Condemnation and Martyrdom of
Bishop Eugene Bossilkov, C.P.
Bishop Eugene Bossilkov, C.P.
Sign of the Passion "C"ondemned with Bishop Bossilkov on similar charges were the Assumptionist priests, Kamen Vicev Jonkov, Pavel Dgidgiov, Josafat Sciskov, and the Capuchin priest, Fortunato Bakalski. The official sentence against Bishop Bossilkov read:

By virtue of articles 70 and 83 of the penal code, the court condemns the accused,Eugene Bossilkov, to be sentenced to death by firing squad, and all his goods confiscated... Dr.Eugene Bossilkov, Catholic bishop; completed his religious studies in Italy and was trained by the Vatican for counter-revolutionary activities and espionage. He is one of the directors of a clandestine Catholic organization. He was in touch with diplomats from the imperialist countries and gave them information of a confidential nature. The accused convoked a diocesan council in which it was decided to combat communism through religious conferences, held in Bulgaria, activities called ' a mission.' No appeal of his sentence is possible. The High Court ,Sophia, Bulgaria, October 3, 1952

prisonAt the last, he said to his niece and to his friends: "Don't worry about me; I have been given God's grace, and I am going to remain faithful to Christ and to the Church.

He was executed in the prison (left) at Sophia on the night of November 11th at 11:30 P.M.. His body was thrown into a common grave for criminals; the precise location of his burial place and his body is unknown.

News of the trial and execution emerged in scattered reports from the secretive Iron Curtain nation. On December 15, 1952, Pius XII in an encyclical letter "On the Oriental Churches" spoke of the disturbing news of persecutions in Bulgaria:

"Bulgaria...where there is a small but flourishing community of Catholics; a nation in which so violent a storm has broken out that the Church has been reduced to a state of profound mourning. Employing their infamous methods of denunciation, ministers of God have been convicted as public criminals. Among them, Our venerable brother, Eugene Bossilkov, Bishop of Nicopolis, was condemned to capital punishment, together with three other priests who have worked in the ministry with him. Not a few others are also in prison or in concentration camps. To these may be added the many Catholics punished in so many ways who, thereby, also merit the same triumphant palm and the glory of martyrdom."

The first official notice of Bishop Bossilkov's death came in 1975. In an audience with Bulgarian Chief of State, Todor Zhikov, June 27th, Pope Paul V1 asked him directly what happened to Bishop Bossilkov. "Bishop Bossilkov died in prison twenty three years ago," he answered.

email questions or comments
about this page to Fr Victor Hoagland, C.P.

his life
testimony of his niece
the Holy Father's remarks
the Superior General of the Passionists
steps toward beatification
on martyrdom