Union of Evangelical Congregational Churches in Bulgaria

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The Union of Evangelical Congregational Churches in Bulgaria is a Reformed Congregational denomination in Bulgaria. A member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches [1] and the World Evangelical Congregational Fellowship. [2]

Bulgaria country in Southeast Europe

Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. The capital and largest city is Sofia; other major cities are Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres (42,855 sq mi), Bulgaria is Europe's 16th-largest country.

World Communion of Reformed Churches Christian organization

The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) is the largest association of Reformed churches in the world. It has 233 member denominations in 110 countries, together claiming 100 million people, thus being the third largest Christian communion in the world after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. This ecumenical Christian body was formed in June 2010 by the union of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC).

The World Evangelical Congregational Fellowship is a global association of evangelical Christian Congregational Churches, from various national associations around the world, which is united by a common belief in the lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible, as well as by its common desire for evangelism. Its existence is aided by the historical prevalence of Congregational missionaries who planted churches in places as varied as Ireland and Micronesia.

Contents

History

Beginnings

American missionaries founded the Congregational Churches in Bulgaria 150 years ago when Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire. The mission developed from the work of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. In 1819 the congregationalists and Presbyterians begun to consider mission to Bulgaria. The New Jersey born missionary Rev. Elias Riggs, he became influential in the translation of the Bible into the Bulgarian language. In Smyrna 2,000 copies of the New Testament was sold. The first evangelists were Rev. Cyrus Hamlin and Christipher Rhinelander Robert arrived in 1857, they were followed by Rev. Wesley Prettyman, Albert Long, and Charles Morse. Hamlin and morse established 3 missionary centres in Plovdiv, Odrin and Stara Zagora. In 1859 the Russian born Frederic Flocken joined the work. The first church was founded in Plovdiv. [3] The American evangelists served the country till the Second World War. [4]

New Jersey U.S. state in the United States

New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is a peninsula, bordered on the north and east by the state of New York; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and Pennsylvania; and on the southwest by the Delaware Bay and Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area but the 11th-most populous, with 9 million residents as of 2017, making it the most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states with its biggest city being Newark. New Jersey lies completely within the combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia. New Jersey was the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income as of 2017.

Elias Riggs American missionary

Elias Riggs was an American Presbyterian missionary and linguist born in New Providence, New Jersey. During his missionary activities in the Ottoman Empire he contributed greatly to the Bulgarian National Revival. He organized the first translation, and worked on editing, printing and dissemination of a translation of the Bible into modern Bulgarian. In 1844 he published the first Grammar of the modern Bulgarian language. Riggs did research on Chaldee Language, and also guided the translation of the Bible into modern Armenian language.

Smyrna ancient city on the Aegean coast of Turkey

Smyrna was a Greek city founded in antiquity located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Since 1930, the modern city located there has been known as İzmir, in Turkey, the Turkish rendering of the same name. Due to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defense and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence. Two sites of the ancient city are today within the boundaries of İzmir. The first site, probably founded by indigenous peoples, rose to prominence during the Archaic Period as one of the principal ancient Greek settlements in western Anatolia. The second, whose foundation is associated with Alexander the Great, reached metropolitan proportions during the period of the Roman Empire. Most of the present-day remains of the ancient city date from the Roman era, the majority from after a 2nd-century AD earthquake.

Evangelism

From 1840 to 1878 churches were founded in Bansko, Turnovo, Svishtov, Ludovic. In 1899 a congregation was also founded in Sofia. In the late 1800s there were 10 missionaries with 25 assistants. In southern Bulgaria there were 19 congregations in 1909 and these churches formed a legal association. In 1926 the American College of Sofia was founded. Later in 1931 an evangelical seminary was founded in the town. Till 1944 the Bulgarian culture toward Protestantism was intolerant. During Communist Regime the church experienced several hardships, in that time there were 22 churches, now there are 40 and new churches are being planted every year. In 1948 pastors were arrested and imprisoned. In 1949 Protestant churches were declared unlawful. All contacts with other Protestant were cut. [5]

Bansko Place in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

Bansko is a town in southwestern Bulgaria, located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains at an elevation of 1200m above sea level. It is a popular ski resort.

Svishtov Town in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Svishtov is a town in northern Bulgaria, located in Veliko Tarnovo Province on the right bank of the Danube river opposite the Romanian town of Zimnicea. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Svishtov Municipality. With a population of 35,923 inhabitants, as of December 2009, the town is the second-largest in the province after the city of Veliko Tarnovo and before Gorna Oryahovitsa.

Ludovic is a given name and has also been a surname. Notable people with the name include:

International relationship

The Union of Evangelical Congregational Churches in Bulgaria is a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches [6] and of the World Evangelical Congregational Fellowship. [7]

Statistics

The church has approximately 35 congregations and 5,000 members in Bulgaria. [8] [9]

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References

  1. www.wcrc.org/node/164 [ permanent dead link ]
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 16, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. http://sofiaecho.com/2008/08/08/662821_reading-room-a-history-of-protestantism-in-bulgaria
  4. http://globalministries.org/mee/partners/union-of-evangelical.html
  5. http://sofiaecho.com/2008/08/08/662821_reading-room-a-history-of-protestantism-in-bulgaria
  6. www.wcrc.ch/node/164 Archived August 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  7. http://wecf-cong.org/members.asp%5B%5D
  8. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 13, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 6, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)