THE GROWTH OF THE BOGOMIL CHURCHES UNDER
MISSIONARY ZEAL AND SUCCESS.
For the hundred years ending with A. D. 1220 the Bogomils of Bosnia had been very active in missionary work. They still affiliated to some extent with their brethren in Bulgaria, though they had greatly modified their views concerning the origin of the two principles of good and evil, and no longer held to the phantastic theory of the incarnation, but conformed to the present orthodox views of the human nature of Christ, and accepted the Old Testament in its entirety. But though their theology was elastic and comprehended somewhat differing views, their Christianity was pure, simple, and stern as ever. The Albigenses, and probably some of the earlier Catharist churches, had been the converts of Bulgarian missionaries; but the Waldensian congregations, the believers of the plains of Lombardy and the South of France, the Catharists of Spain, the early Reformers of Bohemia, the "Ketzers" of the Lower Rhine, the Publicani (a corruption of Pauliciani) of Flanders and England, were all the followers and disciples of the Bogomilian elders or djeds of Bosnia. Reinero Sacconior Regnier, as the English historians call himan Italian apostate of the beginning of the thirteenth century, who, having been one of the Bogomilian Credentes, had recanted and, uniting with the Roman Catholic Church, become an inquisitor, states that the churches of the Cathari, as he calls them, numbered then as many as thirteen bishoprics, or rather eldershipsfor they did not recognize the name of bishopthat of Bosnia or Sclavonia being the most important and the parent of the others. These elderships were scattered through all the countries of Europe, and extended in an unbroken zone from the Black Sea to the Atlantic and from the Mediterranean to the Baltic. They had penetrated into England and made their appearance in Oxford and its vicinity in 1160. Henry II., then on the English throne, called a council, and on its finding, issued a decree that the Publicani should be branded on the forehead with a red-hot key, publicly whipped and thrust forth from the city, and that nobody should give them food or shelter. The poor wretches, the historian adds, owing to the rigor of the season and the sentence, sunk under the punishment, and were all dispatched.
The Reformed Reader Home Page
Copyright 1999, The Reformed Reader, All Rights Reserved