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ON the death of Boric, in 1168, his son, known in Bosnian history as the good ban Culin, became the ban, or ruler, of Bosnia. His reign extended over thirty-six years—years of peace, quiet, and prosperity to his country. The recent war with the Byzantine emperor, as well as the preference of the Hungarian kings for the Latin rite, had inclined both Bela III., who was now on the Hungarian throne and the acknowledged suzerain of Bosnia, and his chief vassal, the ban Culin, to acknowledge the superior claims of the Papacy. For the twelve years which followed Culin's accession to the throne of Bosnia the pope, Alexander III., was too busy in fighting the anti-popes of that period to do much in the way of suppressing heresy; and meanwhile, Culin, at first considered a dutiful son of the Church of Rome, had lapsed into the heresy of the Bogomils, and with his wife* and his sister, who was the widow of the Count of Chelm (the modern Herzegovina), had submitted to baptism and been numbered among the Credentes, or believers.[22] Pope Alexander III., on hearing of this departure from the faith, at once exerted such a pressure upon the ban through his suzerain, the King of Hungary, that he recanted from his Bogomil doctrines, appearing, it is said, in person at Rome with his recantation not later than the early part of A.D. 1181.

*Culin had married a sister of Stephen Nimanja, Ban of Serbia, whose Bogomilian opinions were notorious before her marriage.[23]

Whether the corruptions which were even then prevalent at Rome disgusted him, or the persuasions of his wife and sister were too strong to be resisted, we know not; but it is certain that within a few years the ban Culin was reported to Pope Innocent III. as having relapsed into his former errors and as having infected at least ten thousand of his subjects with his heresy.[24] This was in 1199. The next year it was reported that Daniel, the Roman Catholic bishop of Bosnia, had joined the Bogomils or Patarenes, and, soon after, that the Roman Catholic cathedral and episcopal palace at Crescevo had been destroyed by the heretics. For many a year thereafter there was no Roman Catholic bishop of Bosnia.[25]

The pope was furious. He appealed to the King of Hungary to punish his heretic vassal. But Culin was too strong to fear the Hungarian armies, and the Hungarian king was too well aware of his strength to venture any attempt to coerce him. And thus it came to pass that while Western Europe was devastated by De Montfort in his crusade against heretics, the banat of Bosnia afforded a secure asylum to persecuted adherents of the Bogomilian heresy from all parts of Europe.

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