The Slavs: Their Early History and Civilization

Francis Dvornik


7. Old Slavonic Culture and Literature and Their Byzantine Background


1. Byzantine cultural influences in Moravia

2. Cultural and political evolution of the Croats

3. Main features of early Bulgarian civilization

4. Social and religious organization of the Serbs

5. Literary activity of SS. Constantine-Cyril and Methodius

6. Achievements of Old Slavonic literature in Bohemia

7. Traces of Moravian culture in Poland and Pannonia

8. Slavonic liturgy and letters in Croatia

9. St. Clement, founder of the Slavonic school of Ochrida

10. The school of Preslav and some Slavo-Byzantine literary problems

11. Historical literature in Bulgaria

12. Literary activity of the Bogomils

13. (The symbiosis of the Vlachs with the Slavs)





It was only to be expected that the first attempts to rise to a higher cultural level which were made by the Slavic nations, newly converted to Christianity by Byzantine missionaries, should be under strong Byzantine influence. In the case of Moravia, however, Byzantine influence, especially in art and architecture, has been generally underestimated. It was thought that the main inspiration in these fields came from the Carolingian Empire; but in the light of new archaeological evidence this opinion should now be thoroughly revised. Excavations made recently in southern Moravia reveal that this part of the country formed the political and religious center of the Great Moravian Empire. Remnants of important settlements with fortifications were discovered on the banks of the river Dyje (Thaya), a tributary of the Morava, and in the region between the Dyje and the Danube. This region, now divided between Moravia and Lower Austria, was an important part of Great Moravia. Another prominent outpost was the fortified settlement at Děvín — Dovina of the German annals — at the confluence of the Morava





and the Danube, near modern Bratislava. The excavations made near Staré Město, on the middle Morava, yielded particularly rich archaeological material.


It seems that the basis of Moravian political power was formed by the union of four Slavic tribes, governed by tribal chiefs, under the leadership of one of them, the founder of the Mojmir dynasty. An analysis made recently by Czech archaeologists of the pottery found in different regions of Moravia and in Austria helps to locate the four tribes with precision. Each had its fortified places and its centers of political and religious life. This unification was effected under the threat of the growing expansion of the Franks towards the Danube and beyond it, which started at the end of the eighth century.


No information is available concerning the political organization of this Slavic State. It can, however, be supposed that the different Moravian tribes preserved, at first, their primitive organization. With time, the unification made further progress, and during the ninth century the differences between the tribes were rapidly disappearing. The newly conquered territories — Bohemia, the former White Croatia, White Serbia and Pannonia — seem to have continued to live under their tribal chiefs, owing allegiance to the Moravian ruler. There was not enough time left for the Mojmir dynasty to effect a more centralized government.


The constant danger of invasion from the west induced the Moravian Slavs to develop a solid system of defense. The existence of fortified places with earthworks and wooden walls, mostly in heavily wooded country or marshy tracts where, according to the old Slavic custom, the population used to take refuge in the event of invasion, is now proved by archaeological findings. It has not yet been possible to locate with any degree of exactitude the “formidable fortress” of the Moravian rulers. The Frankish annalists were impressed by its appearance, but failed to give us a more precise description of it. It could be identified with the large Slavic settlement at Staré Město, but the settlements on the river Dyje (Thaya) seem also to have been





of great importance. Only further archaeological discoveries will help to solve this problem.


Contrary to what has hitherto been asserted, the civilization of the Moravian Slavs was hardly influenced by the Avar and Teutonic cultures. They seem to have fallen, before the arrival of the Avars, under the influence of the decadent Roman culture. This is particularly evident in their products of pottery. Nor does it appear that the Moravian and Pannonian Slavs had been attracted by Avar jewelry nor by other products of Avar domestic industry adorned with reproductions of fantastic beasts and plants, so popular among the nomads. The origin of this art should be sought in the workshops on the north side of the Black Sea, which continued to maintain the artistic traditions developed by the Scythians and the Sarmatians. After the Avars had settled down in modern Hungary, Byzantine workshops started to produce this kind of merchandise for export to the nomads, and Avar artisans continued to manufacture objects in the spirit of the old tradition. [1]


Some objects of this sort have been found in Slavic tombs from the eighth and ninth centuries, evidently a proof that Byzantine export to the north did not cease after the destruction of the Avar empire. Soon, Byzantine industry accommodated itself to the better taste of its new customers, as is shown by the great number of pieces of jewelry, often of considerable value, found recently in tombs in Moravia from the ninth century. Bracelets, rings, silver and golden earrings, buttons and necklaces were discovered in quantity. They reveal new designs and finer ornamentation, including filigree work and enamel. Silver crosses of Byzantine making and a silver dove — a Christian symbol — were also found. Most of these imports came from Byzantium, although the workshops of the Black Sea may also have continued to export their wares. There are some indications that native artists started to imitate the imported articles.



1. The short study by J. Eisner, "Pour dater la civilisation avare” (Byzantinoslavica IX [1947-48], pp. 45-54) gives a succinct review of recent publications concerning the Avar culture.





Objects of western or Frankish origin found so far are few. This seems to indicate that commercial intercourse with the Franks was not lively. This is easily explained by the hostile relationship which existed between the Franks and the Moravians. More frequent may have been commercial exchanges between Moravia and Venice. A beautiful scabbard of a dagger found in a tomb at Staré Město seems to be of Lombard origin. The fact that some of Methodius’s disciples were sold into slavery and were found in the slave market in Venice testifies to a commercial intercourse with this city and shows at the same time what kind of merchandise was mainly exported from Great Moravia. The Legend of St. Naum which contains this information gives us to understand that Jewish merchants were engaged in these transactions. The unfortunate disciples were liberated by a high Byzantine official in Venice who bought them and sent them to Constantinople, where they were provided for by Basil I.


The mining of iron ore and a primitive iron smelting industry also flourished in Moravia. The old Slavic blacksmiths showed a certain originality. They excelled in the manufacture of a new type of axe — which seems to have been the standard weapon of Moravian warriors — and of agricultural implements. This was important because agriculture, together with cattle-raising, was the main occupation of the Moravians.


There have been other remarkable archaeological finds, and the discovery of the foundations of two churches within the settlement of Staré Město came as a great surprise to archaeologists. Until then the specialists had thought that the first churches in Moravia and Pannonia were built of wood. The churches found at Staré Město, however, were built of stone. They were of rather small dimensions (8.50 metres by 7.25 metres; 18.50 metres by 8 metres) and had an apse. The more spacious of the two had also a narthex. [1] The remnants of a stone church with three apses were also recently discovered at Zalevar, near



1. See the preliminary report by V. Hrubý and F. Poulik of the discoveries in the Czech archaeological review Archeologické rozhledy I (1949), pp. 109 ff.; II (1950), pp. 12 ff.





Lake Balaton in Hungary. [1] This can only be the church built about 850 by Pribina or, later, by his son Kocel, in their residence, Mosaburg.


There are strong indications that this church architecture was introduced into Bohemia also. No precise information is available on the church built by the first known Czech Christian Duke Bořivoj at Levý Hradec, but Wenceslas’s biographer Christian says it was dedicated to St. Clement by the priest Kaich, who was sent to Bohemia by St. Methodius, probably before 880. The church built by the same duke in Prague seems, however, to have been of a pattern similar to the Moravian churches. The excavations made in 1950 on the emplacement of the Castle of Prague [2] resulted in the discovery of the foundations of a small stone church (8.15 metres by 6.65 metres) with an apse. It was the church of Our Lady constructed by Bořivoj and restored by his son Spytihněv, whose tomb was discovered with that of his wife inside. We can deduce from this that the church at Levý Hradec was also of stone and of the same kind. The residence of the Slavniks, the other ducal family in tenth century Bohemia, had also a stone church of similar pattern with an apse but in addition a transept. Its foundations were unearthed in 1949 at Libice in Bohemia. [3]


Specialists are still debating the origin of this architecture. It may be that the primitive Slavic architects had followed the pattern of early Christian [4] or Byzantine provincial architecture.



1. See D. Derseny, “L’église de Pribina à Zalevar,” Études slaves et roumaines I (1948), pp. 85 seq.


2. See the description of the church made by the excavator I. Borkovský in Archeolog. rozhledy II (1950), pp. 188-198; III (1951), pp. 3-6.


3. See the reports of R. Turek in Archeolog. rozhledy II (1950), pp. 93-98; III (1951), pp. 191-202. The church was more spacious (27.60 metres x 8.60 metres; transept 20 metres x 18 metres).


4. For example, the foundations of an early Christian basilica of similar pattern with an apse were found in 1938 at Szombathely in Hungary on the emplacement of the old Roman Pannonian city of Savaria. Cf. S. Paulovics, “Basilica ad Scarabeteusem portam di S. Quirino in Savaria,“ Atti del IV Congresso Internat, di Archcol. Christ. (Citta del Vaticano, 1948), pp. 49-63. Cf. also the study by E. Dyggve ("Le type architectural de la Cámara Santa d’Oviedo et l’architecture asturienne,” Cahiers archéologiques VII [1952], pp. 125-133) on a striking similarity between early Dalmatian and Catalan architecture. Some plans of Dalmatian churches are reproduced in this study.





Its simplicity appealed particularly to the inexperienced architects of the newly converted nations.


From the tenth century on we find, in Bohemia, another characteristic feature in ecclesiastical architecture. Numerous churches were constructed in circular form with domes and usually with one or more apses. Rotundas seem also to have replaced churches constructed in the older pattern. This appears to have been the case, at least, in Levý Hradec. Several rotundas, constructed during the oldest period of the Přemyslide dynasty, still exist in Prague and Bohemia. This style of church architecture spread over the whole area of the Přemyslide State and was introduced into Austria, Poland and other neighboring lands.


The origins of this architecture are still subject to dispute. Was it of Carolingian origin*, an imitation of the rotunda of St. Guy built on a Carolingian pattern by St. Wenceslas in Prague at the beginning of the tenth century? Did it develop from the primitive architecture introduced by the Byzantine mission? Was it imported from Italy or is it simply an imitation of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem? The problem is not yet definitely solved. [1]





It is interesting to note that similar examples of primitive Moravian and Bohemian architecture can be found also in Dalmatian Croatia: the churches of St. Donatus, St. Peter, St. Vit



1. The problem was studied by J. Cibulka, “Václavova rotunda sv. Víta” (Wenceslas’ rotunda of St. Guy), published in Svatováclavský Sborník (Prague, 1933), with a résumé in German. He came to the conclusion that the rotunda of St. Guy was inspired by Carolingian architecture and that other similar churches were built in imitation of the church of St. Guy. Detailed information with abundant bibliographical data on the religious architecture of this period will be found in H. Weidhaas’ study “Zur Frage der Przemyslidischen Rundkirchen,” in Kyrios II (1937), pp. 279-312. Many of the author’s suggestions, although they differ from those mentioned above, deserve to be carefully studied by art historians.





and St. Ursula in Zadar (Zara); the churches of the Cross and of St. Nicholas in Nin; the church of St. Barbara in Trogir; the church of the Holy Trinity in Split (Spalato); the churches of St. Luke and St. Mary in Kotor (Cattaro). All these small churches were built during the ninth and tenth centuries. Numerous others were erected in other parts of Dalmatian Croatia, especially in the region of Knin and that of Split, between the ninth and eleventh centuries, but were destroyed during the Turkish occupation.


This early Croat architecture is completely different from the monumental architecture predominating in contemporary Europe. It presents a considerable variety of forms — rectangular with a cupola, of one, two or three naves, mostly with apses, round with six apses, covered with groined or barrel vaulting. It has little in common with the contemporary Byzantine architecture and the simplicity of construction indicates that these churches were built by native craftsmen. It seems that early Croatian architecture should be studied in connection with the remnants of architecture discovered recently in the former Pannonia, in Moravia and in Bohemia. [1] Perhaps further archaeological finds will help the art historians to explain this interesting evolution.


From the second half of the eleventh century onwards, Croatian architecture reveals a growing affinity with the monumental art of the rest of Western Europe. This coincides with the new period in Croatian history inaugurated by King Peter Krešimir (1058-1073). The more intimate relations with Rome opened the way to artistic influences coming from Italy. The protagonists of this new style were the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino, who started to build — in their own fashion — numerous abbeys and churches in Dalmatia, and from that time onwards Croatian architecture and art developed on lines parallel with the evolution in the rest of Western Europe.



1. The study by J. Böhm, “Deux églises datantes de l’Empire de Grande Moravie découvertes en Tchechoslovaquie" (Byzantinoslavica XI [1950], pp. 207-222) gives an idea of how complicated are the problems connected with these new archaeological finds and their connection with Byzantine art.





The decorative art of the early Croatian period also presents many original features. Numerous sculptures in bas relief have been preserved with typical interlaced designs in stone. Geometrical patterns, crosses and other Christian symbols, figures of birds and animals, rosettes, spirals, interwoven arches, stars, symbolic plants and other representations are executed with remarkable precision and skill on pillars, church walls, sarcophagi, baptismal fonts and pulpits. The character of this art is symbolic, expressing some Christian ideas — especially those concerning the holy Eucharist — with surprising originality. One of the oldest monuments of this nature is the baptismal font of Duke Vyšeslav, which dates from the end of the eighth century, and the little church of the Holy Cross in Nin was decorated with numerous sculptures of this character. This kind of decoration was in great vogue during the early period of Croatian history, and one of the finest specimens of this art is the plaque in relief representing the eucharistic star in a very original way. It decorated the pulpit given about 1070 by King Peter Krešimir to the cathedral at Split. Another monument preserved in the cathedral of Split — a bas relief on the baptismal font — combines this kind of decoration with the representation of human figures. The figure of a Croat king is sculptured in a rather rough fashion and the technique combines Byzantine and Frankish artistic traditions.


From Dalmatian Croatia these artistic tendencies spread also over Pannonian Croatia, although in this region, owing to the political conditions, artistic activity was never as lively as in Dalmatia.


The question arises, from where did the Croats obtain this peculiar artistic inspiration. Was it from Italy? We find similar tendencies in decorative art in Venice and Lombardy from the eighth century onwards. [1] It is, however, remarkable that this decorative art appears in Croatia almost at the same time as it



1. The main protagonist of the theory of the Italian origin of early Croatian art is L. Karaman (“Notes sur l’art byzantin et les Slaves catholiques de Dalmatie,” L’art byzantin chez les Slaves II [Paris, 1932], pp. 332-381).





does in Italy. It is executed by native artists who give proof of more skill and originality in decoration than in architecture. The symbols sculptured by them and the decorative figures often reveal a striking similarity to the symbolic motifs current in oriental Christian art. No wonder some art historians — L. Jelić, J. Strzygowski, U. Monneret de Villard, for example — believed that they had discovered Iranian and Sarmatian elements in them and thought that this artistic tradition should be traced back to the Sarmatian Alans of the fifth century, who had penetrated into Dalmatia with the Goths and might have stayed there. Perhaps the theory of the Sarmatian origin of the primitive Croats will eventually help art historians to find a way of solving this problem. [1]


There are in Dalmatia only a few reliefs of Byzantine origin. For example, in the cathedral of Rab (Arbe) there is a relief of Christ upon a throne, while reliefs of Our Lady are preserved in the church of St. Symeon in Zadar (Zara) and in Biskupija, near Knin. Specimens of minor arts imported from Byzantium are more numerous. [2]


In painting and in engraving Byzantine influences were felt in Croatia from the eleventh century onwards, but rather through the mediation of Italy. The school of Monte Cassino, which effected an interesting blend of Anglo-Saxon, Carolingian and Byzantine practices in engraving, left particularly deep influences in Croatia.


Byzantine jewelry was imported into Croatia, as is shown by numerous finds in old Croatian cemeteries. In this respect, however, native goldsmiths and silversmiths were soon to develop



1. In this respect, interesting but rather daring suggestions are made in the short study by P. S. Sakać, "Symboles eucharistiques dans l’ancien art croate (VIIIe-XIIe s.)" in the Croat review Osoba i Duh (Person and Spirit) IV (Madrid, 1952), pp. 209-232. The author wrote several studies on early Croat history which are listed in the article. The Iranian character of early Croatian art should not be exaggerated. It is not known how strong the Iranian element was among the Croats when they took possession of modern Croatia.


2. Cf. M. Abramić, "Quelques reliefs d’origine où d’influence byzantine en Dalmatie,” L’art byzantin chez les Slaves II (Paris, 1932), pp. 317-331.





their own technique. Split (Spalato) became particularly famous in this field from the eleventh century onwards.


Thanks to their contact with the Latin cities on the coast, the civilization of the Croats made good progress and they advanced also in other directions. Not only did they obtain their own bishopric, but other religious foundations made their appearance in Croatia much earlier than they did in Bohemia and Poland and the first Benedictine abbey was founded in Klis by Trpimir as early as 850.


In Croatia the Church also developed on different lines from those followed in Central Europe. The Croats of Dalmatia did not know the Germanic system of proprietary churches. In old Croatia there was no feudalism and no investiture. The Church regulated its internal affairs by special synods or local councils which used to meet in Spalato, the seat of the archbishop in Dalmatia.


Moreover, the power of the duke, later the king, of Croatia was not as absolute as in some other countries. He was obliged to take advice from his council and in important matters he was expected to convoke a national assembly. The Dalmatian cities had, of course, their city councils, the presidents of which were locally elected and then confirmed, first by the Byzantine emperor and subsequently by the Croatian king. The fact that from the beginning of their political evolution the Croats realized the importance of cities in the life of a nation was of great significance for their whole history. It should be remembered that cities began to play a part in the evolution of Germany only from the twelfth century onwards. So, in this respect, the Croats had a two-centuries’ start on the other nations of Central Europe.


Many peculiarities can be observed also in the administration of the Croat realm. The representative of the duke, later king, was the banus and under him were the župani, who administered the different “counties.” Constantine Porphyrogennetus gives a very accurate account of the fourteen županije of Dalmatian Croatia and the territory of the Narentanes. The





western title of Count — comes [1] — was given first to those župani who occupied different posts at the royal court; at the later stage in this development, it was given also to the provincial župani.


Only members of the highest nobility could become either župani or any of the court functionaries. There was no court nobility, as there was among the Western nations. This particular feature of Croat history can best be explained if it be recalled that the semi-slavicized Croats had taken over the government of the Slavs who had been liberated from the Avars, and therefore the kernel of the Croat aristocracy was formed of the descendants of the chiefs who commanded the tribes, organized on a military footing, who had accepted the invitation of the Emperor Heraclius and had migrated from White Croatia to the south. Moreover, in addition to this high ranking nobility, the Croats also had lesser nobles, who seem to have formed the nucleus of the Croat army.


The chief of the Croat State had at his court officers for his own service and others who were entrusted with the administration of the country. They were members of the ducal or royal council, which assembled also for judicial purposes. The first officer was the jupanus palatinus, and the second, the jupanus camerarius, a kind of finance minister. Others were in charge of the armory, the horses and the provender. The number of minor officials increased in the eleventh century and among them was the dvornik, who was probably superintendent of the buildings. Some of these offices developed on the western pattern; others, on the eastern. As was customary in Central Europe, the office of the royal chancellor was generally held by a bishop and was one of the duties of the Bishop of Knin, a see founded in 1040.





In Bulgaria, Byzantine influences in art and architecture were, of course, manifest from the time when Christianity was first



1. From this Latin word was borrowed the Slavonic term “K’met’.”





introduced. It appears, however, that the primitive Turkic Bulgars had their own artistic traditions of a rather oriental character, which had nothing in common with Byzantium. The two palaces of which ruins were discovered near the village of Aboba on the site of Pliska, the ancient capital of the Bulgar khagans, were bold constructions, built of large hewn stones, which in their style and execution showed a striking similarity to Persian architecture of the Sassanian period. A similar style can be detected in the construction of the oldest fortified walls in Preslav and Tirnovo. The small fortress of Madara, founded during the oldest period of Bulgar history, was another example of this kind of architecture.


The oriental spirit of the Turkic Bulgars showed itself also in the numerous monumental inscriptions in the vernacular Greek used by the remnants of the native population on the soil occupied by Slavs and Bulgars. Most of them are from the first half of the ninth century and celebrate in Babylonian or Persian fashion the deeds of the khagans. The most impressive example of this kind of monument is the “rider of Madara,” a large relief carved on the rock face near Madara, representing the Khagan Krum on horseback, returning from a successful hunt. The Greek inscription which accompanies the relief glorifies the main deeds of Krum’s eventful reign and the whole composition and execution are strongly reminiscent of similar rock reliefs in Persia.


The objects known as “Attilas treasure,” which are kept in the Museum of Vienna, also have an oriental character. Specialists have ventured the opinion that the precious vessels of the treasure were brought by the Bulgars from their original home. There is also a strong oriental character about the few slabs with animal and other reliefs, from the seventh and eighth centuries, found at Stara Zagora and in the church of Drenovo.


All this shows that the primitive Bulgars possessed a certain degree of civilization, a fact which may have helped them in subduing the Slavic population. The primitive civilization of the Bulgars was formed by traditions which originated in the ancient Near East.





In spite of that, Byzantine influences started to be felt in Bulgaria at an early period — they are visible also in Pliska — and increased substantially when the country became Christian. They were very strong during the reign of Symeon. The capital was transferred to Preslav either by Symeon — or perhaps by his father, after he had deposed Vladimir. There, to rival the capital of the Byzantine emperors, the churches and palaces were built by Symeon on the Byzantine pattern. We have an eloquent description of the splendor to be beheld in Preslav, from the pen of John the Exarch, a prominent Bulgarian writer of the period. After trying to describe in the most glowing terms the beauty of the many buildings, John confesses at the end: “It is impossible to tell of the splendor, beauty and orderliness, and each of you must see it for yourselves.” Of these buildings only ruins remain today. The remnants reveal a strong Byzantine influence, but some oriental elements are still apparent. A characteristic is the use of glazed ceramic tiles of which interesting specimens have been found in the ruins of a monastery near Preslav. This shows that there were attempts to introduce some oriental and native patterns into the Byzantine style. [1] It is a pity that only foundation walls remain of the first Christian basilica built in Bulgaria, near Pliska.


A similar tendency to combine the native traditions with Byzantine style and technique is apparent in the architecture and decorative art which flourished during the reign of the Tsar Samuel. The old Bulgar traditions can be traced in the ruins of the fortress of Ochrida and in marble slabs from the church of St. Sophia there. The main architectural monuments are the church of St. Achilles in Prespa and that of St. Sophia in Ochrida, both executed in the Byzantine fashion.


The political and social evolution of the first Bulgarian Empire differed in some ways from that of other Slavic countries. As the



1. The excavations at Pliska and Preslav were re-started in 1945. The results will be published under the auspices of the National Museum in Sofia. See the preliminary report made by V. Ivanovna in the Byzantinoslavica IX (1947-48), pp. 315-323 (“Les fouilles du Musée National de Sofia à Preslav et à Pliska").





state was founded by a Turkic tribe, the non-Slavic elements in Bulgarian political life were naturally more prominent. It should be stressed once more that the primitive Bulgars were superior to their Slavic subjects not only in the military but also in the cultural sphere and that the assimilation of the ruling minority by its numerous Slavic subjects was not as rapid as has often been thought. [1]


In political organization the predominance of the Turkic element was, of course, most prominent. The chief of the state was called khan, or khagan, the Greeks giving him the title of archôn. From the second half of the eighth century, Bulgarian inscriptions, written in Greek by Greek artists, add to the title archôn, the words “by the grace of God." Symeon adopted the title of tsar in Greek basileus (but he also used samodr’ž’c, the Bulgarian version of autocrator) and seems to have adopted the purple robe and purple shoes of the Byzantine emperors. It is not known if the first Bulgarian khagans used a throne or a crown, but a scepter as an emblem of royalty was used only during the second Bulgarian Empire.


The hereditary dignity of khagan was vested in one family and was never shared, as was sometimes the case in other Slavic states. The Turko-Tatar conception of the supreme power being concentrated in the hands of one chieftain was reflected also in the fact that the state was never divided among several members of the family as was often done in other Slavic lands.


The chief of the state was, above all, the supreme commander of the army, because the military organization of the Turkic tribes who took over the leadership of the Slavs was not only the main feature of the new state, but also the principal source of its power. The khagans were surrounded by their boyars, the most valiant of the military commanders. This was in accordance



1. In this respect, the discovery of an inscription at Preslav, from the beginning of the ninth century (published by I. Venedikov, Bulletin de l’Institut archéol. bulgare X [1946], pp. 146-160), is of some importance. The inscription is written in Greek characters, but in the proto-Bulgar language. It indicates that the proto-Bulgar language, a Turkic idiom, was still used in the period preceding the conversion of the Bulgars.





with a Turkic custom that developed in the steppes during the nomadic existence of the tribes. Traces of this primitive social and political organization are to be found in the ruins of the first residence of the khagans, Pliska, which has been excavated near the village of Aboba. Pliska was a great military camp, protected by the khagan’s boyars against any surprise attack.


In the beginning the boyars were completely dependent upon the khagan. During the eighth century his absolute power was, however, disputed by them, but in spite of a temporary success, the boyars failed to replace the hereditary system by an elective one and Krum and Boris finally broke their opposition.


In addition to those boyars who comprised the high aristocracy, the Bulgars also had boyars of lesser ranks who could not boast as much property as their superiors. The khagan selected the court functionaries and the governors of the different provinces from both classes. It appears that the boyars in command of the frontier posts were the most important in rank. The boyar classes, originally exclusively of Turkic origin, were gradually increased by the addition of Slavic chiefs, who in time mingled with the Turkic families and eventually formed one class which took on a completely Slavic character. Dignitaries of various kinds usually had Turkic titles — kopan, tarkan, boilas, etc., the meanings of which are still debated among specialists. [1]


Bishops and abbots were regarded as being the equals of the boyars, and the higher clergy and their property enjoyed many privileges. The number of Bulgarian bishoprics grew considerably and under Tsar Peter reached as many as forty. Among the numerous monastic foundations, that of Ryla, founded by Tsar Peter, was the most important.


On the territory which they occupied the Bulgars found many urban foundations dating from the Roman period, and from the remnants of the subjugated population they learned of the importance



1. An attempt has been made to explain some of these titles in the author’s edition of two Bulgarian inscriptions from Philippi: F. Dvornik, “Deux inscriptions gréco-bulgares de Philippes,” Bulletin de correspondence hellénique LII (Paris, 1928), pp. 125-147.





of cities in a nation’s life. New Bulgarian cities sprang up around the fortresses which were built either for the defense of the country or as administrative centers. The appearance of the cities, moreover, demonstrated to the Bulgarians the importance of commerce in the national life. From the beginning of the eighth century, we hear of Bulgarian merchants, and from that time onwards the conclusion of commercial treaties with Byzantium figures prominently in Bulgaro-Byzantine relations.


Among the peasantry there existed free peasants and others who were settled on seignorial estates. The number of free peasants, however, gradually diminished. Unable to pay their taxes and to render the services imposed upon them by the state, they started to look for protection to the boyars and the higher clergy and became their subjects, designated by the Greek term paroikoi.


A thorough Byzantinization of Bulgarian administration and political life, which had started under Symeon the Great, was completed during the occupation of Bulgaria by Byzantium. Then the old Turkic titles disappeared to be replaced by Byzantine titles. This Byzantinization was to become a prominent feature of the second Bulgarian Empire.





The civilization and social organization during the early period of the evolution of those Slavic tribes who were to be called the Serbs are less well known than those of the Bulgars. According to Constantine Porphyrogennetus, these Slavs were governed by župani, called by the Greeks archontes. Their function was hereditary and their territory was regarded as a family patrimony. Unlike the Bulgarian system, the members of the župan families received their share of the territory of their župa. Under Byzantine and Bulgarian influence, the system of individual succession was started, but it did not become the rule until during the twelfth century.





The main function of the župan was a military one. Originally the Serbs did not have a proper aristocracy, with the exception, perhaps, of the Narentanes. An aristocracy in the western sense of the word originated on Serb territory much later, and was formed of such free men as distinguished themselves by amassing riches. According to Constantine Porphyrogennetus, the župans resided in castles round which settlements — primitive towns and cities — formed.


Very little is known about the religious organization of the Serbs. Basil I must have done something in this direction; but we do not know anything certain about it. It may be that provisions for the Serbs were made as early as 870, when the Bulgarians had returned to Byzantine obedience. It is known that the Patriarch Ignatius consecrated an archbishop and several bishops and sent them to Bulgaria. The bishopric of Belgrade was then founded. In 878 the Pope John VIII mentions in his letter to Boris of Bulgaria Bishop Sergius of Belgrade and protests against his elevation by George, probably the Bulgarian archbishop consecrated by Ignatius.


In the Acts of the Photian Council (879-880) there is registered among the assisting prelates the name of “Agathon of the Moravians.” If this prelate can be identified with the Archbishop Agathon mentioned in the Annals of Fulda as a member of a Greek embassy to Louis II in 873, it can be concluded that Basil I had established, after 870, another independent missionary archbishopric for the Slavs on the river Morava, the neighbors of Serbia proper. This territory, which was the object of a fierce contest between the Franks and the Bulgarian Khagan Omortag and of another between the Serbian Župan Vlastimir and the Khagan Malamir, was situated on the confines of the last Byzantine possessions in northern Macedonia and was particularly suited to be an advance post for Christian propaganda. The erection of an independent archbishopric in this region, subject only to the Patriarch, would be in line with the general trend of Byzantine policy, because it would weaken Bulgarian influence over this country.





However, as mentioned above, [1] the evidence concerning the high ecclesiastical rank of Agathon is not conclusive. He may have been only a bishop and if his see was an independent archbishopric, this arrangement did not last. When Symeon the Great of Bulgaria had extended his sway over all Serbia and had created, about 925, the Bulgarian Patriarchate, he introduced profound changes in the ecclesiastical organization of these countries. It may be that at that time the see of Morava was already reduced to a bishopric and united with the See of Braničevo. The former status was, however, still recalled in the privilege given by Basil II to Ochrida and in the lists of Bulgarian bishoprics from the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries. [2]


Probably in about 925 Symeon of Bulgaria founded for the Serbs the bishopric of Rasa (Ras, Raška, modern Novi Pazar). It was incorporated in the new Patriarchate of Bulgaria and is listed among Bulgarian bishoprics existing during the reign of the Tsar Peter (927-968). After the suppression of the Bulgarian Patriarchate, the Serbian bishopric of Rasa remained — together with that of Morava-Braničevo — under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Ochrida.


The Bulgarian Church was more interested in expansion in Macedonia where several sees were founded anew or the existing ones affiliated to the Patriarchate. No new foundations were made by the Bulgarians for the Slavic tribes on the Adriatic.


The Slavic tribes in the coastal region, the Narentanes, the Zachlumjans, Trevunjans and the Diocleans, had to content themselves, at first, with the ecclesiastical organization existing in the coastal cities, namely, in Spalato, Ragusa, Cattaro and Dyrrhachium



1. See above, page 97.


2. For details see H. Gelzer, "Ungedruckte und wenig bekannte Bistümervcrzeichnisse der orientalischen Kirche,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift I (1892), pp. 256 seq.; II (1893), pp. 40-66. The eleventh century Archbishop of Ochrida, Theophylactus, speaks in one of his letters of a bishop "ho Morobou,” evidently bishop of Morava or Branicevo. Lambert of Hersfeld mentions Morava in his Annals. In 1059, on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he spent Christmas "in civitate Morouwa, in confinio sita Ungerionim et Bulgariorum” (M.G.H.S. V, p. 160).





(Durazzo), but at the famous Synod of Spalato it was decided to create a new bishopric in Stagno in order to promote Christianity in Zachlumje. This foundation was confirmed in 928 by Pope Leo VI and this seems to have been the only effort made by the Latins to strengthen their influence among the Slavic tribes on the coast.


It seems that the metropolitans of Dyrrhachium were the most active in this respect. Of the four bishoprics which remained under their jurisdiction after the upheaval caused by the invasions, that of Alessio (ancient Lissos) was the nearest to the Diocleans. It seems that the Christianization of the Dioclean Slavs was completed by missionaries from Dyrrhachium and new episcopal foundations were made on the coast from this center. Towards the end of the eleventh century Dyrrhachium claimed jurisdiction over the following new episcopal foundations: Dioclea, Scutari (Skadar), Drivasto, Pulati and Antibari, all of which were in the territory of the Dioclean Slavs. Antibari, however, was predestined to play an important role in the further evolution of the Diocleans.


This illustrates the important position of this Byzantine metropolis among the coastal Slavic tribes. Dyrrhachium, moreover, extended its claims over several bishoprics in the interior which were incorporated in the archbishopric of Ochrida. It thus appeared that the Slavs of the small principalities, or županije, near the coastal region would be definitely incorporated in the ecclesiastical system of the Byzantine Church, and Durazzo was about to take over the spiritual leadership of this part of future Serbia. Political evolution, however, changed the situation and the hopes of the metropolitans of Durazzo were dashed to the ground.





The greatest cultural achievements of the Slavs in this early period of their evolution were in the literary field, thanks to the Byzantine missionaries, SS. Constantine-Cyril and Methodius.





It will be useful therefore if, before examining the influence of their literary heritage on Bohemia, Bulgaria and Croatia, a short survey of the literary work of the two brothers is given.


As has been seen, Constantine-Cyril began his literary work for the Slavs in Constantinople, before leaving for Moravia. The Byzantine Evangelistarion, the book of the liturgical lessons from the Gospels, was the first work to be translated into Slavonic. The dialect chosen was that of southern Macedonia, which thus earned the distinction of becoming the literary language of the Slavs.


After reaching Moravia, Constantine-Cyril translated, according to his biographer (Chap. XV):


“the whole ecclesiastical office, Matins, the Hours, Vespers, Compline and the Mass."


Experts are still not in agreement as to which Mass formulary he used for his translation but it seems natural to surmise that both brothers used the Byzantine liturgy when they arrived in Moravia. A Roman Mass formulary, used in Moravia, has been preserved in part in the fragments of the Old Slavonic Missal brought to Kiev from Palestine. It has been thought that it was based upon the Sacramentarium or Mass formulary of St. Gregory the Great. A version of it, recently discovered at Padova, appeared the most likely prototype; but according to a more recent discovery [1] it seems that the Slavonic text preserved in the Leaflets of Kiev is a supplement to the Liturgy of St. Peter, a Mass formulary which was a Greek translation of the Roman liturgy of St. Gregory. This liturgy seems to have been used in some places in Byzantium, perhaps also in Thessalonica, the native city of the two brothers, and in Greek monasteries in Rome. Numerous Greek manuscripts have preserved its text, sometimes enlarged by additions from the Byzantine liturgy. The Liturgy



1. J. Vašica, "The Slavic Liturgy of St. Peter," Byzantinoslavica VIII (1939-46), pp. 1-54, in Czech with a résumé in Latin. For more ample information see the edition by M. H. W. Codrington, “The Liturgy of St. Peter," Liturgiegeschichtliche Quellen und Forschungen (Münster, 1936), and J. M. Hanssen’s study, "La liturgie romano-byzantine de Saint Pierre," Orientalia Christiana Periodica IV (1938), pp. 235-259; V (1939), pp. 103-150.





of St. Peter seems to be mentioned in the Vita Methodii (Chap. XI), and this is an additional argument in support of the above conclusion.


Constantine also wrote three works in Greek: an account of “The discovery of the relics of St. Clement,” which were found by him during his stay in Cherson when on the Khazarian mission, a panegyric and a hymn to St. Clement. Unfortunately these writings have been lost as well as the Latin translation made by Anastasius of the story and the panegyric combining excerpts from all three works, but there exists an Old Slavonic text dealing with the same subject. It might be a translation of the Greek original, made probably by Constantine himself. There exists also a "Sermon on the Right Faith” (Napisanie o pravei vierie) dating from the Old Slavonic period, which is ascribed to Constantine-Cyril.


Constantine-Cyril was also a poet. Evidence exists that he composed a panegyric on St. Clement in Greek verse. It thus seems natural to suppose that he was also the author of some of the short religious poems in Slavonic. Some attribute to him the composition of a prayer in alphabetical acrostic and the introduction to a translation of the Gospel. [1] There is no doubt that he composed a pochvala, a short panegyric in honor of St. Gregory [2] quoted in the Vita Constantini. Most specialists agree that the two Slavonic biographies of the Saints contain some short passages in verse. Clement’s pochvala on St. Cyril, which was probably written in Moravia, is also highly praised for its poetic quality. There is no probability in the claim that Constantine was the author of a liturgical panegyric in honor of St. Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessalonica. [3] This was written by St. Methodius and was not in verse, but in prose.



1. See R. Jakobson, “The Beginning of National Self-determination in Europe,” in Review of Politics VII (1945), pp. 29-42.


2. E. Georgiev, Dve proizvedenija na sv. Kirila (Sofia, 1938).


3. Jordan Ivanov, “Novi Vesti za Kirila i Metodija,” Zora, No. 5404 (June 3, 1937), p. 7. Cf. also the short study — with a rich bibliography — by I. Dujčev, "Zur literarischen Tätigkeit Konstantins des Philosophen” in Byzantinische Zeitschrift XLIV (1951), pp. 105-110.





According to his biographer, St. Methodius is said (Chap. XV) to have translated the whole of the Old and the New Testaments with the help of two of his disciples and this in the short space of eight months. There is a good deal of truth in this report, although it may have been that Methodius only finished a translation commenced by Constantine, taking over the work after his brothers death. This translation is only fragmentarily preserved in different manuscripts; but experts now generally agree that there did exist, in the Moravian period, a complete translation of Holy Writ. This certainly was a great achievement. Only one homily which can be attributed to St. Methodius seems to have been preserved. It appears to have been addressed to Svatopluk and his councilors on the occasion mentioned by the Vita (Chap. XI). Methodius defends Church prescriptions concerning marriage. [1]


In addition, Methodius is said to have translated a collection of the sayings of the Holy Fathers and a collection of canon law. It is debated among specialists which Byzantine collection he followed, as works of this type were very common in Byzantium. It seems most probable that what he translated was a Greek collection called the Book of the Holy Fathers (Βίβλος ἁγίων Πατέρων), [2] while as regards the collection of canon law, experts generally are of the opinion that Methodius translated the Collection of Sixty Titles edited by John Scholasticus.


The translation of the canon law has a short treatise on the primacy of the Roman See, in which the author explains the decision of the Council of Chalcedon in favor of Rome. No Greek copy of this scholion has ever been found. It may have originated



1. See A. Vaillant, “Une homelie de Méthode,” Revue des études slaves XXIII (1947), pp. 34-47. Cf. also F. Grivec, “Duo sermones s. Methodii" (Orient. Christ. Period. XVI [1950], pp. 440-448).


2. This is the result of N. van Wijk’s studies of the problem. See the résumé of his several studies in Slavische Rundschau X (1936), pp. 69 (“Der grossmährische Erzbischof Method als Übersetzer der Erbauungsliteratur”). This collection — called the Paterik by the Slavs — was very popular. Van Wijk’s commented edition of this work is to appear posthumously in Leiden.





in one of the numerous Greek monasteries in Rome, where Methodius or one of his disciples discovered it and added a translation of it to the Church Slavonic edition of the Byzantine canon law.


To the Moravian period should also be ascribed the important original writings of the Legends of Constantine and Methodius. The Vita Constantini may have been the work of Methodius or of one of his disciples who accompanied him and wrote under his supervision. It has all the characteristics of Byzantine hagiographical literature, especially of semi-secular biographies, so abundant in the ninth century. Its reliability can no longer be questioned and it is one of the best original writings of that period both in East and West.


There are also typically Byzantine passages in the Vita Methodii, the introduction being such an example. Less elaborate than the Vita Constantini, it was probably written by St. Clement, a disciple of Methodius and a Byzantine Slav, or by Gorazd, shortly after their master’s death, as the author seems to be conscious at the end of the Legend of dangers lying in wait for the disciples. It is noteworthy that no copy of this Legend existed among the Southern Slavs, although they possessed copies of the Legend of Constantine-Cyril.


The Byzantine mission in Moravia seems to have laid a solid basis also for the further evolution of civil legislation among the Slavs. A detailed analysis of the oldest Slavic legal work, the Zakon sudnyj ljudem (Judicial law for laymen), made recently by J. Vašica, [1] shows a marked linguistic affinity between this work and the writings of St. Constantine-Cyril. We are thus entitled to add also this first Slavic law book to the list of works composed by him. The law collection is based on the Greek handbook, the Ecloga of the Emperor Leo the Isaurian, which was replaced by the Procheiron under Basil I. There are, however, some prescriptions which are not derived from the Ecloga, but from the Roman Law as it was known in the West.



1. J. Vašica, "Origine Cyrillo-Méthodienne du plus ancien code slave dit ’Zakon sudnyj ljudem,’" Byzantinoslavica XII (1951), pp. 153-174.







Such are the works which constitute the basis of Slavonic letters. The destruction of the Moravian Empire dealt a grievous blow to the achievement of the two Greeks; but it did not spell the end of Slavonic culture in Central Europe. Many of the Slav priests fled to Bohemia, where the Slavonic liturgy and letters had been introduced in Methodius’s lifetime by one of his converts, Duke Bořivoj. They flourished at Bořivoj s court and were under the patronage of his widow Ludmila. At this time St. Wenceslas, who is said to have been able to read Slavonic besides Latin and Greek, had the church in his residence administered by Slavic clergy, but as he was under Saxon suzerainty, he dedicated the principal church of his capital to St. Vitus, the patron saint of Saxony. Later SS. Ludmila and Wenceslas were claimed as patron saints by the Slavic clergy, and there is positive evidence extant that at the beginning of the tenth century a Slavonic Legend of St. Ludmila, recording her saintly life and martyrdom, was written in Prague. The first biography of St. Wenceslas, who was murdered in 929 at his brother’s instigation, was also written in Slavonic and is rightly regarded as the prelude to Czech national literature. A Slavonic hymn, paraphrasing the Kyrie Eleison, an invocation which is often recited in Eastern liturgy, also belongs to this period and is still sung in Czech churches. [1]


The Slavic clergy defended their national language with the pen and curiously enough they wrote in Latin. The introduction to the Latin Life of St. Wenceslas, written in the second half of the tenth century in Bohemia by Christian, a member of the second reigning family of Bohemia, the Slavniks, is nothing less than a plea in Latin for Slav letters. There, too, evidence is to be



1. The credit for showing definitely that this hymn — Gospodi pomiluj ny — originated in Bohemia in this period must go to Prof. R. Jakobson. See his latest publication on the subject in Ramovšev Zbornik, Slavistično revija III (1950), pp. 267-273 (“O stichotvorenych reliktach rannego srednevekovja v češkoj literatymoj tradicii” — On poetical remnants of Early Middle Ages in Czech literary tradition).





found that the cult of SS. Cyril and Methodius was not forgotten in Bohemia.


There must also have been some monasteries of the Slavonic rite on the territory of what was once the Moravian Empire. We know of one for certain — the Abbey of Sázava, founded by St. Procopius in the eleventh century. But there must have been similar institutions in what is now Slovakia, since Sázava and northern Hungary were in normal contact with one another. These relations became easier after 955, when the Magyars were defeated by Otto I and forced to settle down to a peaceful life. The first missionaries among the Magyars seem to have been priests of the Slavonic rite coming from modern Slovakia, and Ostrêgom’ (Esztergom) appears to have been one of their centers.


It was in such places as this that Slavonic letters were cultivated, old manuscripts of the Moravian period copied and new translations made from the Latin. Recent discoveries have made it possible to trace these translations and to gather an idea of these activities. [1] There is no doubt that a Latin Legend of St. Vitus was translated into Slavonic in Bohemia. [2] There also exists a translation of a Latin Vita S. Benedicti, which points to the Abbey of Sázava as its most likely place of origin. Other interesting works of this kind are: an account of the martyrdom of St. Apollinaris of Ravenna, a work translated in Bohemia; the Martyrdom of Pope St. Stephen; a sermon by Gregory the Great and other sermons, which may have been written by St. Clement, Methodius’s disciple, in Bulgaria.


Of special interest is a Slavonic version of the Latin Life of St. Wenceslas, written by the Bishop of Mantua, Gumpold, at the request of the Emperor Otto II. The original has been considerably enlarged in the translation, which gives details of Wenceslas’s



1. Cf. R. Jakobson, "Kernel of comparative Slavic Literature" in Harvard Slavic Studies I (1953), pp. 1-71. More details about these original works and translations are given below, pp. 239-241. Most of them were preserved in Russia, whither they were conveyed in the eleventh century.


2. Cf. the most recent short study by J. Vašica, "Staroslovanská legenda o sv. Vítu" (The Old Slavonic Legend of St. Vitus) published in Slovanské Studie (Prague, 1948), pp. 159-163.





career that could not have been known to the Italian bishop.


Besides these works, some Slavonic prayers are known which were composed in Bohemia in the eleventh century and which contain allusions to native and also Western saints, such as the Anglo-Saxon Botulf, the Abbot of Ikanhoe.


All the above works were written in Old Slavonic, based on a Macedonian dialect; but philologists have detected in them many new forms which are alien to the primitive Church Slavonic. It seems as though the Czech writers have tried to bring the language up to date by the use of Czech words and idioms. The same process became popular later in Croatia, Serbia and Russia, and helps the reader to fix the date and origin of the changes.





Two fragments of the Slavonic liturgy — the Leaflets of Kiev and of Prague — reveal in this way that they were, if not composed, at least copied, on territory which used to be part of the Moravian Empire.


Moreover, Slavonic letters penetrated as far as Cracow and the lands of the Vistulanians, which in the distant past belonged to White Croatia and were annexed by Svatopluk and added to his Moravian realm. It is even possible that one or two Moravian bishops, who had been consecrated by the papal legate at the beginning of the tenth century, survived in Cracow. An old local tradition tells of the existence of two such bishops, Prochorus and Proculphus, before the foundation or the revival of the see in the year 1000.


Another point indicating a more intimate connection of the Cracow region with Great Moravia is the cult of Gorazd, a disciple of St. Methodius, which apparently existed in this part of Poland. Gorazd’s name is found in a Polish calendar of the fourteenth century, fragments of which have been recently discovered, [1] and this calendar seems to have been in use at Wiślica, a



1. It was found by J. Zathey during the last war on the binding of a manuscript from Wiślica. Cf. J. Zathey, “O kilku przepadlych zabytkach rękopiśmiennych Biblioteki Narodowej w Warszawie" (Remnants of some lost manuscripts in the National Library in Warsaw), published in Studia z dziejów kultury polskiej (Warsaw, 1949), pp. 7-3-66, ed. H. Barycz, J. Hudlewicz.





town in Little Poland or western Galicia. The manuscript is most probably a copy of a calendar which was in use at an earlier period. Gorazd is venerated in the Orthodox Church with the other disciples of St. Methodius and his feast was celebrated by the Poles on the seventeenth of July. The appearance of his name in a Polish Roman Catholic calendar can be explained only by the connection of Poland with the Slavonic liturgy and culture which had penetrated into the region of Cracow in the ninth century from Great Moravia and in the tenth century from Bohemia.


It should be recalled in this respect that this comer of the former Moravian Empire seems to have kept a certain independence from the Magyars, and that after the Magyar defeat it was annexed by Boleslas I to the state of the Czech Přemyslides. It remained in Czech hands for some decades and then passed to the first known Polish prince, Mieszko I. He was baptized through the instrumentality of his wife, the Czech Princess Dubravka, who brought with her to Poland priests of the Slavonic rite. This Slav invasion under Mieszko I must have strengthened the Slavonic elements which had survived from the time of the missionary work of Methodius in southern Poland. This explains why Mieszko’s son, Boleslas the Great (Chrobry, the Brave) issued coins bearing a Slavonic inscription and why Anonymus Gallus, the first Polish chronicler, listed among the mourners at Boleslas’s death Polish peoples of both Latin and Slavonic rites. Later, his son Mieszko II was praised by the German Mathilda of Swabia for being able to worship in Slavonic, Latin and Greek.


Slavonic letters must also have survived for a time in Pannonia, a country which was in close contact with the Franks, although this point has not yet been fully elucidated. It is, however, worthy of note that in Freising (Frisinga) in Bavaria and in Klagenfurt in Austria some short Slavonic texts have been preserved which are translations from Latin formulas and from ninth century





German [1] and which betray a familiarity with the Slavonic language as it was spoken in old Moravia. There are indications that the Slavonic rite survived in the former Noricum to a much later date, but this requires confirmation.





The Slavonic liturgy and Slavonic letters probably reached Croatia and Dalmatia from Moravia before the end of Methodius’s mission, if not earlier. Some of Methodius’s disciples might have fled to Croatia after the destruction of Moravia, but after the defeat of the Magyars frequent contact seems to have been made with the remnants of Slavism in the Czech lands by the second half of the tenth century. [2] It was then that the Croats received a copy of the Slavonic Life of St. Wenceslas and incorporated the feasts of SS. Ludmila and Wenceslas into their calendar. There are also some Slavonic texts of purely Croat origin.


It might have been expected that the princes of Dalmatian Croatia, who had succeeded in recovering their independence, would favor the Slavonic liturgy as a powerful factor of national appeal to those Croats settled between the Drava, the Sava and the Danube in Pannonia, who were still under Frankish sovereignty. Yet, although Dalmatian Croatia had its own bishop in Nin, there is no indication that the Slavonic rite was in general use in his diocese, a fact which still puzzles historians.



1. Published by V. Vondrák, Frizinské památky (Prague, 1896). For a more complete and more recent bibliography concerning the many problems connected with these texts, see the short study by A. V. Isačenko, "Nachträgliche Bemerkungen zur Frage der ältesten deutsch-slavischen literarischen Beziehungen" in Zeitschrift für slavische Philologie XIX (1947), pp. 308-311. Cf. also his study in Slovak, Jazyk a pôvod Frizinských pamiatok (The language and the origin of the records of Freising), (Bratislava, 1943) and his article "Začátky vzdělanosti ve Velkomor. Říši” (Beginning of intellectual life in Great Moravia), in Jazykovědný Sbornik I (Bratislava, 1946-47).


2. Cf. M. Weingart, “Hlaholské listy vídeňské” (Glagolitic Leaflets of Vienna) in the Czech review for modern philology (Časopis pro mod. filol. XXIV [1938]).





There is an explanation. The one ambition of the princes of Dalmatian Croatia was to gain control over the Latin cities of the littoral, especially over Zara, Spalato (Split) and Ragusa, which were remnants of the Latin-speaking province of Dalmatia, and which owed their survival, after the Slavic onslaught, to their geographical position and their uninterrupted contact by sea with Byzantium. This coastal province of Dalmatia had maintained its independence, and its culture made a greater appeal to the Dalmatian Croats, because of its contact with the surrounding Slavic world, than did that of the Franks. Its cities, which clung to their Latin culture, spoke a Latin dialect and were proud of their Latin past, also represented wealth, commerce and access to the outer world, that is to say, to Venice and Byzantium.


From the beginning of the tenth century, the bishops of Split had been trying to gain ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the whole of Dalmatia, on the grounds that they were the successors of the bishops of Salona, the old metropolis of Dalmatia which had been destroyed. Anxious to curry favor with them, the princes of the Dalmatian Croats tolerated their claims, although these conflicted with the rights of the new national bishopric of Nin; and since the Splitans favored the Latin liturgy, the priests of the Slavonic rite could not rely upon their princes for protection.


But this situation forced the Croat bishops of Nin to stand up for their rights. As has been shown, the conflict came to a head at the Synod of Split in 925 when Pope John X sided with the Archbishop of Split. The decrees of the Synod state that the Pope forbade the use of the Slavonic liturgy and that the Synod confirmed his prohibition. It is often said that the Bishop of Nin vetoed this decision and thereby saved the Slavonic liturgy, yet without furthering its spread in the country. There are, however, scholars who think that the Bishop of Nin was defending not the Slavonic rite, but only his right to jurisdiction over the whole of Croatia and that the synodal decrees forbidding the Slavonic liturgy are interpolations of the eleventh century. [1]



1. See, for example, the study by J. Srebrnić, "Odnošaji pape Ivana X prema Bizantu i Slavenima na Balkanu” (The Relations of Pope John X with Byzantium and the Balkan Slavs), published in Zbornik Kralja Tomislava (Zagreb, 1925), pp. 128-164, with a résumé in French. I also think that the said passages are interpolated. John X was anxious to bring Dalmatia into closer relationship with Rome. The price which the metropolitan of Spalato asked was the suppression of the national Croat bishopric of Nin. This was a great sacrifice on the part of the Croats. To forbid the Slavonic liturgy used in many parts of Croatia would have been too great a risk as it would certainly have strengthened the opposition of Croat nationalists against Spalato. The Acts of the Synod were most probably interpolated towards the end of the eleventh century when Roman reformists started their campaign against national liturgies. This campaign is responsible also for the suppression of the Slavonic liturgy in Bohemia.





In any case, the timely intervention of a legend assured its survival through the Middle Ages. As St. Jerome was a native of Dalmatia and an Illyrian by nationality, he was credited with the invention of the glagolitic letters and the introduction of the Old Slavonic into the liturgy. He was a Saint and a Father of the Western Church. His supposed deed commanded respect and was confirmed by several decisions of the popes in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. So, whether he was willing or not, St. Jerome became the patron saint of the Slavonic liturgy.


This incident shows how the memory of SS. Cyril and Methodius was gradually fading into oblivion in the West and that the suspicion of heresy cast upon their activities by the Frankish clergy — especially on St. Methodius — had done its work. It was dangerous to claim the patronage of such questionable saints; but St. Jerome saved the situation.


In the twelfth century, when the Slavonic liturgy flourished in Macedonia, some intellectual intercourse can be detected between Macedonia and Croatia which favored the survival of glagolitic writing. [1] In Dalmatia it has actually survived, through many vicissitudes, down to the present day. It is still in use along



1. When comparing some linguistic peculiarities contained in glagolitic texts of Croatian origin with texts which originated in Moravia and in Bulgaria, Slavic philologists are more and more inclined to admit that contact between Croatia and the Macedonian centers of Slavonic culture must already have existed in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Cf., for example, the short study by K. Horálek in Slavia XIX (1950), pp. 285-292 ("Kořeny charvatsko-hlaholského písemnictví” — Roots of Glagolitic Literature in Croatia).





the littoral and on the Adriatic islands of Krk (Veglia), Cres (Cherso), Lošinj (Lussin), Rab (Arbe), and in the neighborhood of Zadar (Zara). In Croatia, the Old Slavonic introduced by Cyril and Methodius has undergone alterations with the introduction by copyists of old manuscripts of words and idioms of the Croat language, while the glagolitic letters have become more angular in shape.





Just as in Moravia, Bohemia and Croatia, the West influenced Slavonic literature, although substantially it remained Byzantine, so Byzantium influenced Slavonic literature in Bulgaria. The Vita S. Clementis tells about the introduction of Slavonic letters into that country. This work was written in the eleventh century by the Greek Archbishop of Bulgaria, Theophylactus, who must have read the Slavonic Life — now lost — of this same saint, written in the tenth century. It is learned from this source that the Moravian refugees were cordially received by the commander of the fortress of Belgrade, then a Bulgarian stronghold. The Life makes particular mention of Clement, Naum, Laurentius and Angelarius as being among the refugees. They stayed for a while at the court of Boris in Preslav and then about the year 886, Clement was sent by the Khagan to evangelize Kutmitčevica, in the extreme southwest of Macedonia. Boris’s successor, Symeon the Great (893-927), made him Bishop of Veliča, near Ochrida. Later Naum carried on Clement’s work and this part of Bulgaria became the cradle of the Slavonic liturgy and letters in the Balkans.


This great work was due to the initiative of Clement himself, who first of all made a number of additions to the series of short homilies which had been brought out of Moravia. To him also are attributed homilies for all the feasts of Our Lord and Our Lady and in honor of St. John the Baptist, together with lives of the prophets and the Apostles, discourses on martyrs and Fathers, and hymns in honor of Our Lady and other saints. He also





completed the Slavonic translation of the Triodion, a collection of church hymns. But it is difficult to estimate exactly the number of his translations and original compositions, as the manuscripts of Bulgarian, Serbian and Russian origin are not in agreement on their authorship.


To this first period of Old Slavonic literature in Bulgaria also belong the Vita S. Naumi, a short, original composition written in the spirit of Byzantine hagiography, and a Defense of Slavonic Letters, by an anonymous author called Chrabr, or as translated “The Courageous.” In Bulgaria in Clements time, another translation was also made of a Byzantine collection of canon law, the Syntagma in Fourteen Chapters.





Symeon’s reign is rightly called the Golden Age of Slavonic Letters. It was he who ordered the translation of the extracts from St. John Chrysostom’s works, called Zlatostruj, or the Golden Stream. Also due to him is a collection which is a kind of Byzantine chrestomathy containing quotations from many Greek Fathers and including the questions and answers of Anastasius of Sinai. This very rich collection also contains a short chronograph from Augustus to Constantine Porphyrogennetus and an interesting chapter by George Choiroboskos “On images,” discussing tropes and figures of speech. This work was copied in 1073 for the use of the Kievan Prince Svjatoslav and is known as the Izbornik of Svjatoslav. [1]


The most prominent writer of the school of Preslav was John the Exarch, who by translating part of St. John of Damascus’s famous treatise on the Source of the Faith endowed the young Bulgarian Church with a handbook of dogmatic theology. This book together with a theologico-philosophical treatise on the creation of the world in six days Šestodnjev (Hexaemeron) was



1. See the detailed description of the Izbornik given in the catalogue of MSS. kept in the Library of the Holy Synod (A. Gorskij, K. Novostruev, Opisanie slav. rukopisej II, 2 [Moscow, 1859], pp. 365-405).





based on Byzantine writings, parts of which were simply translated. There are also some sermons attributable to this writer.


The priest Gregory is known only as the translator of the Pentateuch and of the Books of Joshua, Judges and Ruth. Another representative of the same school, Bishop Constantine, translated the sermons of Athanasius of Alexandria, but parts of his collection of Sunday sermons are original. This Bishop also wrote some exquisite poems based on Greek models, but not without a touch of originality. He is also believed to have composed in acrostic a “canon” or short panegyric in honor of St. Methodius. [2]


The same school was also responsible for the adaptation to the Bulgarian idiom of the Old Slavonic translation of the Holy Writ which was attributed to SS. Cyril and Methodius. The Psalter and the Book of Prophets were adapted or “modernized” with special regard to their use in Bulgarian churches, and it was in this school that glagolitic writing was replaced by the so-called Cyrillic writing, which was more akin to the Greek uncial, simplified matters considerably and is still used by the Orthodox Slavs.


This is only a brief summary of the development of Old Slavonic in Bulgaria, but many problems of interest to Byzantinists and Slavonic scholars alike must be solved before a clear picture can be obtained of the literary activity which, under Byzantine inspiration, stirred Eastern and Western Bulgaria in the tenth century. It must, for instance, be established which version of the Holy Writ was used by the Slavonic translators of the Bible. The most popular text in Constantinople in the ninth and tenth centuries seems to have been that of Lukianos, though it is curious to note that the translation of the Book of the Prophets used in Eastern Bulgaria was based upon the so-called Alexandrine or Hesychios’s text of the Septuagint. The West Bulgarian school of Ochrida added to the Old Slavonic translation of the Moravian period the commentary on the Psalms by



2. Two studies have recently been devoted to Constantine of Preslav as a poet of old Bulgaria — that of J. Pović in Bogoslovska Smotra XXIV (Zagreb, 1936), pp. 59-80 and that of D. Kostić in Byzantinoslavica VIII (Prague, 1937-38), pp. 189-211.





Hesychios of Jerusalem. The Slavonic text of the Psalms published by the East Bulgarian school of Preslav differs in many respects from the Moravian and Ochrida edition and is accompanied by the translation of the Greek commentary written by Theodoretos of Kyrrhos.


This may be a minor detail; but its bearing on the literary tradition of the Septuagint text and on Byzantine religious life at this period has its importance. It seems evident that the Slav translators must have chosen the texts that were most popular in Byzantium; for instance, the Alexandrine text composed about the year 290, which was popular at least in those monastic circles in which Symeon the Great had moved before he became Tsar of Bulgaria.


There are similar problems associated with the translations of other scriptural and apocryphal books. It is known that the so-called Book of the Mysteries of Enoch has been preserved only in a Slavonic translation. [1] Three separate versions of this translation are known in Russian, Serbian and Bulgarian manuscripts; but the original translation seems to have been made in Bulgaria during Symeon s reign.


Another thing which throws light upon the religious life of Byzantium in the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries is the choice of homilies translated by Slav writers. Here again, they must have selected those Fathers who were most popular in Byzantium — St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, the favorite saint of Constantine-Cyril, Epiphanius, Ephraemus of Syria and others. The Old Slavonic “Codex Suprasliensis” contains a homily by the Patriarch Photius.


Whoever is interested in Greek hagiography and wishes to trace the manuscript tradition of the Greek collections of the Lives of the Saints, should study the Slavonic translations of the Greek Menaea, or readings from the Lives of the Saints for each month.



1. See the German translation with bibliographical indications by G. N. Bonwetsch, “Die Bücher der Geheimnisse Henochs. Das sogenannte slavische Henochbuch,” Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte d. altchrist. Literatur 44 (Leipzig, 1924).





A better knowledge of the Byzantine origins of Old Slavonic literature would also be fostered if the editions of Slavonic texts were accompanied by the Greek texts from which the Slavonic translations were made. Such an edition does exist at least for one important Old Slavonic text, the Euchologium Sinaiticum, made in 1933 by F. Frček, in the Patrologia Orientalis (R. Graffin, vol. 24).





Public taste in historical matters had an effect on the choice of Greek historical works to be translated and the first Slavonic work of this kind was the translation of John Malalas’s Chronicle from the time of ancient Egypt to the year 563. This was a popular Byzantine chronicle addressed to ordinary people and written in a popular style, and was just the kind of book a Bulgarian translator of the tenth or eleventh centuries would choose in order to give his countrymen an idea of the earliest history of the world. The first translation made in Bulgaria has been lost and it is known only by Russian copies, but it was well known in Bulgaria and Russia, where it became a favorite source for chronicles.


More popular still was the translation of the Greek chronicle by George the Monk or Hamartolos (the Sinner), which is a history of the world from Adam to the year 843. It was supposed until recently that this chronicle was translated in Bulgaria in the tenth or eleventh century. The translation was known by the name of Vremenik. It seems, however, that the translation was made not in Bulgaria, but in Kiev, in the eleventh century, probably with the collaboration of South Slavic and perhaps also Czech translators. [1] This was also one of the main sources of the Russian Primary Chronicle. A second translation of Hamartolos’s chronicle was made in Bulgaria in the fourteenth century and called



1. This seems to emerge from the detailed studies by N. Durnovo and P. A. Lavrov of the text of the translation (published in 1920 in Petrograd, by V. M. Istrin) in Slavia IV (1925-26), pp. 446-484; IX (1930-81), pp. 801-815.





Ljetovnik, which was used by Serbian chroniclers. There also existed a translation of the chronicle of the Patriarch Nicephorus, giving a short account of events from Adam until after the reign of the Emperor Michael III in the ninth century and this is preserved in a Russian manuscript of the thirteenth century. There is also a translation of the short ninth-century chronicle composed by George Syncellus and one of a Byzantine history of the world by an unknown writer. This chronicle was added to the Sunday sermons published by the priest Constantine.


The collection called Hellenic and Roman Chronograph, which is preserved in four different editions and was much read in Russia, seems also to have been translated and compiled in Bulgaria during the Golden Age of its literature. It contains several remnants of the original Bulgarian historiography, and includes the names of some old Bulgarian khagans and some old Bulgarian words. It seems that some Bulgarian annals must have existed, for the Tsar Kaloyan mentions them in his letter to Pope Innocent III in 1202; [1] but unfortunately nothing, so far, save the remnants referred to have come to light.


The Slavic Paleia, an abbreviated version of the Bible with many extracts from apocryphal literature which was very popular at a later date among the Russians, probably also originated in Bulgaria before the twelfth century. That popular handbook of natural science of the Middle Ages, the Greek Physiologus, was another work translated into Slavonic in Bulgaria in the same century.


There are no traces of Old Slavonic translations of Greek philosophical and classical works, but this does not mean that the Bulgarians, or at least the Bulgarian educated classes, were not acquainted with them. Symeon the Great and many other prominent Bulgarians of this period had been educated in Byzantium, and were familiar with the classical lore which was the basis of Byzantine intellectual life. In his Šestodnjev John the Exarch, for example, gives a short account of the teaching of Plato, Aristotle and some other Greek philosophers, but in their literary



1. See above, page 132.





activity the Bulgarian intellectuals were primarily interested in popular works intended for the majority of people, who had no Greek training. Although some of the translations were made for the intellectual élite, it is to be supposed that more works of a scholarly nature would have been translated at a later stage in Bulgaria’s cultural progress, had this not been interrupted by political events.


Bulgarian literary activity naturally reflects some characteristic features of Byzantine literary production and this explains why so many collections of excerpts from Byzantine authors were translated into Old Slavonic. The Byzantines of this period had a great fondness for encyclopedias and collections of extracts from classical and patristic writing. Constantine Porphyrogennetus gave a new impetus to this tendency, a circumstance which explains why Russian literary activity of the Kievan period continued to develop, in great measure, along these lines.


It should be stressed that, in spite of the lack of direct translations of classical philosophical works, Church Slavonic has a very rich philosophical terminology. [1] The Old Slavonic writers developed it when translating some of the Fathers such as St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil and especially John the Damascene. The Slavonic philosophical terminology is, of course, based on the Greek. Later, the Russians continued to build on these foundations, and even the modern Russian language is in this respect mainly indebted for its rich vocabulary to the work of Old Slavonic writers in Moravia, Bulgaria and Kiev.





Another kind of early Bulgarian literature owes its origin to the appearance of the Bogomil heresy, as the heretics liked to spread their ideas in various apocryphal writings, which were translated from the Greek and very popular. Bogomil himself was said to have composed several apocryphal treatises, but, it seems,



1. See on this matter R. Jakobson’s study “Etymological Dictionaries” in Slavic Word I (1953).





that this kind of literature was introduced into Bulgaria not by Bogomil, but by the priest Jeremiah who is often identified with him. This identification seems unwarranted, and the writings attributed to the priest Jeremiah do not show any traces of Bogomil doctrines, at least not in their Old Bulgarian version.


This is particularly true of a book entitled The Legend of the Cross, a compilation of legendary stories from the Old Testament and Apocryphal episodes from the life of Christ made up of: “How Christ was made a priest” — “How Christ plowed with the plough” — “How Christ called Probus His friend,” etc. Also Jeremiah’s compilation entitled Falsehood and Fever and Other Illnesses contains some Christian apocryphal legends (the story of St. Sisinius and the twelve daughters of Herod) made up with certain elements of pagan magical lore, but there is nothing which indicates that the author of the compilation was a Bogomil. Bogomil tendencies which are apparent in a later Russian version of The Legend show, however, that the Bogomils used Jeremiah’s writings to popularize their doctrines. [1]


There is only one apocryphal writing which is an important Bogomil document —the legend of The Sea of Tiberias. Other apocrypha, translated from the Greek,— for example, the Vision of Isaiah, the Book of Enoch, the Apocalypse of Baruch, the Elucidarium, the Story of Adam and Eve and the Gospel of St. Thomas — are of non-Bogomil origin, although they may have been used by the Bogomils for the spread of their doctrine.


The most well known Bogomil piece of literature was the Secret Book or Liber Sancti Johannis, which claimed to contain the answers of Our Lord to questions which John the Apostle had addressed to Him at the Last Supper. The compilation was taken to Italy in the twelfth century by a prominent Bogomil and became, in its Latin translation, an important holy book of the Italian Paterenes.



1. This has been clearly shown by D. Obolensky in his book, The Bogomils (Cambridge, 1948), pp. 271-274 (The Pope Jeremiah). For more details on Bogomil literature, see the book of J. Ivanov, Bogomilskl knigi i legendi (Sofia, 1925).





The most prominent defender of Orthodoxy against the new heresy was the priest Cosmas, a contemporary of Tsar Samuel, and his book entitled Discourse Against the Recent Heresy of Bogomil is one of the most important sources for the study of this religious movement. [1] He was helped in his efforts by the monk Athanasius of Jerusalem, who wrote a book called a Discourse on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.


The date of the composition of the apocryphal works mentioned above is not yet certain, but most of them seem to have been written during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, though an earlier date should not be ruled out. The same should be said about other popular apocryphal writings. Some of them were ascribed to John the Apostle, to St. John Chrysostom, Gregory the Theologian and Basil of Caesarea. Other very popular works were the Descent of the Holy Virgin into Hell, apocryphal stories on Adam and Eve, on Daniel, Samson, on Christ’s Infancy, and on Solomon and Kitovras (Centaur).


The Byzantines also gave the Bulgarians material for their epic literature. The book of Pseudo-Kallisthenes on Alexander the Great, which is the source of the Romance of Alexander so well-known in medieval Europe, must have been translated into Bulgarian during the first Bulgarian Empire, and the Old Slavonic translation of the chronicle of Malalas — from the tenth century — contains the Legend of Troy which is based on the Greek text of Pseudo-Dictys.


The Greek romance about Digenes Akritas, celebrating the exploits of this Christian hero in his fight with the Musulmans in Asia Minor, was also translated [2] into Old Slavonic but, according to recent research in Russia, and not, as was hitherto thought, in Bulgaria. The Byzantine romance, Barlaam and Josaphat, which is a Christian adaptation of the Life of Buddha, was translated



1. See H. Ch. Puech, A. Vaillant, Le traité contre les Bogomiles de Cosmas le Prêtre, traduction et étude (Paris, 1945, Travaux de l’Institut d’Études Slaves XXI). Cf. ibid., pp. 128 ff. Puech’s judicious remarks on the Apocrypha, the authorship of which is attributed to Bogomil.


2. Cf. H. Grégoires work in modern Greek Ho Digenes Akritas (New York, 1942).





in Bulgaria and the romance of Tsar Sinagrip and his Minister Akir, which was taken from the famous Arab cycle, Thousand and One Nights, was also translated into Old Slavonic from a Greek adaptation and also became popular in Russia, The Greek text has not been preserved.





All these writings show that the cultural level of the first Bulgarian Empire was high. This fact explains why it happened that this new Slavo-Christian culture made its first conquest by influencing profoundly the subsequent history of a non-Slavic nation — the Rumanians. The latter, called also Vlachs, were established on the territory occupied by the Bulgarian Slavs, from the end of the third century. They were settled there by the Romans when the latter had evacuated not only their legions but also the half-Romanized Dacian population from their province of Dacia. The romanization and Christianization of the Dacians was completed in their new home — the Latin provinces, Dacia Ripensis, Dacia Mediterranea and Dardania.


The former home of the Dacians became a kind of no man’s land, which was successively occupied by the Sarmatians, Germanic Gepids and Goths, the Huns, the Avars and other barbarian hordes. From the sixth century onwards, the Roman provinces on the right bank of the Danube were fought over by many invaders, the populations suffering terribly at the hands of the Huns and the Avars. Christian centers and monuments were destroyed and, when the Slavs took possession of the country, the Daco-Illyrian native population was reduced to an inferior status. The Latinized former Dacians, now called Vlachs, took refuge in the mountainous terrain, leading a half nomadic life with their herds of goats and sheep, but their language was profoundly influenced by the Slavic idiom. Besides 2,600 words of the old Latin stock, the modern Rumanian language has 3,800 Slavic terms in addition to some Albanian words. In spite of that, the Vlachs were not Slavicized.





When, after the destruction of the Avar Empire, the Bulgars occupied ancient Dacia — modern Transylvania — the Vlachs started to cross the Danube, taking possession once more of the ancient home of their ancestors. The Russian Primary Chronicle (year 6406; 898) is probably well informed in stating that the Magyars, when invading modern Hungary, had to fight not only the Slavs, but also the Vlachs:


“The Ugri (Magyars) . . . . struggled across the great mountains and began to fight against the Vlachs and the Slavs in that region. For the Slavs had settled there first, but the Vlachs had seized the territory of the Slavs. The Ugri subsequently expelled the Vlachs, took their land and settled among the Slavs, whom they reduced to submission. From that time this territory was called Hungarian (Ugor’ska).” [1]


The symbiosis of the Vlachs with the Slavs had interesting consequences for both nations. The Vlachs were Christians from the fourth century onwards and the first knowledge of Christianity should thus have penetrated to the Slavs from the native Vlach and Illyrian population. If it should be true that the Slavic word for church, cerŭky, is not derived from the Greek word kyrikon but from the Rumanian word biserica [2] (from the Latin basilica), it would be found to be an interesting instance of Rumanian influence on the Bulgarian Slavs.


The cultural growth of Bulgaria under Symeon the Great soon started to exercise a profound influence on the Vlachs and although they had been first evangelized by Latin missionaries, they now accepted the Eastern liturgy in the Slavonic language. The Slavonic alphabet was adopted by them and Slavonic literature became also one of their cultural assets. The Bulgarian



1. S. H. Cross’s translation of this passage is not correct. Instead of "Ugri” he puts “Huns.” In spite of their subjection to the Magyars, the number of Vlachs grew in Transylvania; it is probable that the Hungarian kings made repeated appeals to them to colonize this country, threatened by the Pechenegs and the Cumans. It seems also that the two other Rumanian provinces — Wallachia and Moldavia — between the Carpathian Mountains and the Danube and the Pruth started to be colonized by the Vlach-Rumanians from Transylvania.


2. See for details, G. Gunnarsson, Das slavische Wort für Kirche (Uppsala, 1937).





Church took over their Christian education and Ochrida became the cultural center from which both Slavs and Rumanians received their spiritual guidance and cultural inspiration.


This situation lasted not only during the reign of the Bulgarian Tsars Symeon the Great, Peter and Samuel, but also after the suppression of the Bulgarian Patriarchate and the destruction of the first Bulgarian Empire. A special bishopric for “Vlachs of all Bulgaria” figures among the sees placed by Basil II under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Ochrida. So it came about that the Rumanians, formerly Christianized by the Latin Church, became dependent on the Patriarchs of Constantinople through the influence of the Bulgarian Patriarchs and then of the autonomous Archbishops of Ochrida.


The Slavonic language and liturgy were naturally adopted by all Rumanians and were in use for centuries, not only among the Bulgarian and Transylvanian Rumanians, but also in the new Rumanian principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, which emerged in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It was only then that the Rumanian Church came into being, but it continued to use the Slavonic liturgy and writing until the end of the seventeenth century. [1]



1. For a rapid review of the main problems concerning the origins of the Rumanians see F. Lot, Les invasions barbares (Paris, 1937), vol. I, pp. 278-300, where the main bibliography is given. On the Slavo-Rumanian relations, see the short but clear and well-written study by G. Nandriş, “The Beginnings of Slavonic Culture in the Rumanian Countries” (The Slavonic and East European Review XXIV [1946], 160-171). See also his study, “The Development and Structure of Rumanian,” ibid. XXIX (1951), pp. 17-39.


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