Mar 30, 2012

The Bogomils

When Christianity commenced to spread in the East and West, in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, it intermingled in the East with the learning of Zoroaster, which reigned in the Persian Empire as the official religion of the state. By a mixture of both creeds, the Persian prophet Mani (216-276) fashioned a new teaching, known after his name as „Manichaeism“, and adopted the the principal ideas of Zoroaster, as for example, the old Aryan dualism, and rules for foodstuff. Thus when this new creed began to spread speedily through the Byzantine Empire, it was severely opposed by the powers of state which caused a dispersion of the religion and atomization into many sects. One form of persecution of the adherents of the new religion took the form of sending them to western confines of the Empire to be used as „cannot-fodder“ against invading Bulgars, who menaced the Empire from the 6th to 10th century. But the heretics, instead of waging war against the Bulgars, fled to them and spread amongst them the new creed. Thus, during the first half of the 10th century there appeared in Bulgaria a man named Jeremija, who found a new religion, based on Manichean teachings and old Slavic customs. Jeremija took the name of „Bogomil“ meaning „Dear to God“; it was he who named the new religion Bogomilism. It soon spread all over Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and finally reached Bosnia. Bogomils thus came to Bosnia directly from Bulgaria and established therein a powerful bulwark.