committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

 

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.

LET us now turn to Bosnia and the Herzegovina, or, as it was called about this time, the Principality of Chelm. The introduction of the Bogomil doctrines was not effected in most of this region till the early part of the tenth century, and they did not take deep root there till toward the close of the eleventh century. By that time, however, the whole country was very thoroughly leavened with them, though there had not been any persecution instituted against them. The orthodox church of Bosnia had been from the first more Sclavonic than Greek. It had originated from the labors of Cyrillus and Methodius, and, though accepting in general the dogmas of the Greek Church and its gorgeousness of architectural decoration and ecclesiastical display, its Scriptures, psalter, and ritual were in the Sclavonic, and not in the Greek, tongue.[20] It had manifested, up to the twelfth century, none of the persecuting spirit of the Greek or the Roman Church. It had wavered in its allegiance, now recognizing the pope as the head of the church, and anon manifesting by its services and its dogmas a preference for the Eastern Church, though it had no sympathy for the Byzantine rulers or people.

The Bosnians—or Bosniacs, as they call them selves—had, after the Sclavonic fashion, elected their zupans from the patriarchs of the communes, or the groups of villages, and their grand zupan, whom they as early as the beginning of the tenth century had begun to call ban—i. e., prince or grand duke—from the zupans or chiefs of their groups of villages. They were practically independent, acknowledging in some great emergency, as of war or territorial acquisition, now the Ban of Croatia, anon the Grand Zupan of Servia, and perhaps a little later the King of Hungary, as over-lord or suzerain, and following one or other to the battle-field. But in time of peace this suzerainty amounted to very little. At no time from the beginning, of the tenth century were they the acknowledged subjects of the Byzantine emperor. If his generals succeeded in subduing the over-lord under whose banners they had last marched, they transferred their fealty to another over-lord who was not subdued, or remained in their mountain-fastnesses, which the Byzantine troops, enervated by luxury, found inaccessible.

In 1138, Bela II., King of Hungary, under this nominal suzerainty attempted, at the instance of the pope, to make a raid against the Patarenes—one of the names which the popes bestowed upon the Bogomils—in the country between Cetina and Narenta.[21] These names of places or districts indicate that the region visited was in the Herzegovina and Montenegro rather than in Bosnia proper. This expedition seems to have e accomplished nothing. The pope was occupied with other wars and crusades against heresy, and the Hungarian king—whose real name was Coloman, though he reigned under the title of Bela II. or Geiza II., Bela or Geiza being the royal patronymic of that period in Hungary—was soon engaged in a war with Manuel I., one of the ablest of the Byzantine emperors; and in this war, which continued for a long time, the Hungarian king was powerfully aided by his natural son, Boric, who had been chosen ban of Bosnia.

 
 
The Reformed Reader Home Page 


Copyright 1999, The Reformed Reader, All Rights Reserved