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Bogomilism (Bulgarian: Богомилство) was a heretical Gnostic dualistic sect, the synthesis of Armenian Paulicianism and the Bulgarian Slavonic Church reform movement, which emerged in Bulgaria between 927 and 970 and spread into Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, Serbia, Bosnia, Italy, and France.

Bogomils, adherents of Bogomilism, were followers of an Orthodox Cleric, likely a priest, from Bulgaria by the name of Bogomil (Gr. Theophylus) active around 950 A.D. Their doctrine most resembles Armenian Paulicianism and earlier Gnostic sects in its insistence upon Dualism. In its Christian form Gnosticism tended to insist upon an "appearance" of flesh for Christ since "true flesh" would be a hindrance to his work of Salvation rather than an aid. The earliest record of Bogomilian theology comes from a work entitled, Against the Newly-Appeared Heresy of the Bogomils written in Staro-Slav by St. Kozma in the 10th century. A 12th century work by the author Euthymius Zigabenus claimed that the Bogomils believed man's soul to have been created by God, but that all matter was invented by Satan, the elder son of God. As a consequence of their belief that the grace of God could not adhere to flesh / matter the Bogomils believed that Christ had only the appearance of a human body. They also reject the Eucharist and other sacraments, as well as relics... on the basis of their ties to physical nature. They also practiced a very austere asceticism, vegetarianism and celibacy like the Cathari and Albigensians due to their hatred of their own fleshly bodies.

External link


  • John Frye Stearns, Bogomilism: the great Bulgarian heresy, Dissertation: Thesis (B.D.), Chicago Theological Seminary, 1929
  • Nicholas Nikoloff, Bogomilism: a study of the "Bulgarian heresy" as an expression of the the principle of Puritanism, Dissertation: Thesis (M.R.E.), Biblical Seminary in New York, 1940
  • Boris Zidaroff, The bogomilism and its literary heritage in mediaeval Bulgaria. Dissertation: Thèse (Ph. d.)--Université de Montréal, 1963
  • Dragan Taškovski, Bogomilism in Macedonia Skopje : Macedonian Review Editions, 1975
  • Bogomilism in the Balkans in the light of the latest research : proceedings of the Symposium held in Skopje on May 30, 31st and June 1st 1978. by Makedonska akademija na naukite i umetnostite.; Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti.; Akademija nauka i umjetnosti Bosne i Hercegovine.; Skopje : Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts : Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts : Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Hertsegovina, 1982.
  • Ioan P Culianu, The tree of gnosis: gnostic mythology from early Christianity to modern nihilism,

Harper SanFrancisco, 1992