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BOGOMILS

OF

BULGARIA AND BOSNIA;

************

The Early Protestants of the East.

AN ATTEMPT TO RESTORE SOME LOST LEAVES OF
PROTESTANT HISTORY.

BY
L. P. BROCKETT, M. D.,

 

Author of
"The Cross And The Crescent," " History Of Religious Denominations," etc.

 

_________________

 

PHILADELPHIA:
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY,
1420 CHESTNUT STREET.

 

Entered to Act of Congress, in the year 1879, by the
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

 

 

CONTENTS

_______


SECTION I.
Introduction.—The Armenian and other Oriental churches

SECTION II.
Dualism and the phantastic theory of our Lord's advent
in the Oriental churches.—The doctrines they rejected.—They held to baptism

SECTION III.
Gradual decline of the dualistic doctrine.—The holy and exemplary lives of the Paulicians

SECTION IV.
The cruelty and bloodthirstiness of the Empress Theodora.—The free state and city of Tephrice

SECTION V.
The Sclavonic development of the Catharist or Paulician churches.—Bulgaria, Bosnia, and Servia its
principal seats.—Euchites, Massalians, and Bogomils

SECTION VI.
The Bulgarian Empire and its Bogomil czars

SECTION VII.
A Bogomil congregation and its worship.—Mostar, on the Narenta

SECTION VIII.
The Bogomilian doctrines and practices.—The Credentes and Perfecti.—Were the Credentes baptized?

SECTION IX.
The orthodoxy of the Greek and Roman churches rather theological than practical.—Fall of the Bulgarian Empire.. 43

SECTION X.
The Emperor Alexius Comnenus and the Bogomil Elder Basil.—The Alexiad of the Princess Anna Comnena

SECTION XI.
The martyrdom of Basil.—The Bogomil churches reinforced by the Armenian Paulicians
under the Emperor John Zimisces

SECTION XII.
The purity of life of the Bogomils.—Their doctrines and practices.—Their asceticism

SECTION XIII.
The missionary spirit and labors of the elders and Perfecti.—The entire absence of any hierarchy

SECTION XIV.
The Bogomil churches in Bosnia and the Herzegovina.—Their doctrines more thoroughly scriptural than those of the Bulgarian churches.—Bosnia as a banate and kingdom

SECTION XV.
Bosnian history continued.—The good Ban Culin

SECTION XVI.
The growth of the Bogomil churches under Culin.—Their missionary zeal and success

SECTION XVII.
The authorities from whose testimony this narrative is drawn.—Its thorough corroboration by a cloud of witnesses

SECTION XVIII.
The era of persecution.—The crusades against the Bogomils.—Archbishop of Colocz

SECTION XIX.
Further crusades.—The hostility of Pope Innocent IV.—More lenient, but not more effective, measures

SECTION XX.
The establishment of the Inquisition in Bosnia.—Letter of Pope John XXII.—Previous testimony of enemies to the purity of the lives of the Bogomils

SECTION XXI.
Further persecution.—A lull in its fury during the over-lordship of the Serbian Czar Stephen Dushan.—The reign of the Tvart-ko dynasty

SECTION XXII.
The Reformation in Bohemia and Hungary a Bogomil movement.—Renewal of persecution under Kings Stephen Thomas and Stephen Tomasevic.—The Pobratimtso

SECTION XXIII.
Overtures to the sultan.—The surrender of Bosnia to Mahomet II. under stipulations.—His base treachery
and faithlessness.—The cruel destruction and enslavement of the Bogomils of Bosnia and, twenty years later, of those of the Duchy of Herzegovina

SECTION XXIV.
The Bogomils not utterly extinguished.—Their influence on society, literature, and
progress in the Middle Ages.—Dante, Milton, etc.—The Puritans.—Conclusion

APPENDIX: I.
A liturgy of the Toulouse Publicans in (probably) the Sixteenth Century

APPENDIX II.
Were the Paulician and Bogomil churches Baptist Churches?

NOTES

  

PREFACE.

THE belief that there had existed through all the ages since the Christian era churches which adhered strictly to scriptural doctrines and practice—churches which were the true successors in faith and ordinances of those founded by the apostles, and had never paid homage to Greek patriarch or Roman pope— was firmly impressed upon the minds of the Baptist church-historians of the first fifty years of the present century. They believed also that these churches were essentially Baptist in their character, and some of them made extensive researches among the works of secular and ecclesiastical historians of the early centuries to find tangible proofs to sustain their conviction. They were partially, but only partially, successful, for the historians of those periods were ecclesiastics of either the Greek or Roman churches, who added, in most cases, the bitterness of personal spite, from their discomfiture by the elders of these churches, to their horror at any departure from papal or patriarchal decrees.

For the last twenty-five or thirty years the ranks of the Baptist ministry have been so largely recruited from Paedobaptist churches—all of which had their origin, confessedly, either at the Reformation or since—that many of our writers have been disposed to hold in abeyance their claims to an earlier origin, and to say that it was a matter of no consequence, but there was no evidence attainable of the existence of Baptist churches between the fourth and the eleventh or twelfth centuries.

To the writer it has seemed to be a matter of great consequence to be able to demonstrate that there were churches of faithful witnesses for Christ who had never paid their homage or given in their allegiance to the anti-Christian churches of Constantinople or Rome. Even in idolatrous Israel, in the reign of its worst king, Ahab, the despairing prophet was told by Jehovah, "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him " Was it possible that among these many millions of misguided souls who had given themselves over to the delusions of the Greek and Roman churches, there was not at least as large a proportion, who had not been partakers in the sins or these anti-Christian churches, but had washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb?

It was true that both the Greek and Roman churches had put the brand of heresy on every sect which had dared to deny their dogmas; but might it not be that beneath that brand could be discerned the lineaments of the Bride of Christ?

My attention was first called to the possibility of discovering more than had hitherto been known in regard to these early Protestants of the Eastern lands some two years since, While engaged in some studies for a work on the Eastern Question. In the Christian churches of Armenia, Bulgaria, and Bosnia I believed were to be found the churches which from the fifth to the fifteenth century were the true successors of the churches founded by the apostles' in all matters of faith and practice. The "Historical Review of Bosnia," contained in the second edition of Mr. Arthur J. Evans' work on Bosnia in 1876, first opened my eyes to the wealth of the new historical discoveries thus brought to light in Bosnia and Bulgaria. Mr. Evans is a member of the Church of England, an eminent scholar, thoroughly devoted to archaeological investigations, and had made very patient and successful researches on this very subject. While he had explored the libraries of Mostar and Serajevo, as well as of the Greek and Roman Catholic convents throughout Bosnia and the Herzegovina, I found that a considerable portion of his facts were gleaned from two recent historical works—Herr Jirecek's Geschichte der Bulgaren (Berlin, 1876), and M. Hilferding's Serben used Bulgaren, originally published in the Sclavonic language, but translated into in 1874. Jirecek is a Bohemian, and, I believe, a Roman Catholic, but a man of great fairness. Hilferding is- a Russian, and attached to the Greek Church. Both treat largely (as they are under the necessity of doing) of the Bogomils, as these early Christians were called, since their history is very largely the history of the two nations for five or six centuries. Both give very minute descriptions of the faith and life of these people, and most of the historical facts given in the following pages are derived from them. But wherever Mr. Evans could find anything in the early secular or ecclesiastical writers of the Dark Ages or medieval times bearing on this subject he has carefully gleaned it, even though it were but A single sentence. This has been done, on his part, solely from a love of archaeological research, for he has evidently no special sympathy with the people about whom he writes; but he is entitled to the praise of manifesting a judicial fairness as between them and their persecutors.

My own labor on the subject has not been confined to the verification of Mr. Evans' quotations and references, but has extended in certain directions which he had left untouched, such as a careful study of all those affiliated sects whose connection with the Bogomils he had demonstrated, and the tracing up, so far as possible, all hints in regard to their special tenets. Among these I have found, often in unexpected quarters, the. most conclusive evidence that these sects were all, during their earlier history, Baptists, not only in their views on the subjects of baptism and the Lord's Supper, but in their opposition to Paedobaptism, to a church hierarchy, and to any worship of the Virgin Mary or the saints, and in their adherence to church independency and freedom of conscience in religious worship. In short, the conclusion has forced itself upon me that in these " Christians " of Bosnia, Bulgaria, and Armenia we have an apostolic succession of Christian churches, New Testament churches, and Baptist churches, and that as early as the twelfth century these churches numbered a converted, believing membership as large as that of the Baptists throughout the world to-day. I have chosen in the narrative to present only the facts ascertained, without making any deductions from them. They are so plain that the wayfaring man can comprehend their significance. In the Appendix (II.) I have endeavored to summarize these facts and to show their significance to Baptists. I now offer the whole as a humble contribution to Baptist church history.

L. P. B.

Brooklyn N. Y., February 1,1879.

 
 
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