Facts and Statistics

Close
    Show:Hide:
    Show mapHide map

    Bulgaria Click here to visit the Bulgaria Mormon Newsroom

    2,444

    Total Church Membership

    0.03% 1-in-2896

    Population vs. Church Members

    7

    Congregations

    0 Wards
    7 Branches

    4

    Family History Centers

    4

    1

    Missions

    History

    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.

     

    For Journalist Use Only

    Elena Nechiporova

    Fax: 7 495 363 2580
    Phone:  7 295 363 2573

    E-mail

     

    Africa

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    621,448

    Members

    2,150

    Congregations

    Missions

    34Missions

    Family History Centers

    329

    Temples

    3Temples

    Asia

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    1,206,148

    Members

    2,139

    Congregations

    Missions

    45Missions

    Family History Centers

    349

    Temples

    8Temples

    Europe

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    493,970

    Members

    1,382

    Congregations

    Missions

    34Missions

    Family History Centers

    645

    Temples

    12Temples

    North America

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    9,336,465

    Members

    18,071

    Congregations

    Missions

    182Missions

    Family History Centers

    2,542

    Temples

    109Temples

    Oceania (Pacific)

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    562,341

    Members

    1,253

    Congregations

    Missions

    17Missions

    Family History Centers

    302

    Temples

    10Temples

    South America

    Total Church Membership

    Members
    Congregations

    4,093,363

    Members

    5,541

    Congregations

    Missions

    95Missions

    Family History Centers

    971

    Temples

    17Temples