Bulgaria is a Balkan state that adjoins Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Romania. It has been a nation since the 5th century but rarely an independent state. It was ruled by Ottoman Empire for about 500 years, then later under Communist rule until 1989. Orthodoxy was the state religion until Communism took over in 1945. The Communists persecuted Christians and manipulated the denominational leadership. The Orthodox church needs renewal, as it was weakened during the Communist regime, and it is largely for identity rather than religion. Religious freedom is still not completely recognized but there is growth in the number of believers. Pray for the Orthodox church and other Christian groups in Bulgaria that they may grow as a light within the darkness leftover from Communism.