The Practice of Corporate Holiness within the Communion Service of Bulgarian Pentecostals
by Dony K. Donev, D.Min.
Historical and Doctrinal Formation of Holiness Teachings and Praxis among Bulgarian Pentecostals (Research presentation prepared for the Society of Pentecostal Studies, Seattle, 2013 – Lakeland, 2015, thesis in partial fulfillment of the degree of D. Phil., Trinity College)
Pentecostal identity was corporately practiced and celebrated within the fellowship of believers through the partaking of Holy Communion. We have otherwise extensively described the Communion service among Bulgaria’s conservatives in Theology of the Persecuted Church (Part 1: Lord’s Supper http://cupandcross.com/theology-of-the-persecuted-church/). Therefore, here we offer just a brief overview of its main characteristics.
- It was done in a time and place directed by the Holy Spirit
- If some did not have water baptism they were taken to a close by river to be baptized while the rest of the church prayed
- Upon returning, if some did not have yet the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the church would pray until all were baptized
- It began with each participant audibly asking all members for forgiveness
- they would also audible respond with the words: WE FORGIVE YOU and may GOD also forgive you
- The communion bread was prepared on the spot baked by women whose names were also reveled in prayer
- All drank from one cup, which strangely for their strict practice of abstinence from alcohol, was filled with alcoholic wine
- Communion was served only to those who had the fullness of the Spirit, and had just requested and were given forgiveness
- The presbyter would quote Jude 20 to each partaking believer thus directing them to audibly speak in tongues before they could participate in communion
- Interpretation often followed to confirm the spiritual stand of the believer
- If there were any leftovers, the Communion elements were served again until all was used
- Communion was incomplete without foot washing as a seal that the whole sacrament was fulfilled.