A Decade Ago Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association Gained Legal Status

February 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News


chaplaincy-in-bulgariaThe Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association has finally received official legal status with the Bulgarian government, after battling courts throughout the country for the last four months. Global religious freedom watchdog FORUM 18 closely followed the case of chaplaincy ministry in Bulgaria recognizing its “underground” status and releasing an informative article about the current situation of chaplaincy in Bulgaria which can be found at: http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=919

After a decade of ministry, the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association held a national founding meeting in August, 2006 and submitted a petition for registration with the Bulgarian court. The purpose of the establishment was the legal representation of Bulgarian evangelicals who minister in various fields of chaplaincy despite legal limitations and open government restrictions. Their campaign for legalizing chaplaincy in the Bulgarian armed forces has formed “The Case of Underground Chaplaincy in Bulgaria.”

After months of legal battle, the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association was officially registered through the Sofia Municipal Court on February 23, 2007. The result was made possible by a joint initiative of the Association’s establishing members, the representing legal team led by former Bulgarian presidential nominee, Ivan Gruikin with the assistance of legal council Latchezar Popov of the Rule of Law Institute and the Balkan Center for Law and Freedom.

Current Status of Chaplaincy in Bulgaria

October 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, News

This update on the current status of Chaplaincy in Bulgaria became necessary in light of the recent parliament vote (October 5, 2014) and consecutive talks on Bulgaria’s national security and upcoming defense reforms. While the government enters a post-election mode to appoint all cabinet members, the legal question about chaplaincy in Bulgaria still remains open. A decade after entering NATO and the European Union as a fully ratified member, Bulgaria is the only country within both organizations without military (or any otherwise legalized) chaplaincy.

About the same amount of time has passed since we established the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association with the publication of its strategic program “Underground Chaplaincy in Bulgaria” and the establishment of our Masters Program in Chaplaincy Ministry in Sofia. Since that time, many international organizations have contributed to the chaplaincy restoration process with research and historic publications or occasional chaplaincy seminars and conferences across the country. Among them are Military Chaplain Fellowship (MCF), Military Ministries International (MMI), Ministry to the Military, various (IAEC), Chaplaincy Commissions and many others.

However, with these investments of time and resources in the cause, changes within Bulgaria’s law are still to be made and our military personnel remain without active duty chaplains. This result simply proves once again that restoring chaplaincy in Bulgaria cannot and should not be an external process dictated by organizational agendas which are separated from the people. On the contrary, the necessary changes must emerge from grassroots, from among the people, in order to be fully politically realized as both necessity and empowerment.

In this process, the role of the local church is also detrimental. It is certainly a great effort that individual ministers and their teams visit prisoners on weekly or monthly basis. It is also admirable that emergency outfits formed by church members quickly respond to what now seems a constant chain of disastrous events (flooding, earthquakes, freezing weather, etc.). But if the bottom line of results does not affect the changes within the system that can make chaplaincy legally available within both military and civil organization all otherwise attractive efforts are simply futile. They not only miss the mark, but exhaust time and resources of the church and are overall obstructive to the goal at hand.

Therefore, changes within the current status of chaplaincy in Bulgaria must be sought once again with a unifying strategy that uses small but crucial milestones to promote change within the current legal and army systems. Otherwise, the restoration of chaplaincy will be forced again in the periphery of political and social issues and will never become a real priority.

More Publications on the Topic and History of Events:

2009 X Event: Transforming the Status Quo

September 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Video

2009 X Event: Transforming the Status Quo

September 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, News


X youth event, which was held on September 9, 2009 in the city of Samokov near Sofia was a complete success. Six Roma worship teams from the Bulgarian Church of God with special participation of the Elley gospel band from the Central Church of God in Sofia and the worship team of Pastor Iliya Panov participated in this three hour long event, which finished with preaching and prayer provided by Cup & Cross Ministries International. Several thousand were in attendance from various parts of Bulgaria and abroad. Some pastors brought their complete congregations, others attended with family and friends, but we all gathered together ready for a new touch from God.

We named this year’s event “Transforming the Status Quo” for three reasons. First, the date 9.9.9 itself is somewhat controversial and we chose it under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to transform it from a spiritualistic superstition into a spiritual celebration. Secondly, September 9, 1944 is the date when the Communist Revolution took place in Bulgaria, and this year on this very date we asked of God to change the catastrophe of communism to the abundance of blessings for Bulgaria. And finally, our event was held in one of the largest Gipsy ghettos of Bulgaria, where thousands of Roma people were touched by the power of the Spirit.

We are truly thankful to all who partnered with us and made this event possible as part of our annually Harvest Campaign in Bulgaria. This year the Lord allowed us to create the proper environment with a professional stage and lightning, over 50kW of sound equipment, professional cameras and photography crews. The complete event was broadcasted LIVE on the internet and watched by thousands of people in Bulgaria and abroad. But most important of all, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ was lifted up above any other name at the 2009 X event in Samokov, Bulgaria.

Anouncing 2009 X Event: Transforming the Status Quo

September 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, News

999Our team is preparing for our annual X youth event, which will be held on September 9, 2009 in the city of Samokov near Sofia, where six Roma worship teams from the Bulgarian Church of God are already preparing. Please join us in prayer and fasting in the next few days, while we are approaching this spiritual battle together as the Church of the living God. The political forecast for Bulgaria says that political unrest is on the way. The economic forecast for Bulgaria claims that this fall season will bring even heavier crises for the country. And even the weather forecast for the week calls for heavy rain with early snow in Bulgaria. But we will continue to trust the heavenly report, which says: “Say ye to the righteous that it shall be well” (Isaiah 3:10). For God called us to minister in the times of peace and prosperity and even more so in the times of crises and battles. Pray for BULGARIA.