Bulgarian in Bulgaria

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Ethnic Bulgarians trace their history to the late 7th century, when the Bulgars, a central Asian Turkic people, and the Slavs, a central European people, merged to form the first Bulgarian kingdom in what is now northeastern Bulgaria. In the following centuries, they struggled with the Byzantine Empire for control of the Balkans, only to be overrun by Ottoman Turks towards the end of the 14th century. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and the entire country of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908.

After fighting on the losing side of both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communism fell in 1990, and Bulgaria began moving towards political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption and crime. Bulgaria joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004 and the European Union (EU) in 2007.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Bulgarians have a couple of humorous wedding customs. After the wedding the bride and groom each try to be the first to step on the other one’s foot. This will determine who will be dominant in the marriage. That custom is waning. Secondly, before they get to the wedding reception, there is a game where the bride dips bread in honey and feeds the best man while her groom does the same with the maid of honor. Soon the bride and groom try to stuff larger and less manageable pieces of honey bread in one another’s mouths. Then the new bride and groom take another loaf of bread and pull it apart. Whoever has the largest piece will be dominant in the marriage.

There is significant societal tension between men and women as seen in domestic violence, human trafficking and workplace inequalities. Furthermore, orphans and physically and mentally disabled people tend to be marginalized.

Economically, a new middle class is being bombarded by advertising and discovering consumer credit, choice and the novelty of shopping for fun rather than necessity. In the major cities, teenagers and young adults congregate at shopping malls, creating and reinforcing a prominent role for consumerism in Bulgaria's future generations. Nonetheless, overbuilding, emigration and long-standing corruption stand between most ethnic Bulgarians and economic stability.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Bulgarian people have been Orthodox Christians since 865 A.D. However, the political and cultural dimensions Bulgaria's Orthodox Christianity have typically been more prominent than the spiritual ones. This was true from the beginning, as the Bulgarian king's decree of mass conversion to Christianity was motivated by favorable trading and international relationships. During the almost 500 years under the Ottoman Empire, the Orthodox Church continued to be a primary means by which Bulgarians maintained their cultural identity. Even under communism, the Orthodox Church remained a strong cultural anchor for ethnic Bulgarians.

Today, most ethnic Bulgarians identify themselves as Orthodox Christians, even to the degree that Orthodoxy is seen as an indivisible part of their cultural identity. However, while religious holidays and saint-days are prominent aspects of the culture, regular church attendance is extremely low. Religious syncretism is common, drawing together aspects of Christianity, animism and the occult. Non-Orthodox ethnic Bulgarians include Catholics and Protestants, each representing a slight percentage of the population.

What Are Their Needs?

Ethnic Bulgarians' biggest felt need is for economic security. This is fueling both urbanization and emigration, as people increasingly relocate to larger cities inside and outside of the country in search of work. While some find it, however, many ethnic Bulgarians remain chronically un- or under-employed. This compounds other stresses, especially for families raising children and caring for grandparents.

The even greater need, however, is for people to know and follow God through his son Jesus Christ. Very few ethnic Bulgarians are active in the life of a church, whether Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant. This spiritual vacuum is being filled with consumerism, folk religion and other barriers to the gospel.

God is at work among ethnic Bulgarians, and He continues to do so through his church. However, many ethnic Bulgarians have been unimpressed – if not alienated – by evangelistic methods that appear foreign and overly aggressive.

Prayer Points

Pray that Bulgarians will regularly witness Christians living in joyful obedience to Jesus Christ, leading them to embrace the cross and the empty grave.

Pray that Bulgarian Christian believers develop culturally relevant church and church-planting models to reach the "new Bulgarians"—middle class, post-modern thinkers, etc.

Pray that Bulgarians will put their hope and trust in Jesus Christ, not a religious institution.

Scripture Prayers for the Bulgarian in Bulgaria.



Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Bulgarian
People Name in Country Bulgarian
Pronunciation bul-GARE-ee-un
Alternate Names Balgarski; Bogomil; Moldovian; Palityan; Pomak
Population this Country 5,444,000
Population all Countries 6,653,000
Total Countries 41
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 4
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 3  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 10998
ROP3 Code 101722
ROP25 Code 301457
ROP25 Name Bulgarian

No people group map currently available. Use the above button to submit a map.

Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 2.13 %)
94.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
6.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Bulgarian (5,444,000 speakers)
Language Code bul   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Bulgarian (5,444,000 speakers)
Language Code bul   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Bulgarian

Primary Language:  Bulgarian

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1823-1995)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1840-2000)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1864-2017)
FCBH NT (www.bible.is) Online
YouVersion NT (www.bible.com) Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Bulgarian Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Love letter to you from scripture Father's Love Letter
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Android Bible app: Bulgarian YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App Download audio Bible app from Google Play Store Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Bulgarian YouVersion Bibles
Photo Source Радост Тодорова - Pixabay 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

Joshua Project logo    Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Contact Us   Copyright © 2024