Nestled amid the low eastern part of the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria is the town of Kardzhali. The capital of Kardzhali Province, Kardzhali has a population of roughly 76,232, with another 43,746 people living in the 118 villages which closely surround it. Once known as “Zherkovo”, the town and province take their modern name from Kardzha Ali, the Ottoman (Muslim) leader who conquered the area during the 14th century.
Though the population of the area is predominantly Muslim, there is a dedicated group of believers in Christ who have formed a local congregation. Initially, they met in people’s homes, and later in a dis-used public bath-house. In 2001, the congregation felt God leading them to erect a permanent church building toward the center of the city. Their outreach, based on the demographics of the area, is predominantly to Muslims, and a building dedicated specifically to the worship of God is an important fixture in the Islamic faith. Thus was born the Resurrection Christ Church of Kardzhali.
They acquired a tract of land near the downtown area, and began construction of the building in 2001 but, due to various problems with contractors and local officials, construction was not completed until 2009.
The congregation is led by the husband-and-wife team of Hari and Penka Atanasov. Both Hari and Penka were artists prior to being led to form this congregation, and are regarded by the Bulgarian government as two of the most prominent Master Artists of modern Bulgaria.
For the last several years, the members of the Hosanna! congregation have worked to help the church in Kardzhali finish construction on their building. Several staff members and other volunteers have traveled to Kardzhali to help host conferences on worship and other aspects of church development.
If you would like to contribute towards their building, please make checks payable to Hosanna! and mail to 29 Green Acre Road, Lititz, PA 17543. For the building fund please write in the memo field “Kardjali Building Fund” For evangelism supplies, or art workshop expenses, please write in the memo field “Bulgaria fund”.