Facts and StatisticsUpdated on 31 December 2012
Hungarian-born Mischa Markow was a prominent early missionary to the Balkans. While working in Constantinople, he met Argir Dimitrov, a Bulgarian who had begun learning about the Church. Markow invited Dimitrov to join him in proselyting in Romania. While there, Dimitrov was converted and was baptized by Markow in July 1899. Dimitrov was likely the first Bulgarian convert, and certainly the first Bulgarian missionary.
Markow visited Bulgaria in the summer of 1900 where he registered with the police and received permission to preach. Several ministers allowed him to address their congregations. Soon he was challenged by a Protestant minister who paid for newspaper ads warning people not to attend Markow’s scheduled lectures. The result was overflow meetings and enthusiastic interest. A group of clergymen soon became alarmed at Markow’s popularity. They had him arrested on charges that he falsified his registration form by listing himself as a minister of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rather than as a Mormon minister. Despite many appeals, Markow was banished from the country.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve (the second highest governing body of the Church) and Elder Hans B. Ringger of the Seventy (one of the highest governing bodies of the Church) visited Bulgarian leaders in October 1988 hoping for an opportunity to become established there. Their efforts did not meet with success because government policies did not allow the establishment of new religious groups. Elders Nelson and Ringger returned in February 1990 after the fall of the Communist regime and were cordially greeted by officials of the new government.
In September 1990, six missionaries under direction of the Austria Vienna East Mission entered the country. They were Morris and Annetta Mower, Delbert and Marilyn Fowler, Judy Gubler, and Rose Marie Daigle. All six missionaries taught English classes.
They were joined in November 1990 by Elders Jon Trent Warner and David Garner who had worked in Yugoslavia, and Elders Christian Elggren and Timothy Kuta who were transferred from the Germany Frankfurt Mission. These elders also helped teach English classes and took part in other charitable endeavors until changes in the law allowed them to proselyte.
The first church service was held 7 October 1990 at the Mower’s apartment. The first official meeting place for the Church was a rented hall in Sofia.
In November 1990, Emil and Diana Christov with their two sons Rumen and Evgeny, and Ventsislav and Mirela Lazarov were baptized, the first-known baptisms in Bulgaria.
On July 1, 1991, the Bulgarian Sofia Mission was created with Bulgarian native Kiril P. Kiriakov as president. Kiriakov, his wife, Nevenka, and their children Julia and Peter had departed Communist Bulgaria, moving to Algeria on a government appointment in 1963, then fleeing to France in June 1965 where they received political asylum. While in Rennes, France, they met the missionaries and were baptized in June 1966, and emigrated to the United States in 1969. In April 1991, the call to serve as president was extended by Elder Thomas S. Monson.
Also in July 1991, the Mladost and Sofia Central branches (small congregations) were created in Sofia. Nine days later, on 10 July 1991, the Church was formally recognized by the Bulgarian government.
In 1993, pediatricians, ophthalmologists, audiologists and others working through the Europe Area Presidency and Church Humanitarian Services went to Bulgaria to help train doctors and nurses to improve health care of children.
Rapid growth of Church membership in the capital city of Sofia necessitated created of six more branches between November 1991 and November 1992. Beginning in the mid 1990s, branches were begun in other Bulgarian cities including Burgas, Varna, Shumen, Ruse, Veliko Turnovo, Blagoevgrad and Dobrich.
The first Church-build structure in Bulgaria, a building that included a chapel, offices for the Bulgaria Sofia Mission, and a home for the mission president and his wife, was dedicated in Sofia in June 2000. The day before, ground was broken for a second chapel in Bulgaria in Plovdiv.
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Fax: 7 495 363 2580
Phone: 7 295 363 2573
|Total Church Membership||2,296|
|Family History Centers||3|
Statistics for Europe
|Total Church Membership||491,278|
|Family History Centers||678|
|Total Church Membership||14,782,473|
|Missionary Training Centers||15|
|Universities & Colleges||4|
|Seminary Students Enrollment||391,680|
|Institute Student Enrollment||352,488|
|Family History Centers||4,689|
|Countries with Family History Centers||128|
|Church Materials Languages||177|
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