St. Trivelius Institute is the successor of Bible Academy Logos (BAL) which was officially founded in 1992 when it began a regular program in theology. Prior to this, BAL offered a part-time theology program in various churches throughout Bulgaria.
In 1999, BAL was renamed the United Theological Faculty (UTF) as one of the faculties of the newly established Higher Evangelical Theological Institute, retaining its supra-denominational character. In 2008, UTF offered a master’s program in Biblical Studies and Chaplaincy.
In 2012, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria accredited “St. Trivelius” as a Higher Theological School, which retained the vision, philosophy, and goals of UTF and BAL.
While the name of the school has changed over the years, the goal has remained the same: to educate people who are willing to serve in the context in which God has placed them. Over 30 years, we have had the pleasure of seeing more than 500 people graduate.
During the years of the institute’s existence, we have maintained our desire to be a non-denominational school that serves the evangelical church in Bulgaria. We continue to desire to be a destination where people from different churches and denominations study and serve together as a vivid expression of the unity in diversity of the church.
St. Trivelius Institute is named after Khan Tervel (d. 721 AD) who was also known as St. Trivelius Theoktist. Khan Tervel was the king of Bulgaria early in the eighth century.
In 718 AD, Khan Tervel played an important role in stopping the advance of the Arab conquest against the Byzantine Empire and the rest of Europe. Earlier in 705 AD in Constantinople, he was proclaimed Cesar of the Eastern Empire. This title was given exclusively to Christian emperors, and this was the only case of a foreign Byzantine Empire ruler receiving the title of a co-emperor. It is for this reason that the Church, both Eastern Orthodox and Catholic, honours him as a saviour and protector saint of Europe.
Yet despite having glory, honour, power, and influence, which so many in our contemporary world crave at any cost, Khan Tervel himself retreated into a monastery near the city of Ohrid (in present day North Macedonia), thus choosing humble Christian ministry and service to God, rather than vain-glory, selfish interests, and ambitions. This is a marvellously vivid example of humility, and strength of heart and character, which we would be glad to see reflected in our own lives, and in the lives of more Christians and church leaders.
During the reign of Khan Tervel (700–721AD) the Church was one. The division between the East and West happened in the eleventh century. This is why the example and contribution of the Christian, ruler, and monk Khan Tervel (St. Trivelius Theoktist) belongs to the whole church, in spite of the strife and divisions that have marked the history of the church throughout the centuries.
Each year St. Trivelius Theoktist is honoured in the Bulgarian church calendar on the 3rd of September.