Christians escape to Bulgaria from Iran persecutions

It is a sad fact that Christians around the world are experiencing extraordinary levels of religious adversity. With the Islamic State threatening the lives of Christians who do not convert or flee in Iraq, and China tightening its grip on churches, the threat posed by Iran has long slipped under the radar. Yet, in recent months they have increased their persecution of Christians, resulting in their flight from their homes to avoid physical harm.


It has been a standing policy since the 1979 Iranian Revolution that all Muslims who convert to Christianity will be prosecuted under apostasy laws. Those who have converted have established home churches where they can pray in peace. However, Iran has begun to make more arrests throughout the nation. Officials target Christians who they suspect are practicing the religion in a manner that is threatening to the government.

The establishment of the Church of Iran caught many officials’ attention, and has prompted this latest round of arrests which started in July. Many Christians in the region now live in perpetual fear that they will be among the next round of arrests and possible executions.


So far, many Iranians that practice Christianity have remained hidden because they are afraid and lack the means to find a new home. However, almost 800 individuals across the Middle East have found an unusual home in Bulgaria. This nation has accepted them from the persecution in the Middle East and has hosted them as part of a deal that was brokered with a man who is being dubbed “The Jewish Schindler.”


The man who has become a hero for hundreds that have been forced to flee Iran is a Canadian named Yank Barry. He has said that he has taken inspiration from the World War II hero who helped save 1,200 individuals from certain death, and wishes to offer hope to any individuals who are being persecuted. So far he has spent over three million dollars out of his own pocket to help the Iranians out of the country and into Bulgaria, where he has them put up in a hotel. They are offered medical attention and educational opportunities that will help them assimilate into their new host nation.


As various nations around the world continue to pressure Christians into leaving their homes, more support is being levied in their favor. With humanitarian aid coming from the UN in Iraq and donors such as Yank Barry, it appears that there is a hopeful future for these people.