committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

 

SECTION V.

THE SCLAVONIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE CATHARIST, OR PAULICIAN,
CHURCHES.—BULGARIA, BOSNIA, AND SERBIA ITS PRINCIPAL SEATS.—EUCHITES,
MASSALIANS, AND BOGOMILS.

We have now reached a stage in the history of these Cathari, or Paulicians, when their movement takes a new departure. Hitherto it has been mainly of Armenian origin; henceforward it becomes Sclavonic. Bulgaria has become an independent state—an empire, indeed—taking in both banks of the Danube and extending northward into what is now Southern Russia, and southward almost to the gates of Constantinople. More than once its czars, as its rulers were called, had knocked so loudly at those gates that the feeble successors of Constantine started back with affright and were ready to buy a peace by the payment of great sums of money. Two thousand pounds of gold, or nearly four hundred and fifty thousand dollars of our money (a vast sum in those days), was the tribute annually paid by one of these emperors to the Bulgarian czar. On the west and north-west three other independent states were rising into prominence—Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia. Their inhabitants were Sclavonians, and their government, at first patriarchal, had gradually taken on monarchical forms, till, though usually in accord, each state was practically independent; and for the most part all acted in concert with the semi-Sclavonic empire of Bulgaria in resisting the inroads of the Greek emperors. Later they united, now under a Serbian, now under a Bosnian, and anon under a Hungarian, leader in fighting the Turk.

Already, in the beginning of the tenth century, these independent states, and especially Bosnia, had been considerabIy leavened with the Paulician doctrine, to which its enemies, though never weary of denouncing them as Manichaeans, about this time began to apply a new name, that of Bogomils or Bogomiles, while the Bulgarian writers called them also Massalians alla Euchites. There are various explanations of the origin of these names, the most plausible being that they are substantially the same name translated into the Syriac, Greek, and Sclavonic languages. The term Massalians is said to be derived from a Syriac word signifying " those who pray," and the Greek Euchites has a similar meaning; while Bogomil is thought to be derived from the Bulgarian Bog z'milui, signifying "God have mercy." Prayer being the most characteristic act of the Bogomilian worship, as well as of the sects with which it was allied, this derivation has the merit of probability as well as of tradition.[8] Another tradition mentions a Bulgarian elder or pope (the Sclavonic term for priest) named Bogomil. This is a possible Bulgarian name, and answers to the German Gottlieb or the Greek Theophilus, each signifying "beloved of God."

The believers in these doctrines, it should be observed, never called- themselves by any of these names, and had even dropped that of Cathari, which at an earlier period they had assumed. They called themselves simply "Christians,"[9] and it must be confessed that they did more honor to the name than any of their persecutors.

 
 
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