ATS Dissertations



Download Full Text (48.5 MB)


Gypsy Pentecostals is a ground-breaking study of the Pentecostal movement among the most marginalized ethnic group in Bulgaria - the Roma, more widely known as 'Gypsies.' This phenomenal movement started about fifty years ago, but it has seen its greatest growth in the recent years of the Post-Communist period. It has transformed the Roma communities in positive and constructive ways and advanced their integration into society. The dissertation is a thorough analysis of the movement and the first scholarly text on it written from the perspective of a Pentecostal missiologist.

The text reviews Roma history, which is a fascinating story of migration, oppression and survival in spite of great diversity. The mysterious culture of the Gypsies is featured as a complex mosaic of music, folklore, private justice, taboos, and spirituality. The historical relationship between the Roma and Christianity is explored in detail as one of both conflict and attraction. Roma Pentecostalism is reviewed as a worldwide phenomenon, demonstrating the Holy Spirit's work among marginal peoples.

The Pentecostal movement among the Bulgarian Roma was the main focus of the thesis. The significant developments in the history of that movement until the present are described. The writing gives a detailed analysis of the dynamics contributing to its phenomenal growth from the perspectives of several fields of study: theology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and missiology. The ways the movement has transformed Roma communities, culture, and identity in Bulgaria are reviewed. There is a first attempt to articulate a contextual Gypsy theology with its background and important themes. The dissertation concludes with suggesting possible areas for future research and giving useful recommendations for the movement's future development.

This work was the result of both library and field research. The field material was gathered by travel, participation in worship services and special conferences, and conversations with multiple observers who brought a variety of useful perspectives on the movement. I learned first-hand what it is like to love and worship God as a despised Gypsy. The experience was valuable and enriching to me, not just as a scholar and a minister, but also as a committed Christian.




Thesis (Ph. D.), 2008

Publication Date



George G. Hunter III


2008, Ph., D., 423080725, Pentecostalism, Bulgaria, Pentecostals, History, Romanies, Missions, Religion, Religious, Life, Customs


Missions and World Christianity


Thesis (Ph.D.)--Asbury Theological Seminary, 2008.


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 336-350).

Call Number

BR1644.5.B84 A82 2008



Gypsy Pentecostals: the Growth of the Pentecostal Movement Among the Roma in Bulgaria and its Revitalization of Their Communities