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Mystery Of The Bogomils

Who were the Bogomils ?

KEYWORDS: Bogomils, Bogumili, Chatares, Katari, Patarens,Bosnian Church, Crkva bosanska, Good Christians, Krstjani, medieval Croatia & Bosnia, Gnosis, Gnoza, Gnosticism.




                            The Bogomils opposed the egsistence of a church as a fixed organisation; they were also against the church possessing properthy and compulsory tithes. The original Bogomil teaching preached disobeance to rulers and masters. Judging by treatise "Besedi na jeres"  (On  Heresy),  written against the Bulgarian Bogomils by Presbyter Cosma (about 972), this gnostic movement opposed all forms of rule, violence and slavery, but it would be difficult to establish
                            with what specific ideological platform it reaches the dalmatian
                            cities. Here the socio-political edge of Bogomil teaching was
                            probably dulled to a considerable extent. Research into the
                            beginnings of the Bogomil penetration into Dalmatia leads us to

                   Zadar. Thomas the Archdeacon says that the citizens of Zadar
                            scorned the teaching of the Chatolic religion and they let
                            themselves be besmirched by the heretical plague.

                            Historical record preserve the names of two dalmatian heretics,
                            the brothers Arisodes and Matthew, who propagated the Bogomil
                            teaching - first of all in Zadar. They were then probably probably
                            banished from the citiy and settled in Split, where they became
                            the leaders of the heretical movement. Aristodes and Matthew
                            maintained good ties with Bosnia, where bogomilism had become
                            the official religion during the rule of Ban Kulin. many citizens of
                            Split joined the heretics but the Church soon reacted harhsly. The
                            Bogomils were banished from the citty. The same fate befell them
                            in Trogir.

                            A letter writen in October 11, 1200, by Pope Innocent III to king
                            Emeric, discloses that the banished Dalmatian heretics found
                            refuge in Bosnia where they were recived warmly by Ban Kulin. "
                            We have found out ", wrote the Pope, " that the nobleman, Ban
                            Kulin of Bosnia, has given shelter and, even more, obvious
                            protection to a considerable number of Bogomils recently
                            banished from Split and Trogir by our brother, the Archibishop;
                            he has given his land and himself to their wickedness and paid
                            them the same respect as Chatolics, and even more than Chatolic,
                            calling them Christians ". A year earlier Vukan Nemanjic had
                            informed the Pope that Kulin had joined the new heresy with ten
                            thousand people. the eventual fate of Aristodes and Matthew,
                            who were also said to be " ..versed in Latin and Slavonic books ",
                            is not known. Aristodes may have been the same person cursed,
                            under the name of Rastudije, at the synod of St. Sava: " Curse
                            upon Rastudije of Bosnia... and all... Christian man and women
                            who do not venerate the sacred icons and the holy cross". If tis
                            was a really the case, then Aristodes of Zadar became the first
                            head (djed) of the bosnian Bogomils after having been banished
                            from Split.

                            A western record from 1223 mentions an anti-pope " on the
                            frontiers of the Bulgaria, Croatia and Dalmatia, near the
                            Hungarian nation ", who was the head of all Bogomils and even
                            sent his vicar to Toulouse. At the time, the dualist heresy was
                            quite widespread under various names (Patarines, Chatari, etc), in
                            Western europre as well. It had taken particulary firm roots in
                            Southern France (Toulouse) and in Lombard cities of Northen
                            Italy. In some parts of Italy the followers of the dualist heresy
                            were called Sclavini, which indicates their ties with Dalmatian and
                            Bosnian Bogomils.






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