Bogomils of Bulgaria and Bosnia:
The Early Protestants of the East.
AN ATTEMPT TO RESTORE SOME LOST LEAVES
OF PROTESTANT HISTORY.
L. P. BROCKETT, M. D.,
"The Cross And The Crescent", "History Of Religious Denominations",
OF PART III
TO CONTENTS OF PART III
RETURN TO THE BOGOMILS OF BULGARIA
AND BOSNIA PART I
RETURN TO THE BOGOMILS
OF BULGARIA AND BOSNIA PART II
IT has long been a matter of surprise to those who have studied the history of Bosnia and Bulgaria that the Bogomils, who for so many centuries were numerous and powerful not only in those states, but in Western Europe also, should have left such slight traces of a literature behind them. That it was not for want of culture or learning was certain, for on at least two occasions the popes, and those the most accomplished occupants of the papal throne, issued their bull requiring that the most learned men of the universities of Italy and France should be sent to Bulgaria and Bosnia to reason with the elders of the Bogomils and confute their heresies. These Roman Catholic scholars did not succeed in convincing either the elders or their followers. A passage from Mr. Evans' Illyrian Letters, which we have quoted elsewhere, gives the probable explanation of the scarcity of the Bogomilian literature—that it was concealed at the time of the Turkish invasion, and will probably be brought to light soon.
Meantime, a careful search has discovered a single document (aside from the
Bogomil Gospels, a Codex of 1404, but preserving the primitive forms of
speech) which illustrates their doctrines or practices. This is a manuscript
of wholly uncertain date, partly in the Romance and partly in the Provencal
language, discovered in France in 1851, and now in the Palaisdes Arts
at Lyons. This was published by Cunitz in Jena in 1852.* It is rather
a liturgy and book of forms than a confession or declaration of faith,
and, if genuine, pertains to the very latest period of their history,
and to the French and Italian rather than the Bosnian branch of the church.
The work is not complete. It commences with a short liturgy, of which
the Lord's Prayer and the Doxology are in the Romance language, and the
first seventeen verses of St. John's Gospel in Latin. The remainder of
the work is in the Provencal tongue, and consists, first, of an act of
confession; secondly, of an act of reception among the number of Credentes
or believers; thirdly, of an act of reception among the Perfecti,
or perfect; fourthly, of some special directions for the faithful;
and fifthly, of an act of consolation in case of sickness. It is prescribed
that the act of confession is to be made to God only, and it is
concluded with the following form of prayer: " O thou holy and good Lord,
all these things which happen to us in our senses and in our thoughts,
to thee we do manifest them, holy Lord; and all the multitude of sins
we lay upon the mercy of God, and upon holy prayer, and upon the holy
gospel: for many are our sins. O Lord, judge and condemn the vices of
the flesh. Have no mercy on the flesh born of corruption, but have mercy
on the spirit placed in prison, and administer to us days and hours, and
genuflections, and fasts, and orisons, and preachings, as is the custom
of good Christians, that we may not be judged nor condemned in the day
of judgment with felons."
The act of reception into the number of Credentes, or believers, seems to have been. analogous to "the hand of fellowship " in many of the modern churches, and, contrary to the conjectures of some of the Germail critics, seems to have presupposed baptism. It was called the delivery of the orison, because a copy of the Lord's Prayer was given to the new believer. The following is the form as given in this manuscript:
If a believer is in abstinence, and the Christians are agreed to deliver him the orison, let them wash their hands, and the believers present likewise. . And then one of the bons hommes, the one that comes after the elder, is to make three bows to the elder, and then to prepare a table, then three more bows, and then he is to put a napkin upon the table; and then three more bows, and then he is to put the book upon the napkin; and then let him say the Benedicite, parcite nobis. And then let the believer make his salute and take the book from the hand of the elder. And the elder must admonish him and preach to him. from fitting testimonies (or texts). And if the believer's name is Peter, he is to say, 'Sir Peter, you must understand that when you are before the church of God you are before the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.' For the Church is called 'assembly,' and where are the true Christians, there is the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost."
The formula of the Consolamentum—which by this and perhaps other branches of the Catharists was called "the baptism of the Spirit" was as follows: "Jesus Christ says in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts i. 5) that ‘John surely baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.’ This holy baptism of imposition of hands wrought Jesus Christ, according as St. Luke reports; and he said that his friends should work it, as reports St. Mark:’ ‘They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall receive good.’ And Ananias wrought this baptism on St. Paul when he was converted. And afterward Paul and Barnabas wrought it in many places. And St. Peter and St. John wrought it on the Samaritans. This holy baptism, by which the Holy Spirit is given, the church of God has had it from the apostles until now, and it has come down from bons hommes to bons hommes, and will do so to the end of the world."
We do not attach much importance to this manuscript. It is probably a manual of forms written out for the convenience of some of the elders or bons hommes of the Toulouse Albigenses or Catharists, or perhaps the Vaudois, as late as the fifteenth century, or possibly even in the sixteenth; but the evidence is conclusive that these forms were a departure from the practices of the Bogomils. They and all the earlier Catharists utterly repudiated the practice of speaking of the evangelists or apostles, or indeed any one else, as saints-as, for instance, St. Paul, St. John, etc.; and this was one of the accusations brought against them by their enemies. Another point upon which they were strenuous was that all the Scripture readings and all the prayers, hymns, and responses should be in the common or vulgar tongue. In this, on the contrary, the Gospel is in Latin and the Psalm is referred to by its Latin title, while the Lord's Prayer and the Doxology are in the Romance tongue, which to them was a foreign language. The ideas of apostolic succession and of the repeated reverences to the elder are also wholly foreign to the views or practices of the Bosnian or Bulgarian Bogomils. These departures from the ancient faith and practice make it probable that the congregation or congregations for whom this manuscript manual was prepared were composed of converts from Romanism, who had retained some of their old forms and doctrines and incorporated them into their new faith.
- The extracts from this document given below are from the able though somewhat prejudiced article on the Cathari in McClintock and Strong's Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, vol. ii. pp. 155-157.
TO CONTENTS OF PART III
WERE THE PAULICIAN AND BOGOMIL CHURCHES BAPTIST CHURCHES?
WITHIN the last two years a Baptist newspaper of large circulation and conducted with great ability has asserted editorially that " there was no evidence at present attainable which justified a belief in the existence of Baptist churches during the period between the fourth and eleventh or twelfth centuries." The writer did not deny, although he did not assert, that there might have been during that period individuals who held to Baptist doctrines.
But great men are not always wise, and their dicta are not always infallible. It happened, at the very time that this statement was made, that there was evidence attainable that during the period specified Baptist churches as pure as any now in existence were maintained, and their membership during a part of that time was as large as, and perhaps larger than, that of the Baptist churches throughout the world at the present day.
In our demonstration on this point it may be well to define what are and have been in all ages the distinguishing characteristics of Baptist churches.
It will be said, perhaps, by persons who have not given the matter much thought, " Oh, everybody knows what is the sole characteristic of Baptists: they believe in immersion as the only baptism." This is true; but so do the Greek Church, the Mormons, the Campbellites or Disciples, the Christians, the Free-Will Baptists, etc., etc. " Well, they reject infant baptism." True; but so do most of those named above.
A critical examination of the history and doctrines of the Baptist churches of Europe and America reveals the following negative and positive particulars as characteristic of them all.
1. They take the word of God, as revealed in the Bible, as their only sufficient rule of faith and practice.
2. They regard faith in Jesus Christ as God manifest in the flesh, and as having suffered and died the shameful death of the cross, and risen again for their justification, and ascended to heaven as their Mediator, as the only sufficient assurance of salvation, and that this faith is always connected with repentance and regeneration.
3. They refuse to be bound by any creed or confession of faith or doctrine which is not clothed in the words of the Scriptures.
4. Their only initiatory rite for membership is the immersion of the believer in water on the profession of his faith. This they do not deem a saving ordinance, but a simple act of obedience to the command of Christ.
5. They entirely repudiate infant baptism, both as unscriptural and injurious to its subjects, inasmuch as baptism is only the profession of the act of faith on the part of the believer himself, and no one is able to promise for an infant that it shall believe at a future time. And they regard this baptism of infants as tending to hypocrisy and the introduction of unconverted persons into the church, and of no significance except where it entitles the infant, as it does in some countries, to state privileges.
6. They regard the Lord's Supper as a memorial, not a mystical, service, to be offered only to baptized believers. They repudiate utterly the mystical ideas of the ordinance entertained by some of the Reformed churches, the consubstantiation theory as held by the Lutheran, and still more decidedly by the Greek Church, and the transubstantiation doctrine of the Romish Church and its allies.
7. They abhor the worship of the Virgin Mary in all its forms, and that of the saints, prayers to the saints, prayers or masses for the dead, the worship of pictures, icons, images, crucifixes, and everything of the sort, monachism and seclusion, and all attempts to acquire merit by superfluous good works.
8. They believe in the necessity of a pure and holy life—not for the attainment of heaven or of any earthly or heavenly good, but from gratitude to Him who hath redeemed them.
9. They have always held to freedom of conscience and worship. They have never, when they have had the power, persecuted any for holding views which differed from theirs, but have always granted to others what they claimed for themselves—the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience.
10. They have always been a plain people—plain in dress, plain in their houses of worship, and plain in their speech. Their churches have not been decorated with cross or crucifix, statue or image, lectern, altar, reredos, or lighted candles. No "storied windows dight" have displayed full-length portraits of the Saviour, the apostles, or saints. No chimes of bells ring out for them the announcement of church holy-days. Even in the midst of the most gorgeous displays of church architecture and decoration they have been content with perfect plainness.
11. They have never acknowledged any hierarchy, archbishops, bishops, deans, archdeacons, and priests, nor have any of the monastic orders ever gained even a momentary foothold in their churches. Their pastors, teachers, or elders are chosen from, and licensed and ordained by, the churches, and these possess no exclusive or ecclesiastical authority; and though held greatly in esteem and love for their works' sake, they have no ruling power or right of absolution beyond other members of the church, except what is derived from their intellectual attainments, their study of God's word, and their earnest devotional spirit.
We think no one familiar with our denomination would question, for a moment, the right of a church which held these views, and practised in accordance with them, to be considered a Baptist church and entitled to receive the hand of fellowship at once.
Will any intelligent man who has carefully read this historical sketch point out a single item in which the Paulicians and Bogomils failed to come up to the standard of Baptist churches of the present day?
A great deal has been said of the gross doctrinal errors of the Paulicians, and they have been confounded (wilfully in some instances) with the Manichaeans, Novatians, and other sects whose doctrines they vehemently repudiated. The early ecclesiastical historians, who have given us such exaggerated pictures of their heresies, were themselves mostly priests or monks of the Greek Church, bitter partisans, and champions of a church which enforced uniformity of dogma at the point of the sword. From them alone, unfortunately, is nearly all our information in regard to the doctrines of these early Protestants derived. They had every temptation to misrepresent, and we know that in many instances they did so. For a period of ten centuries they persisted, against their earnest protests, in calling the Paulicians and Bogomils, Manichaeans, and imputing to them the dualistic doctrine, which was perhaps held, though probably only in a modified form, by some of the earlier Paulicians. They attributed to them also the phantastic theory of Christ's mission to earth, of which there is no trace later than the sixth or seventh century. In Our narrative we have admitted these charges as probable, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, but they certainly disappeared speedily before the stronger and clearer light of God's word. Meantime, these views, if theoretically held for a time, were no bar to a saving faith in Christ, and did not prevent them from leading lives of such holiness and purity that even their adversaries were compelled to acknowledge their excellence. Nor did they prohibit their making the most active exertions for the conversion of the world. They were, with all their errors, sons of God, without reproach, epistles of Christ known and read of all men.
At a period when the sword was the usual weapon for conversion, and the doctrines of the church were thrust down the throats of the unconverted "will he, nill he," the Paulicians of Armenia were sending out their missionaries two and two, unarmed except with the word of God, among the savage and pagan Bulgarians, to lead them to Christ and to teach them the way of salvation; and they were wonderfully successful. Many centuries before either the Greek or the Roman Church had thought of the possibility of the devotion of holy women to the nursing of the sick, the care and instruction of the poor and ignorant and of little children, and all those works of mercy which have made the names of the "Sisters of Charity" and of "Mercy" so widely honored, devout women of the Paulician and Bogomil churches were giving themselves to these good works; and not only our modern missions, but our modern Sunday-schools and hospitals for the sick, find their models and origin among these humble people.
Grant, even, that in their earlier history, with but scanty light and with only small portions of the word of God accessible to them, they had fallen into theoretic errors in regard to the two principles of good and evil, and with their vivid Oriental imaginations had speculated upon the possibility of the phantastic theory of our Lord's mission to earth, were these views any more crude than those of many genuine converts from heathenism at the present day? And when we set in the balance against these their simple faith in Christ, their repudiation of Mariolatry, invocations to saints, the worship of images and pictures, and, above all, their holy living and earnest working for the propagation of the truth, why should we turn away from them as heretics and unworthy of the Christian name?
The Greek and the Roman churches, their violent and relentless persecutors, who boasted of their orthodoxy, were, even at their best, far more heretical, both in doctrine and in practice, than the Paulicians. Their churches were decked and filled with images, sculptures, icons, and paintings of the Virgin Mary and the saints, and even with paintings of traditional scenes in the lives of saints and emperors which would now bring a blush even upon a cheek of brass; the idolatries, practised in both churches in the worship of the Virgin and the saints and emperors, and the adoring of crucifixes and relies, were open and gross; while the conduct of emperors and empresses, the spiritual heads of the church, was so infamous in its criminality that it put to shame even the worst of the pagan emperors of Rome. There were corruption, simony, theft, profligacy, and the most horrible licentiousness everywhere. All these things passed without rebuke, or at most with very gentle reproof, from the ecclesiastical historians of the times, who reserved the thunders of their denunciations for the pure and saintly Paulicians. At a later period the Romish Church emulated, and even surpassed, the Greek Church in the infamy of its priesthood, the cruelty of its persecutions of the hapless Bogomils, and the horrible corruption and impurity of its popes, bishops, priests, monks, and nuns.
When the hidden treasures of sacred books, manuscripts, and communion-vessels preserved in the secret chambers of castle-vaults in Bosnia and the Herzegovina for four hundred years and more by the Moslem descendants of Bogomil nobles shall be brought to light, as they soon will be, we shall learn more in detail of the doctrinal views of these Bogomil churches, but it is not to be anticipated that we shall find anything to their discredit; for holy living and careful, thorough study of God's word ensure sound doctrine. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine."
Courage and firmness in defending their faith, coupled with a patient endurance of persecution for righteousness' sake, was a characteristic of the Paulicians, and later of the Bogomils. Evans, a most impartial writer, estimates that between the eighth and fifteenth centuries nearly a million of these Protestants perished by martyrdom in Bulgaria, Bosnia, and the Herzegovina. But when, as in the ninth century, the Greek Empress Theodora attempted and vowed their entire extermination, they showed themselves no cowards or cravens in their defence of their hearths, their homes, and their faith, but drove back their cruel persecutors with such vigor that they made them quake in their gilded palaces in Constantinople.
Then followed an act which we, alone of all the Christian denominations, are warranted in claiming as distinctively a development of, one of our fundamental principles—the establishment of the free state and city of Tephrice, whose every citizen was at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience without let or hindrance. Where did these Christian mountaineers get this idea? All around them there was bitter persecution for conscience sake—they themselves had seen one hundred thousand or more of their brethren slain for their faith at the command of the infamous Theodora—yet, while flushed with their victory over their persecutors, they pause and found a state where persecution for conscientious belief shall be unknown, where every creed and every unbeliever shall find shelter from persecution. This free state lasted for nearly a hundred and fifty years; and though it was too early for permanence, since the nations were not capable of grasping so grand an idea, yet it existed long enough to show that those whom Christ makes free are free indeed.
And during its existence the freedom of opinion maintained there was not apathy or indifference. Far from it. The free city of Tephrice was the centre and seat of a missionary enterprise which has had no parallel since the time of the apostles. The missionary elders went forth two and two, sustained by their brethren at home, throughout Bulgaria, Bosnia, and Serbia, preaching the word, and the pagan Bulgarians and Bosniacs were converted in such numbers that their enemies of the Greek Church began to add to the other opprobrious names which they gave to the Paulicians that of Bulgars, which after a time was corrupted into " Bougres," by which term, among others, they were known for centuries. At length so many of these missionaries migrated into Bulgaria that Tephrice became nearly depopulated, and fell into the hands of the Saracens. At a later period, when the Bogomils were, as was the case several times, the masters of Bosnia for forty, sixty, or, in one instance, a hundred years, they never retaliated upon their persecutors the wrongs which they had endured, but always advocated the largest liberty of opinion.
That the Bogomils of Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Serbia in the eleventh and following centuries had purged themselves from those erroneous doctrines which were taught by the earlier Paulicians, and were as clear in their doctrinal views as the Baptist churches here to-day, is abundantly evident from the reluctant testimony of their adversaries. They do not quite abandon their old nickname of Manichaeans in speaking of them, but oftener they call them Patarenes, Bougres, Ketzers, Publicani, and sometimes Arians, which is widest of the mark of all, for their belief in the divinity of Christ and his equality with the Father was as sound as that of the Athanasian Creed.
If their affiliation with all the purest Reformers before the Reformation were not so thoroughly demonstrated as it is, we might have anticipated it from their known missionary spirit; but there is no fact in history better substantiated than that the Bogomil churches in Bosnia were the mother-churches from which originated, through the labors of their faithful missionaries, the congregations of Waldenses, Vaudois, Poor Men of Lyons, Catharists, Ketzers, Publicani, Bohemians, and Hussites; and it is equally certain that during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and probably both earlier and later, there was an annual intercourse kept up between these churches and the mother-churches in Bosnia. Eventually there were probably some diversities of doctrine, which crept in among the Western churches; the manuscript found at Lyons in 1851, and which contains a form of worship certainly not earlier than the latter part of the fifteenth century—which we give in part elsewhere indicates considerable departures from the earlier faith. What these were it is difficult to say. They certainly did not include infant baptism, which was repudiated by most of the Christian churches of the Continent that had never been in fellowship with Rome. They may have admitted, in some cases, affusion or sprinkling in the place of immersion in baptism, but this is uncertain, and in the more southern churches improbable.
But there is one fact which should be kept in mind: the Bogomils, and, earlier, the Paulicians, as well as the churches which affiliated with them in Western Europe, refused to be called reformers, or even Protestants, if by that term there should be any implication that they were originally seceders from either the Roman or the Greek churches. They said uniformly and boldly, "We have never had any connection with those corrupt churches; and though we protest against their false doctrines, we have no belief that they can ever be reformed into churches of Christ." It was this bold and consistent opposition to these great churches which so inflamed their wrath and made them such bitter persecutors of the Bogomil churches. As a consequence of this, as we have noticed in the history, none of those churches which had affiliated with the Bogomils of Bosnia were much enlarged by the Reformation, and most of them maintained a separate existence after that event.
This is just the position that the Baptist churches, and they only, have always occupied. They did not come out from Rome, for they never belonged to it. They sympathize, indeed, with what is good in the work of the Reformation, and with the churches which cannot go farther back than Luther or Calvin or Zwinglius for their origin; yet all of those churches retain, in their ordinances, their infant membership, and their hierarchy, some traces of their former adherence to the Church of Rome. The white robe of their profession has still some stains upon it. The Baptist churches, on the other hand, trace their spiritual lineage back in an unbroken line through myriads of white-robed martyrs who never were defiled by contact with Rome to the days of the apostles, and reckon as among their earliest elders and preachers the names of Paul and Peter and John, of Stephen and Philip and Barnabas, of Silas and Timothy and Titus; and the only priest they know is the Great High Priest who is passed into the heavens, the Shepherd and Bishop of souls.
In this noble position we stand, as a denomination, alone, though the early Puritans of England might have shared it with us had they not given up their birthright by adopting the twin errors of affusion and infant baptism from Rome.
TO CONTENTS OF PART III
1(C. II.). The denial of their practice of water-baptism, etc.—Harmenopoulos, a Byzantine monk of the tenth century, more candid than most of his fellows, says, as quoted by Mr. Evans, "that the Bogomils practised the rite (and if they did they must have received it from the Paulicians)," but did not attribute to it any perfecting (teleioun) virtue. This last expression is significant in this connection as showing that this rite was administered to all the believers (Credentes), in distinction from the spiritual baptism or consolamentum (which we have elsewhere described), which was only administered to those who were admitted to the ranks of the Perfecti or perfect ones, upon whom this spiritual baptism was supposed to exert a perfecting virtue. It is, we believe, generally admitted that the early Armenian Church, of which the Paulicians were an offshoot, did not practise trine immersion, like the Greek Church, though they immersed their converts once and applied the unction three times. At a later period and at the present day they immerse the subject, generally an infant, once in the font, and then pour water from the hand upon its head three times, adding also the anointing and other ceremonies. I have not been able to find a copy of Harmenopoulos' history in any of our libraries.
See further, on this point, the testimony of Alanus de Insulis, about A. D. 1200, quoted in Note 3, C. viii.
2(C. II.). Jirecek, Geschichte der Bulgaren, pp. 180, 181 Presbyter Cosmas (a Greek priest of the tenth century), in his Slovo na Eretiki, cited by Hilferding; Serben und Bulgaren (German translation, vol. i. p. 120).
3(C. II.). Hilferding, in his work named above, quotes from the presbyter Cosmas a description of two sects of Paulicians, of which the first held to doctrines more distinctly dualistic than the second. The latter, whose doctrines we have summarized in this section, was, he acknowledges, much the most numerous. Hilferding identifies the first with a Bulgarian sect known as "The Church of Dregovisce," which eventually became extinct, and the second with "The Church of Bulgaria," which were the spiritual ancestors of the Albigenses. He says further that the Italian inquisitor and renegade Reinero Sacconi, of the thirteenth century, mentions both in his list of the thirteen Churches or nations of the Cathari. Hilferding, Serben und Bulgaren (German translation, vol. i. pp. 122-128 and ff.).
4(C. III.). For this act of Constantine V. see Gibbon's Rome (Bohn's ed., Vol. vi. p. 245).
5(C. IV.). See Gibbon's Rome (Bohn's ed., vol. vi. p. 242). Gibbon quotes in this and the following note from Petrus Siculus (pp. 579-764) and Cedrenus (pp. 541-545).
6(C. IV.). Gibbon's Rome (Bohn's ed., vol. vi. p. 243); Arthur J. Evans, Historical View of Bosnia (p. 30); Petrus Siculus, Historia Manichaeorum. Petrus Siculus was for nine months in A. D. 870 a legate from the Byzantine emperor at Tephrice, negotiating for exchange of prisoners, and wrote his History there, which was addressed to the new arch bishop of the Bulgarians. See the account of Petrus Siculus and this history in the Maxima Bibliotheca Patrum (vol. xvi.). Petrus Siculus, Historia Manichaeorum (pp. 754-764, edition of the Jesuit Raderus, Ingoldstadt, 1604, in 4to).
7(C. IV.). Tephrice (Gr. Tefrich), now Divrigni, is in Asia Minor, about one hundred and forty miles southwest of Trebizond and one hundred and. seventy south by west of Erzeroum. It is situated on a plain 3116 feet above the sea. Its present inhabitants are wild and ferocious Koords.
8(C. V.). This derivation of the word Bogomil, or Bogomile was first given by Epiphanius, a Byzantine writer, quoted in Sam. Andreae's Disquisitio de Bogomilis.
9(C. V.). Recent Sclavonic writers, quoted by A. J. Evans in Historical Review of Bosnia (p. 31, note).
10(VII.). The authorities for this picture of the Bogomil worship and manners are mostly drawn from Hilferding's German translation of his Serben und Bulgaren (vol. i. pp. 118 and ff.). He cites, in regard to these subjects, The Sunodic of the Czar Boris, written in the year 1210; the Armenian Chronicle of Acogh'ig; the Slovo na Eretiki of the presbyter Cosmas, about 990; the Panoplia of Euthymius Zygabenus the scribe or secretary of the emperor Alexius Comnenus, about 1097 (Gieseler's edition, Gottingen, 1852), and Harmenopoulos, the Greek monk already referred to, of the tenth century.
11 Racki, cited by Jirecek, Geschichte der Bulgaren (pp. , 177 and ff.); other SouthSclavonic and Byzantine writers, also cited by Jirecek; the Panoplia of Euthymius Zyaabenus, translated by Gieseler (Gottingen, 1852), Neander, Church History (Marsh's ed. vol. iv. pp 552 and ff.); Gieseler, De Bogomilis Commentatio, etc., etc, Sir Henry Spelman (Conciliae vol. ii. p. 59) and Nubrigiensis (book ii. c. 13), both cited by Jeremy Collier in his Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain (Lathbury's ed., London, 1852, vol. ii. pp. 247, 248), both say of the Publicans, whose origin they trace through the Waldenses and Albigenses to Croatia and Dalmatia, that they refused to be called by any other name than Christians, and that their views were the same with those attributed to the Bogomils.
12(C. VIII.). These two classes, the Perfecti and Credentes, are in mentioned by all writers on the Bogomils and the sects with which they were affiliated; and it was one of' the many evidences of their substantial identify with the Albigenses Patarenes, Vaudois, Catharists, Ketzers, Publicans, Waldenses etc., etc., that the same classes, under equivalent names, existed in all these sects of' alleged heretics. Both Jirecek and Hilferding give minute accounts of' this division of' the Bogomils and of the initiatory rites of' the Perfecti, quoting largely from the Sclavonic and Byzantine writers already referred to, and their statements are corroborated by Regnier or Reinero, Petrus Monachus, a Cistercian monk who wrote a history of the. crusade against the Albigenses, by Alanus de Insulis, whose treatise against the heretics, written about A. D. 1200, was published by Masson at Lyons, in 1612, and by Beausobre, Histore du Manichaeisme (vol. ii. pp. 762-877). In Provence the Perfecti were called Bons Hommes, and in Bosnia and Bulgaria, in the Sclavonic. Krstjani dobri Bosniani, or sometimes in both countries tries Sursiteli, or the elect.
Regnier, or Reinero, about A. D. 1250, is the best possible authority in regard to the number of the Perfecti, for he had been one of the Credentes, or believers, among the Patarenes, as the Bogomils of Italy were, called, and there is also a tradition that he was a Dalmatian by birth.
13(C.viii., foot-note).To the authorities here named for the proposition that the Credentes, or believers, were baptized must be added Alanus de Insulis, a French writer of about A. D. 1200, whose treatise against heretics was published by Masson of Lyons in 1612 he is cited by Hallam, Middle Ages (vol. iii. pp. 359, 360, note. Am. edition, 1864). Alanus, speaking of the Albigenses, who are fully identified with the Bogomils, says, "They rejected infant baptism, but were divided as to the reason, some saying that infants could not sin and did not need baptism; others that they could not be saved without faith, and consequently that it was useless. They held sin after baptism to be irremissible. It does not appear that they rejected either of the sacraments. They laid great stress upon the imposition of hands which seems to have been their distinctive rite." Jeremy Collier, in his Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain (vol. ii. pp. 338, 339, ed. of 1852), speaking of the Albigenses of Toulouse, A. D. 1178, gives first the account of their doctrines found in a letter of the Earl of Toulouse to the Cistercian chapter, as recorded by Gervase of Canterbury. This letter is full of passion and violence. He declares that "the sacraments of baptism and the holy eucharist were renounced and detested by them; . . . in short, all the sacraments of the church are vilified and disused." "Roger de Hoveden," a somewhat more dispassionate writer, gives, Collier says, a somewhat different account. His statement is " that they refused to own infant baptism, declared against swearing upon any account, expressed themselves with a great deal of satire and invective against the hierarchy, and refused to be concluded by any other authority excepting that of the New Testament."
Nothing is said by Hoveden of their rejection of the sacraments of baptism and the eucharist, which would certainly have been mentioned by so careful a writer as Hoveden if it had existed. Indeed, his strongest objection to them was their wilful persistence in refusing to take all oath.
The noticeable point in all this testimony is that infants should not be baptized because they had not faith; that a personal profession of faith was a necessary prerequisite for baptism; that the spiritual baptism symbolized by the consolamentum was in their view the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which was only conferred on those who were already believers, but who wished to become perfect.
The fact that all the Oriental churches practised immersion only, and that this is still their only mode of baptism, is so well established by the testimony of all ecclesiastical writers that it seems hardly to need any additional verification; yet perhaps the following references may not be out of place: Neander, Apostelgeschichte (History of Apostolic Church), (i. p. 276); Knapp, Vorlesungen uber die Christliche Glaubenslehre (ii. p. 453); Hofling, I.c. (i. pp. 46 and ff.); Schaff, History of Apostolic Church (pp. 568-570); Conybeare and Howson, Life of St. Paul (i. p. 471); G. A. Jacob, D. D., Ecclesiastical Polity of New Testament (Am. ed. pp. 258-279); F. A. Farrar, Life of Christ (vol. i. pp. 114 and ff.); A. Geikie, Life and Words of Christ (vol. i. p. 577, note); Dean Stanley, Eastern, Church (Eng. ed., p. 34); Philip Smith, Student's Ecclesiastical History (p. 172).
14(C. IX.). This testimony is scattered through all the centuries from the sixth to the fifteenth, and applies alike to the, Patarenes, Catharists, Paulicians, Bogomils, Albigenses, and Waldenses. Even Petrus Siculus acknowledges their holy and pure life, and admits that, in 660, Simeon, a Greek priest sent to put their leader to death, was converted by their heroic and unselfish devotion to their faith, and became, like the apostle Paul, a missionary and martyr to their doctrines. The same writer acknowledges that they were not believers in the doctrines of Manes, and hence were wrongly called Manichaeans: and after recapitulating six heresies which they held—of which only a modified dualism, and a belief that Christ brought his body from heaven would now be reckoned heresies—he confesses that they were endowed with sincere and zealous piety and were studious of the Scriptures. Gibbon (certainly an impartial witness) says of the Paulicians, after a very thorough and protracted study of the early writers on the subject, "A confession of' simple worship and blameless manners is extorted from their enemies; and so high was their standard of perfection that the increasing congregations were divided into two classes of disciples—of those who practised and of those who aspired." (Gibbon's Rome, Bohn's ed., vol. vi. p. 249.) The presbyter Cosmas and the secretary of the emperor Alexius Comnenus, in the works already quoted, and in the words cited elsewhere in this work, are compelled, though with evident disgust, to testify to the purity, not only of their lives, but of their conversation.
La Nobla Leyczon, a Provencal poem of Waldensian origin, and of a date not later than A. D. 1200, contains the following stanza, which illustrates the purity of the lives of the Waldenses as well as the malignant hostility of their enemies.
Que sel Re troba alcun bon que vollia amar Dio e temer Jeshu Xrist,
Que non vollia mandire, ni jura, ni mentir,
Ni avoutrar, ni aucire, ni penre de l’autruy,
Ni venjar se de li sio ennemie
Illi dison quel es Vaudes e degne do murir."
A free translation of these lines would be:
"Whoso finds any good man who wishes to love God and bear witness for Jesus Christ, who will not curse nor swear nor lie, who will not be an adulterer nor steal nor do wrong to another, nor avenge himself upon his enemy, people will tell him that that man is one of' the Vaudois, and ought to be put to death."—Hallam's Middle Ages (vol. iii. p. 363, note); Am. ed, do.; Literature of Europe (vol. i. p. 50, note, Am. ed.).
15(C. XI.). The Alexiadus of the Princess Anna Comnena is a diffuse, voluminous, and gossipy work after the fashion of the writers of those days. It abounds in the most fulsome praises of her father, herself, and all connected with the imperial household. As her father's reign continued for thirty-seven years, she expands her wearisome details over many books, that relating to the entrapping and martyrdom of Basil being the fifteenth. The Alexiad was translated into French and largely annotated by the learned Ducange, and his edition is the only one now generally accessible. This account of Basil is from liber xv. 486-494 of' Ducange's edition of' the Alexiad. Gibbon, Decline and Fall (vol. vi. p. 247, and note, Bohn's ed.), affirms that Basil was the only victim burned at the stake at this time, and there is some reason to think that the statement is correct; but Alexius within a short time thereafter persecuted the Bogomils to the death, and the Princess Anna boasts that he entirely exterminated them.
16 (C. XI.). This colony of Armenian Paulicians is said by Zonaras, (vol. ii. liber 17, p. 209), cited by Gibbon, to have been more numerous and powerful than any that had gone before from the Chalybian hills to the valleys (of' Mount Haemus. The date of their migration is said to have been A. D. 970. Anna Commena also mentions this colony in the Alexiad (liber xiv. p. 450 et ff.).
These Armenian Paulicians were probably dualists, and possibly held to the phantastic theory of the advent of Christ—viz., that he was clothed with an impassive celestial body and that his death and resurrection were only apparent, and not real. We say "possibly," because, though there were undoubtedly sects more or less intimately connected with the Gnostics and Manichaeans in Armenia and Asia Minor who held these views, yet the evidence that the Paulicians did entertain them is solely furnished by their bitter enemies, who we know for the next five or six centuries did not hesitate to propagate the most unblushing falsehoods concerning them.
The statement that they were Manichaeans was industriously propagated for more than six centuries, and was fastened upon them in the fifteenth century by King Stephen Thomas of Bosnia, notwithstanding their earnest and indignant protests through all their history, and even the fair and impartial Hallam, whose investigations in regard to these sects were more thorough and exhaustive than those of' any other writer except Mr. Evans, is so far deceived by this constant reiteration that he admits its probability in regard to all of' them except the Waldenses, and perhaps a part of the Catharists. With the proofs, now at our command however, of the identity of the Catharists and the Waldenses with the Bogomils, this admission proves fatal to the Manichaean doctrines of the whole. It is probable, nevertheless, that these Armenian Paulicians formed "The Church of Dregovisce," which Hilferding says, in chapter i. part i. of his Serben und Bulgaren, was much more dualistic and field to many errors which were not held by the Christian church of Bulgaria. The Albigenses of' the earlier dates were the spiritual children of this church of Dregovisce.
Both Jirecek and Evans notice also one source of the dualistic doctrines of these early Bulgarian believers. The Armenian Paulicians were planted in Epirus and Thrace, while the Bulgarians—Bulgares—a mixed race, half Tartar and half Aryan, were yet pagans, and the Paulicians found them already imbued with dualistic ideas: they divided their worship between the Black God, the spirit of evil, and the White God, or spirit of good. Jirecek's words are: "Es war fur Bogomil keine schwere aufgabe, das unlangst erst dem Heidenthume entruckte volk fur eine Glaubenslehre zu gewinnen, welche, gleich dem alten slawischen Mythus von den Bosi und Besi, lehrtdass es zweierlei hohere Wesen gebe, namlich einen guten und einen losen Gott." (Geschichte der Bulgaren, p.175. See also Evans' Historical Review of Bosnia, pp. 41, 42.) Every one who is familiar with the operations of' foreign missions among the heathen must have noticed how ready the native converts are to accommodate anything in their new views to their old beliefs and prejudices. A most notable instance of this is the well-known known fact that, in all Buddhist countries, Roman Catholic missionaries have met with great success, from the similarity of their doctrines of merit, of the priesthood, of monastic orders, and of instruction, to those already held by the Buddhists.
But that a closer study of the Scriptures, when they were translated into the Sclavonic, Italian, Provencal, German, and English tongues, had led them to abandon the dualistic doctrines or hold them in a mitigated and not unscriptural form is evident even from the testimony of' their adversaries. Thus Petrus (or Robertus) Monachus, a Cistercian monk, who wrote an account of* the crusades against the Albigenses in the thirteenth century (Cited ill Hallam's Middle Ages, Am. ed., vol. iii. pp. 359, 360), says that "many of them" (observe, not all) "assert two principles or creative beings—a good one for things invisible, an evil one, for things visible; the things the former author of the New Testament, the latter of the Old; and they wholly repudiate, except as possessing a certain authority all those passages of the Old Testament which are quoted in the New, and even these they only deem worthy to be received on account of' their reverence for the New Testament." This assertion that they rejected the entire Old Testament. because they believed it the work of the evil spirit is reiterated by all the Greek and the Roman Catholic writers from Petrus Siculus in the ninth century, Monachus and Alanus in the thirteenth, down to Matthew Paris, Roger do Hoveden, Ralph of Coggeshale, and. Gervase of Canterbury; yet we have the most conclusive evidence that it was not true. Euthymius Zygabenus, the secretary of' the emperor Alexius Comnenus when Basil was examined by the emperor, and a most bitter enemy of the Bogomils, states in his Panoplia (as cited by Evans, Historical Review, ete., 1). 36) that the Bogomils accepted seven holy books, which he enumerates as follows: 1. The Psalms; 2. The Sixteen Prophets, 3, 4, 5, and 6; The Gospels ; 7. The Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and the Apocalypse. Some writers have charged them with rejecting the Epistles of Peter and the Apocalypse, but there is no evidence of this. The Bogomil New Testament was word for word that of the early Sclavic apostle Methodius. Of this Jirecek furnishes on 1). 177 the most conclusive proofs. If, then, this statement of their enemies like so many others, is proved to be false, what assurance is there that their alleged dualistic doctrines were anything more than an old falsehood revamped for the occasion ?
17(C. XII.). This summary of the worship and mode of life of the. Bogomils is substantiated in every point, though with evident reluctance, by the presbyter Cosmas in his Slovo na Eretiki, Euthymius Zygabenus in his Panoplia, Anna Comnena in lib xv. of the Alexiad, and Sclavonic authorities collected by Jirecek and Hilferding.
18 (C. XIII.). Jirecek, Geschichte der Bulgaren, p. 180.
19(C. XIII.). The Bosnian chief djed, or elder, seems to have been at this time (about A. D. 1220) the presiding officer of' the affiliated sects or denominations, somewhat like the former presidents of' our triennial conventions. He was primus inter pares, but possessed no judicial or ecclesiastical authority (See Jirecek, Geshichte der Bulgaren, p. 180).
20(C. XIV.). This is Hilferding's statement.
21(C. XIV.). Schimek, Politike Geschichte Konigreiche Bosnian und Roma p. 36), cited by Evans, Hist. Rev. of Bosnia p. 43).
22(C. XV.). Schimek, Pol. Gesefichte des Konigreiche Bosnien, etc. p. 46).
23(C. XV., foot-note)/ Schimek, as above; Mackenzie and Irwin’s Serbia.
24(C. XV.). Farlati, "Episcopi Bosnenses" (in his Illyricum Sacrum, vol. iv. p. 45), cited by Evans, Hist. Rev. of Bosnia p. 44).
25(C. XV.). Evans, Hist. Rev. of Bosnia (1). 44).
26(C. XV1.). Regnier or Reinero, about A. D. 1250, is a well-known authority. Maitland, Facts and Documents on the History of the Albiqenses and Waldenses (London, 1832) criticizes his statements. He is quoted by Mosheim, Beausobre, Gibbon, and Jirecek, but I have not been able to find in our libraries a copy of his work, and so cannot verify in person the above statement, though all the authorities I have cited agree in regard to it.
27(C. XVI.). The substantial identity of these sects, which under so many different names were spread over all Western Europe, and their origin from the Protestants of Bulgaria and Bosnia, was strongly suspected by others than Regnier even in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Perhaps the earliest of the writers who gives positive testimony on this point is William Little of Newbury (A. D. 1136-1220), more generally known as Neubrigiensis or Nubrigiensis from his residence. He was the author of a history of England from the Norman conquest to A. D. 1197, in five books, and he was an eye-witness of much that be describes. His history is found in full in Hearne's collection of early English histories.
In book ii. chap. 13 of his history be speaks of the coming of foreign heretics called Publicans into England in 1160. He says: "The heresy first appeared in Gascoigne, though from what person is uncertain. From thence the erroneous doctrine spread through a great many provinces of France, Spain, Italy, and Germany; they gained ground by the remissness of the church discipline. They were," he says "a company of ignorant rustics, and, though their understandings were very gross and unimproved, yet their obstinacy and self-opinion was such that the convincing them by argument and retrieving them from their mistake was well-nigh an impossibility." Their leader was one Gerhard, who, he admits, had some little learning, but the rest, about thirty in number, were altogether unlettered. Their language was High Dutch. Their doctrines, as Gerhard stated them, were identical with those of the Waldenses and Ketzers. They were orthodox enough, Neubrigiensis says, concerning the Trinity and the incarnation (no dualism there), but then, as to many other material points, they were dangerously mistaken; for they rejected infant baptism and the holy eucharist—i. e., the doctrine of the real presence—declared against marriage (qu., as one of the sacraments?) and catholic communion. They were more familiar with the Scriptures than the bishops of the Council which examined and persecuted them; and, finding themselves worsted in argument the bishops lost their temper, admonished them to repent and return to the communion of the church, and on their declining to do so turned them over to the secular arm, with the result stated in the text. A later historian, Sir Henry Spelman (1561-1641), in relating this incident, declares his belief that they were Waldenses, although this was the very year that Peter Waldo is said to have formed his congregation at Lyons. Sir Henry Hallam—whose careful researches in regard to the whole subject we have already noticed, and who, while admitting the Bulgarian or Bosnian origin of all the other sects, the Albigenses, Catharists, Ketzers, Publicans, etc., pleads earnestly for a different paternity for the Waldenses, mainly on the ground that be does not think they were Manichaeans, as be believes the others to have been—has yet, with his accustomed fairness, brought forward some very important proofs that they existed as a sect long before Waldo's time, and that some of their original leaders came from Hungary or countries adjacent to Hungary.
The Waldensian poem La Nobla Leyczon, already referred to in Note 1 (Ch. IX.), is unquestionably genuine. and the highest authorities agree could not have been written later than the close or the twelfth century, some thirty or thirty-five years after Peter Waldo commenced his labors at Lyons. This time is altogether too short for the development of the condition of persecution which then existed if the Waldenses had originated from Waldo's labors. But a still stronger argument for their existence before the time of Waldo and for their Eastern origin is furnished by Sir Henry Hallam (Middle Ages, vol. iii. p. 361, note; American edition). "I have found, however, a passage in a late work which remarkably illustrates the antiquity of Alpine Protestantism, if we may depend on the date it assigns to the quotation." Mr. Planta's History of Switzerland (p. 93, 4to ed.) contains the following note: "A curious passage singularly descriptive of the character of the Swiss has lately been discovered in a manuscript chronicle of the abbey of Corvey, which appears to have been written about the beginning of the twelfth century. ‘Religionem nostram et omnium Latinae ecclesiae Christianorum fidem, fidem, laici ex Suavia, Sucia. et Bavaria humiliare voluerunt: homines seducti ab antiqua progenie simplicium hominum, qui Alpes et viciniam habitant, et semper amant antiqua. In Suaviam, Bavariam, et Italiam borealem saepe intrant illorum (ex Sucia) mercatores, qui biblia edisunt memoriter, et ritus ecclesiae aversantur, quos credunt esse novos. Nolunt imagines venerari, reliquias sanctorum aversantur, olera comedunt, raro masticantes carnem, alii nunquam. Appelamus eos idcirco Manichaeos. Horum quidam ab Hungaria ad eos convenerunt,' etc."
It is a pity that Mr. Planta should have broken off the quotation, as its continuation might have given us further information concerning these Bosnian Perfecti, for such they evidently were, not worshipping images or pictures, turning away from the relics of the saints and from the so called sacraments of the Romish Church, thoroughly familiar with the Scriptures, subsisting on vegetables, rarely or never eating meat, and while passing as merchants or hawkers of goods, really exercising their vocation as missionaries, and preachers of the word. They too were called Manichaeans, that old term of reproach which for so many centuries had been forced upon them by their enemies. Their disciples, Hallam admits, were the Waldenses of the Alpine valleys. If the teachers were regarded as Manichaeans, their disciples could hardly be called by any other name; and, though Robert Monachus, Alanus de Insulis, and, William du Puy, monkish historians of the early part, of the thirteenth century, as quoted by Sir Henry Hallam, speak of' the Waldenses as heretics, but less perverse than those they bad previously described, their testimony in regard to their actual doctrines is hardly to be considered of any great value.
The fact in the case seems to have been that Peter Waldo, if not himself one of the Bosnian Perfecti and "mercatores" (he is said to have been a merchant or trader), was a convert to the Bogomil doctrines, and, entering the ranks of the Perfecti—or, as they were called in France at a later date, "Bons Hommes"—became a magister or senior (terms answering to the strojnik, apostle, or djed, elder, of the Bosnians) to the church already existing in Lyons, and by his missionary zeal aided powerfully in propagating the Protestant doctrines in France and Germany. Hallam says that a translation of the Bible was made by Waldo's direction, and this was probably the first made into the Provencal tongue, those previously used having probably been either the Vulgate and Latin of Jerome or the Sclavonic version of Methodius.
Hallam also says that the missionary labors of the Waldenses were directed toward Bohemia. This seems to be only so far true as that there was a very free intercommunication among all the branches of these Protestant churches by means of the "mercatores," who in all their histories have so important a place. Regnier mentions the Church of Bobemia as one of the thirteen provinces of the Catharist affiliated churches.
Jirecek (Geschichte der Bulgaren, p. 214) refers to a diploma of Innocent IV. in A. D. 1244 which demonstrates that there was a frequent intercourse between the Waldenses and their co-religionists in Bosnia. He also cites Palacky and Brandl to show the intimacy of the Bosnian and Moravian churches.
Jirecek speaks of the constant tendency of' the Bogmils toward a purer orthodoxy, and states that one of the Italian Bogomil elders—Giovanni di Lugio—taught of the real humanity of Christ and accepted the entire Old Testament
28(Ch. XVII.). Matthew Paris, Historia Majora ad Annum 1223 (Rolls Series, vol. iii. p. 78 et ff.); Radulph de Coggeshale (Chronicon Anglicanum, Rolls Series, p. 121 et ff.; p. 195 et ff.); Roger of Hoveden's Chronicle, Prof. Stubbs' ed. (Rolls series, vol. ii., p. 153 et ff.). To these may be added William Little of Newbury (Neubrigiensis), History of England from the Norman Conquest to the Year 1197 (liber ii. chaps. 13, 15), Gervase of Canterbury, Chronicon (about 1210), and at a later date Sir Henry Spelman, a very careful writer, born in 1561. Of these historians, all, or nearly all, were monks and, while they were very much alike in their prejudices against all heretics, some of them took more pains than others to verify their statements. Of these William Little of Newbury (Neubrigiensis) seems to have been the most careful, except, perhaps, Sir Henry Spelman and Matthew Paris the least so.
29(Ch. XVII., foot-note). I have not thought it necessary to quote at length, beyond what I have done in the text, the statements of these writers in regard to the affiliation of the other sects, except the Waldenses, with the Bogomils of Bosnia; the point is conceded by all the ecclesiastical and historical writers. Collier (Ecclesiastical History of Great Britain, vol. ii. Lathbury's ed., 1852, pp. 250, 338, 339) speaks of the Albigenses in Toulouse in 1161 and 1178, and gives an account of' their doctrines from the early historians which shows them to be identical with those of the Publicani (11 pages 341 and 414 he gives an account of their spreading their doctrines throughout Flanders and England and of their persecution; and on page 431 he gives a full account of their spreading throughout (from Matthew Paris) Western Europe and their Bulgarian pope or chief elder.
The first great crusade against the Albigenses, Catharists, and other affiliated churches of Western Europe was that prompted by Pope Innocent III. against the heretics of Toulouse, the domain of Count Raymond VI. of Toulouse, and directed by the Roman Catholic legates Arnold, Abbot of Citeaux, and Milo, the infamous Count Simon de Montfort being in command of the papal troops. It lasted from A. D. 1209 to 1229, and hundreds of thousands of innocent Christian men, women, and children were massacred in cold blood by these inhuman butchers. De Montfort himself was killed in 1218, but his son was as base as the sire. These persecuted Christians fled in great numbers to Bosnia, where the "good Ban Culin" protected them against the fury of the pope, and in the society of their co-religionists they enjoyed peace and quiet.
30(Ch. XVIII.). The authorities for these particulars of the crusades against the Bogomils of Bosnia are Rainaldi, an Italian cardinal of the sixteenth century, whose Ecclesiastical Annals (in ten vols. fol.) are a Continuation of those of Cardinal Baronius, and cover the period between 1197 and 1566, and Farlati, a writer of the eighteenth century, author of Episcopi Bosnenses in his Illyricum Sacrum. Both, were very bigoted and bitter Roman Catholics, and their hatred of the "heretics," as they called them, is manifest in almost every line.
Hilferding contributes some items to this history, and his spirit is much more generous and just.
31(Ch. xx.). This letter of Pope John XXII. may be found in Waddingus, Annales Minorum (Vol. vii. ed. seeae), under the year 1325. Waddingus—was a native of Ireland, but passed most of his life in Rome, where he attained eminence as a scholar 11 and author. He was successively procurator and vice-commissary of the order of' St. Francis, usually called the Minorite brethren, and wrote their history (in eight vols. folio) under the title of Annales Minorum (Lyons and Rome, 1647-1654), as well as several other works concerning the order. The Franciscans hall had a house of their order in Bosnia since about 1260, and their management there naturally came under Wadding's review.
32(Ch XXI.). This letter of Urban V. may he found in Rainaldi's Ecclesiastical Annals, under the year 1369, and the correspondence of' the. Franciscans with Urban V. and Gregory XI., as well as the substance of the letters of both pontiffs, in Wadding’s Annales Minorum, under the years 1369-1372.
33(Ch. XXI.). For the historical facts in relation to the reigns of Stephen Kotromanovic, the three Tvartkos, Stephen Thomas, and the parricide Stephen Thomasevic, the authorities on whom most reliance is to be placed are Jirecek, Schimek (Politike Geschichte des Konigriechs Bonien und Roma), Spicilegium (De Bosnice Regno), The Book of Arms of the Bosnian Nobility (1340), examined and partly copied by Mr. Evans, and other works not accessible in this country or England, cited by Jirecek and Evans.
34(Ch. XXII). Wadding, in his Annales Minorum, under the year 1462, says: "In this year . . . the pope, Pius II., being much alarmed at the progres of heresy in Bosnia, and hearing that there was a great want there of men skilled in philosophy, the sacred canons, and theology, sent thither learned men from the neighboring provinces, and especially the brother Peter de Milo, a native of Bosnia, and four fellows. These five had studied in the best Cismontane and Transmontane universities, under the most learned doctors. The pope, moreover, gave orders that some of the largest convents should be converted into schools for literary studies."
This was not the first nor the last testimony unwillingly extorted from the papal authorities to the fact that among the Bogomil leaders and their co-religionists there were men of great learning and intellectual ability, although it was their constant habit to stigmatize these Protestant sects as ignorant rustics, too stupid and besotted to be able to understand the Scriptures or the arguments of the monks or bishops. The pope Honorius III., two hundred years before, had felt compelled to send the learned and eloquent subdeacon Aconcius to convince and convert these Bogomils, and even he had failed of success.
Hallam Middle Ages, vol. iii. p. 364) cites another instance of great interest. Pope Innocent III. (1198-1216) was much disturbed by the fact that the Scriptures had been translated into Provencal French and were largely circulated among the common people of the diocese of Metz and elsewhere. In a letter addressed to the clergy of that diocese, found in the Works of that pontiff (p. 468), he tells them that no small multitude of laymen and women, having procured a translation of the Gospels, Epistles of St. Paul, the Psalter (the Psalms), Job and other books of Scripture to be made for them into French, meet in secret conventicles to hear them read and preach to each other, avoiding the company of those who do not join in their devotion; and, having been reprimanded for this by some of their parish priests, have withstood them, alleging reasons from the Scriptures why they should not be so forbidden. After condemning them for these conventicles, the pope urges the bishop and chapter of Metz to discover the author of this translation, which, he says, could not have been made without a knowledge of letters, and to ascertain what were his intentions, and what degree of orthodoxy and respect for the Holy See those who used it possessed. This letter failed of its desired effect; for in another letter (p. 537 of his Works) he complains that some members of this little association continued refractory and refused to obey either the bishop or the pope. That Metz was at this time full of Vaudois, or Waldenses, we know from other authorities, and it is very probable that this was the translation of the Scriptures directed by Peter Waldo, a few years before.
35(Ch. XXIV.). Mr. Evans well says (pp. 56-58 of his able Historical Review of Bosnia): "Perhaps enough has been said to show the really important part played by Bosnia in European history. We have seen her aid in interpreting to the West the sublime puritanism which the more eastern Sclaves of Bulgaria had first received from the Armenian missionaries; we have seen her take the lead in the first religious revolt against Rome; we have seen a Bosnian religious teacher directing the movement in Provence; we have seen the Protestants of Bosnia successfully resisting all the efforts of Rome, supported by the arms of Hungary, to put them down; we have seen them offering an asylum to their persecuted brothers of the West—Albigenses, Patarenes, and Waldenses; we have seen them connected with the Reformation in Bohemia and affording shelter to the followers of Huss. From the twelfth century to the final conquest of the Turks in the sixteenth, when the fight of religious freedom had been won in North-western Europe, Bosnia presents the unique phenomenon of a Protestant state existing within the limits of the Holy Roman Empire, and in a province claimed by the Roman Church.
"Bosnia was the religious Switzerland of mediaeval Europe, and the signal service which she has rendered to the freedom of the human intellect by her successful stand against authority can hardly be exaggerated. Resistance, broken down in the gardens of Provence, buried beneath the charred rafters of the Roman cities of the Langue d’Oe, smothered in the dungeons of the Inquisitions, was prolonged from generation to generation amongst the primeval forests and mountain-fastnesses of Bosnia.
"There were not wanting, amongst those who sought to exterminate the Bogomils, churchmen as dead to human pity as the Abbot of Citeaux, and lay arms as bloodthirsty as De Montfort; but the stubborn genius of the Serbian people fought on with rare persistence and held out to the end. The history of these champions of a purer religion has been written by their enemies and ignored by those who owe most to their heroism. No martyrology of the Bogomils of Bosnia has come down to us. We have no Huss or Tyndale to arrest our pity. ‘Invidious silence’ has obscured their fame.
Urgentur, ignotique longa
Nocte, carent quia vate sacro.’
"Protestant historians, fearful of claiming relationship
with heretics whose views on the origin of evil were more logical than their own, have almost or entirely ignored the existence of the Sclavonic Puritans." This sharp rebuke is especially deserved by Dean Milman in his Latin Christianity, and by Archbishop Trench in his recent Lectures on Ecclesiastical History. Others are not wholly guiltless. "Yet of all worn-out devices of ad captandum argument, this assuredly is the most threadbare—to ignore the transitions of intervening links, and pointing to the extremes of a long concatenation of cause and effects, to seize upon their differences as a proof of disconnection. In the course of ages the development of creeds and churches is not less striking than that of more secular institutions. Bogomilism obeyed an universal law; it paid the universal tribute of successful propagandism: it compromised, or, where it did not compromise, it was ruthlessly stamped out. The Manichaen elements, most distasteful to modern Protestants, were in fact the first to disappear." ("Yes, if indeed they ever really existed among the Bogomils."—AUTHOR of The Bogomils of Bulgaria and Bosnia.) "In its contact with the semi-pagan Christianity of the West the puritanism of the Gnostic East became, perforce, materialized; just as, ages before, Christianity itself, an earlier wave of the same Eastern puritanism, had materialized in its contact with the undiluted heathendom of the Western empire. To a certain extent, Bogomilism gained. It lost something of its anti-human vigor, and, by conforming to the exigences of Western society, became to a certain extent more practical. Thus by the sixteenth century the path had been cleared for a compromise with orthodoxy itself. The Reformation marks the confluence of the two main currents of religious thought that traverse the Middle Ages in their several sources, Romish and Armenian. No doubt, from the orthodox side—which refused to reject all that was beautiful in the older world, which consecrated Graeco-Roman civilization and linked art with religion—the West has gained much; but in days of gross materialism and degrading sacerdotalism it has gained perhaps even more from the purging and elevation influence of these early Puritans. The most devout Protestant need not be afraid to acknowledge the religious obligations which he owes to his spiritual forefathers, Manichaean though they were; while those who perceive in Protestantism itself nothing more than a stepping-stone to still greater freedom of the human mind, and who recognize the universal bearing of the doctrine of Evolution, will be slow to deny that England herself and the most enlightened countries of the modern world may owe a debt, which it is hard to estimate, to the Bogomils of Bulgaria and Bosnia."
It is to be remembered that these are the thoughtful and well-considered words of a traveller and scholar who has no affiliation with Puritan or Baptist, who while professedly a member of the Anglican Church, has strong leanings toward evolution, but who, from his English love of fair play, and the conviction derived from extended and careful research, and the pure and stainless lives of these Protestants of the East, has been compelled to take up arms in their defence.
We have shown elsewhere and from other sources that the movement of the Bogomils and their co-religionists of Western Europe was independent of, and had very little connection with, the Reformation. Never having belonged to Rome, they had no occasion to reform her doctrines or churches, and in fact had as little to do with the Reformation as the Protestant and independent churches of to-day have with the Old Catholic movement. They may have wished the Reformation well, as we do this Old Catholic movement; but as we have not, and cannot have, any affiliation with it, while it holds so many Romish errors, so they precluded from any direct affiliation with the Reformed churches, for the same reason.