An interesting note on KSL.com this week…and two very different sides of the same story. It grabbed my interest because it happened in my mission–a city where I served, in fact. Bourgas, Bulgaria.
(KSL News) Priests from a Bulgarian Orthodox Church along the Black Sea have asked the Bulgarian government to evict all Mormon missionaries. The request follows an incident in the city of Bourgas.
Internet Web sites from the area report that the priests are upset that the missionaries disrupted their worship service.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released this statement: “Contrary to erroneous media reports, two missionaries serving in Burgas, Bulgaria, did nothing to disrupt the services of a local church, and when asked to leave, did so immediately. The missionaries were invited to attend the church service by a member of the congregation.”
Of course, the Bulgarians tell a different story…
From Novinite.com, the Sofia News Agency (forgive the bad translation; it’s Novinite’s, not mine):
Mormons Rush into Orthodox Church in Bulgaria’s Burgas, Interrupt Service
Two mormon preachers rushed Thursday into “Saints Cyril and Methodius” orthodox church in Bulgaria’s coastal city of Burgas to interrupt the morning service, held to mark the Ascension of Jesus.
The missionaries entered the temple and announced in Bulgarian before the people inside they were going to preach.
The young men refused to leave even after priest Zahari asked them to. The scandal lasted for about half an hour before the mormons were taken out of the church almost by force.
“Such an incident happened for the first time and that aggressive behaviour was a precedent,” father Zahari said.
“I have ceased all responsible institutions and will insist on removing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Bulgaria’s creed register as well as extraditing of its missionaries,” he added.
While I’m not naive enough to think our missionaries would ever do such a thing (I *was* there, after all), the Bulgarian version sounds a little fishy. I mean, you never know, you could’ve had a couple of A-type sort of overzealous elders trying to muscle their way into a few baptisms…but I doubt it. Whatever happened, I hope it gets resolved soon!