The article examines the activation of Bulgarian evangelical Christians in the period of late socialism in the country (1970-1989) and the processes of religious conversion among them. The study is based on fieldwork in the period 2007-2012 among representatives of one of the Pentecostal church communities in Bulgaria, formed in the 1920-s, with founder Stoyan Tinchev (1880-1965) and known by different names: ‘Tinchevists’, ‘Northern Brothers’, ‘Church of God’, ‘Bulgarian Church of God’. The article traces the development and transformations of this religious community. How is religious surge possible (within a particular religious community) in the conditions of repression and consistent atheist policy during socialism? This is the main research question the author poses. The encapsulated nature of the groups of ‘Tinchevists’, practicing at home and without official church registration, makes it difficult for them to be controlled by the authorities. This, as well as the extreme devotion and proselytism among its members, are among the reasons for the survival of this community over time and its growth at the very end of socialism and during the postsocialist period.
Keywords: Christianity, Pentecostalism, conversion, socialism