the Congregationalist graduates of Williams College, MA, and was chartered in 1812 to support missions by Congregationalists, Presbyterian (1812–1870), Dutch-Reformed (1819–1857) and other denominational members.[5] The ABCFM focused its efforts on southern Bulgaria and the Methodist Church on the region north of the Balkan Mountains (Stara Planina, or “Old Mountains”). In 1857, Cyrus Hamlin and Charles Morse established three missionary centres in southern Bulgaria – in Odrin (Edirne, former capital city of the Ottoman Empire, in Turkey), Plovdiv and Stara Zagora. They were joined in 1859 by Russian born naturalized America Frederic Flocken in 1859.[6] American Presbyterian Minister Elias Riggs commissioned, supported and edited the work of Bulgarian monk Neofit Rilski to create a Bible translations into Bulgarian which was then distributed widely in Bulgaria in 1871 and thereafter. This effort was supported by Congregationalist missionary Albert Long, Konstantin Fotinov, Hristodul Sechan-Nikolov and Petko Slaveikov.[7] Reportedly, 2,000 copies of the newly translated Bulgarian language New Testament were sold within the first two weeks.

Congregational churches were established in BanskoVeliko Turnovo, and Svishtov between 1840 to 1878, followed by Sofia in 1899. By 1909, there were 19 Congregational churches, with a total congregation of 1,456 in southern Bulgaria offering normal Sunday services, Sunday schools for children, biblical instruction for adults; as well as women’s groups and youth groups. Summer Bible schools were held annually from 1896 to 1948.[8]

Congregationalists led by Dr James F. Clarke opened Bulgaria’s first Protestant primary school for boys in Plovdiv in 1860, followed three years later by a primary school for girls in Stara Zagora. In 1871 the two schools were moved toSamokov and merged as the American College, now considered the oldest American educational institution outside the US. In 1928, new facilities were constructed in Sofia, and the Samokov operation transferred to the American College of Sofia (ACS), now operated at a very high level by the Sofia American Schools, Inc.[9]

In 1874, a Bible College was opened in Ruse, Bulgaria for people wanting to become pastors. At the 1876 annual conference of missionaries, the beginning of organizational activity in the country was established. The evangelical churches of Bulgaria formed a united association in 1909.[10]

The missionaries played a significant role in assisting the Bulgarians throw off “the Turkish Yoke”, which included publishing the magazine Zornitsa (Зорница, “Dawn”), founded in 1864 by the initiative of Riggs and Long.[11] Zornitsa became the most powerful and most widespread newspaper of the Bulgarian Renaissance.[12] A small roadside marker on Bulgarian Highway 19 in the Rila Mountains, close to Gradevo commemorates the support given the Bulgarian Resistance by these early Congregationalist missionaries.

On 3 September 1901 Congregationalist missionaries came to world attention in the Miss Stone Affair when missionary Ellen Maria Stone,[13] of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and her pregnant fellow missionary friend Macedonian-Bulgarian Katerina Stefanova–Tsilka, wife of an Albanian Protestant minister, were kidnapped while traveling between Bansko and Gorna Dzhumaya (now Blagoevgrad), by an Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization detachment led by the voivoda Yane Sandanski and the sub-voivodas Hristo Chernopeev and Krǎstyo Asenov and ransomed to provide funds for revolutionary activities. Eventually, a heavy ransom (14,000 Ottoman lira (about US$62,000 at 1902 gold prices or $5 million at 2012 gold prices) raised by public subscription in the USA was paid on 18 January 1902 in Bansko and the hostages (now including a newborn baby) were released on 2 February near Strumica—a full five months after being kidnapped. Widely covered by the media at the time, the event has been often dubbed “America’s first modern hostage crisis”.

The Bulgarian royal house, of Catholic German extraction, was unsympathetic to the American inspired Protestants, and this mood became worse when Bulgaria sided with Germany in WWI and WWII.[14] Matters became much worse when the Bulgarian Communist Party took power in 1944. Like the Royal Family, it too saw Protestantism closely linked to the West and hence more politically dangerous than traditional Orthodox Christianity. This prompted repressive legislation in the form of “Regulations for the Organization and Administration of the Evangelical Churches in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria” and resulted in the harshest government repression, possibly the worst in the entire Eastern Bloc, intended to extinguish Protestantism altogether. Mass arrests of pastors (and often their families), torture, long prison sentences (including four life sentences) and even disappearance were common. Similar tactics were used on parishioners. In fifteen highly publicized mock show-trials between 8 February and 8 March 1949, all the accused pastors confessed to a range of charges against them, including treason, spying (for both the US and Yugoslavia (!)), black marketing, and various immoral acts. State appointed pastors were foist on surviving congregations. As late as the 1980s, imprisonment and exile were still employed to destroy the remaining Protestant churches. The Congregationalist magazine “Zornitsa” was banned; Bibles became unobtainable.[15] As a result, the number of Congregationalists is small, and estimated by Paul Mojzes in 1982 to number about 5,000, in 20 churches. (Total Protestants in Bulgaria were estimated in 1965 to have been between 10,000 and 20,000.)[16] More recent estimates indicate enrollment in Protestant (“Evangelical” or “Gospel”) churches of between 100,000 and 200,000,[17] presumably reflecting the success of more recent missionary efforts of evangelical groups. The United Church of Christ has been described as “the historic continuation of the Congregational churches”.[18]

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