Similarities and differences between Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Protestants.
The three movements share their faith in the one God and in Jesus Christ as incarnated Son of God and a Saviour of mankind from sin and death. They also believe in the trinity of God and accept the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Symbol of Faith.
This subject is more complex. There are Christian issues over which the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics disagree with the Protestants; there are issues over which the Catholics and the Protestants disagree with the Orthodox; and there are issues over which the Orthodox and the Protestants disagree with the Catholics
B.1./The Orthodox and the Roman Catholics acknowledge seven sacraments, pray for the dead, pray to the saints, venerate relics and icons, cross themselves, acknowledge the Holy Scripture and the Holy Tradition. Protestants acknowledge two sacraments (Baptism and the Eucharist) and only the Holy Scripture. They reject the Holy Tradition and everything else mentioned above in B.1.
B.2./ Despite the major differences between Catholics and Protestants there are points where they are unanimous. These include Filioque and the use the so-called Apostles' creed. The Orthodox reject both the Filioque and the Apostles' creed.
B.3./ The Orthodox and the Protestants do not acknowledge the innovations of the Roman Catholic Church: Virgin Mary's immaculate conception, Virgin Mary's corporal ascension, and the leadership of the Pope - which is extremely important for the Roman Catholics.
Sects based on Protestantism
The Reformation lead to decentralisation of the church management and to individual interpretation and perception of the word of God. This in turn became a prerequisite for the separation of large and small groups from the churches formed during the period of the Reformation, Lutheranean, Reformative and Anglican.
Initially the number of these sects was small but since mid-19th century it has been increasing at an incredibly rapid pace. There are believed to be some 2000 such religious communities existing at present. Some have many followers while some have only a few members. Some tend to be more rationalist and some are inclined towards mysticism. The number of the mystic communities has bees steadily on the rise since the middle of the 20th century. There are many and different charismatic movements.
Until late 1989 there used to be 5 church communities based on Protestantism in Bulgaria: Congregationalists, Methodists, Baptists, Adventists and the Pentecost Church. There were 4 non-Christian formations: Spiritists, Theosophists, Dunovists and Tolstoyists (excluding Judaism and Islam, which have been existing in Bulgaria for centuries).
A large number of new Christian and non-Christian communities have penetrated Bulgaria over the last ten years. There are more than 30 ones that are officially registered at present, and there are many more that are not registered at all. Some of them are quite aggressive and employ unfair means of propaganda. The Orthodox Church is the main target of their attacks. They attract young people of weak faith. They disregard the spiritual and cultural values our nation has cherished for centuries. Their activities rely to a great extent on the financial aid they receive from abroad.