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and Constantinople, he proceeds to give a brief, but too long, history of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, in order to secure his new convert against the various pitfalls of heresy which lie so close to the narrow path of orthodox belief. The second part of the letter is devoted to ethical precepts and admonitions. Having attempted to deduce the universal principles of morality from the two commandments, to love God and thy neighbour as thyself, Photius traces the portrait of the ideal prince. Isocrates had delineated a similar portrait for the instruction of Nicocles, prince of Cyprus, and Photius has blended the judicious counsels of the Athenian teacher with the wisdom of Solomon's Proverbs and Jesus the son of Sirach.1 The philosophical reader observes with interest that it is not Christian but pre-Christian works to which the Patriarch resorts for his practical morality. Seldom has such a lecture been addressed to the patient ears of a barbarian convert, and we should be curious to know what ideas it conveyed to the Bulgarian king, when it was interpreted in Bulgarian or Slavonic. The theological essay of the Patriarch can hardly have simplified for the minds of Boris and his subjects those abstruse metaphysical tenets of faith which the Christian is required to profess, and the lofty ideal of conduct, which he delineated, assuredly did not help them to solve the practical difficulties of adjusting their native customs to the demands of their new religion.
Not only Greek priests, but Armenians and others, busied themselves in spreading their faith, and the natives were puzzled by the discrepancies of their teaching.2 A grave scandal was caused when it was discovered that a Greek who baptized many was not really a priest, and the unfortunate man was condemned by the indignant barbarians to lose his ears and nose, to be beaten with cruel stripes, and driven from the country which he had deceived. A year's experience of the missionaries by whom his dominion was inundated may probably have disappointed Boris. Perhaps he would not have broken with Byzantium if it had not become evident
1 This has been shown by Valettas in his notes. There are many resemblances between the precepts of Photius and the Admonitions (Пapaivéreis) of Basil I. to his son Leo VI.
2 Nic. Resp. 106. Snopek (Konst.Cyr. 17) states that the Armenians mentioned here were Paulicians. This seems highly probable. 3 lb. 14.
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that the Patriarch was determined to keep the new Church in close dependence on himself, and was reluctant to appoint a bishop for Bulgaria. But it is evident that Boris felt at the moment able to defy the Imperial government. The strained relations which existed between Rome and Constantinople suggested the probability that the Pope might easily be induced to interfere, and that under his authority the Bulgarian Church might be organized in a manner more agreeable to the king's views. Accordingly he despatched ambassadors to Rome who appeared before Pope Nicolas (August A.D. 866), asked him to send a bishop and priests to their country, and submitted to him one hundred and six questions as to the social and religious obligations which their new faith imposed upon their countrymen. They also presented to him, along with other gifts, the arms which the king had worn when he triumphed over his unbelieving adversaries.2 Boris at the same time sent an embassy to King Lewis, begging him to send a bishop and priests. The Pope selected Paul, bishop of Populonia, and Formosus, bishop of Porto, as his legates, to introduce the Roman rites in Bulgaria, and add a new province to his spiritual empire. He provided them with the necessary ecclesiastical books and paraphernalia, and he sent by their hands a full reply in writing to the numerous questions, trivial or important, on which the Bulgarians had consulted him.
This papal document is marked by the caution and moderation which have generally characterized the policy of the ablest Popes when they have not been quite sure of their ground. It is evident that Nicolas was anxious not to lay too heavy a yoke upon the converts, and it is interesting to notice what he permits and what he forbids. He insists on the observance of the fasts of the Church, on abstinence from
1 Ann. Bert. 86; for the date, Vit. Nicol. pap. 156. The names of the Bulgarian envoys were Peter, a relative of Boris, John, and Martin; Mansi, xvii. 128 (in a letter of Pope John viii.).
2 Ann. Bert. ib. King Lewis, when he heard of this, bade the Pope send the arms, etc. to him.
3 Ib. Lewis asked his brother the Emperor Charles to send him vessels,
vestments, and books for the use of the Bulgarian Church; "unde Karolus ab episcopis regni sui non parvam summam accipiens misit ei ad dirigendum regi" (I have inserted misit, which seems indispensable). Lewis sent a bishop with priests and deacons, but finding that the bishops sent by the Pope were already actively engaged in baptizing, they immediately returned: Ann. Fuld. 380 (A.D. 867).
work on holy days, on the prohibition of marriages within the forbidden degrees. Besides these taboos, he lays down that it is unlawful to enter a church with a turban on the head,1 and that no food may be tasted before nine o'clock in the morning. On the other hand, he discountenances some taboos which the Greek priests had sought to impose, that it is unlawful to bathe on Wednesdays and Fridays, and to eat the flesh of an animal that has been killed by a eunuch. But he rules that it is not allowable to taste an animal which has been hunted by a Christian if it has been killed by a pagan, or killed by a Christian if it has been hunted by a pagan. The Bulgarians had inquired whether they should adopt the habit of wearing drawers; he replied that it was a matter of no importance. It was the custom for their king to eat in solitary grandeur, not even his wife was permitted to sit beside him. The Pope observes that this is bad manners and that Jesus Christ did not disdain to eat with publicans and sinners, but candidly affirms that it is not wrong nor irreligious. He bids them substitute the cross for the horse's tail which was their military standard. He strictly prohibits the practice of pagan superstitions, the use of healing charms, and swearing by the sword. He commands them to discontinue the singing of songs and taking of auguries before battle, and exhorts them to prepare for combat by reciting prayers, opening prisons, liberating slaves, and bestowing alms. He condemns the superstition of sortes biblicae to which the Greeks resorted.2
A pleasing feature of the Pope's Responses is his solicitude to humanize the Bulgarians by advising them to mitigate their punishments in dealing with offenders. He sternly denounces, and supports his denunciation by the argument of common sense, the use of torture for extracting confessions from accused persons. He condemns the measures which had been taken to destroy the rebels and their families as severe and unjust,1 and censures the punishment which had been inflicted on the Greek who had masqueraded as a priest. He enjoins the right of asylum in churches, and lays down that even parricides and fratricides who seek the refuge of the sanctuary should be treated with mildness. But in the eyes of the medieval
1 Nic. Resp. 66 (cum ligatura lintei).
2 Ib. 77.
3 lb. 86.
Christian, murder, which the unenlightened sense of antiquity regarded as the gravest criminal offence, was a more pardonable transgression than the monstrous sin of possessing two wives. "The crime of homicide," the Pope asserts, "the crime of Cain against Abel, could be wiped out in the ninth generation by the flood; but the heinous sin of adultery perpetrated by Lamech could not be atoned for till the seventy-seventh generation by the blood of Christ."1 The Bulgarians are commanded, not indeed, as we might expect, to put the bigamist to death, but to compel him to repudiate the unfortunate woman who had the later claim upon his protection and to perform the penance imposed by the priest.
The treatment of unbelievers was one of the more pressing questions which Nicolas was asked to decide, and his ruling on this point has some interest for the theory of religious persecution. A distinction is drawn between the case of pagans who worship idols and refuse to accept the new faith, and the case of apostates who have embraced or promised to embrace it, but have slidden back into infidelity. No personal violence is to be offered to the former, no direct compulsion is to be applied, because conversion must be voluntary; but they are to be excluded from the society of Christians. In the case of a backslider, persuasive means should first be employed to recall him to the faith; but if the attempts of the Church fail to reform him, it is the duty of the secular power to crush him. "For if Christian governments did not exert themselves against persons of this kind, how could they render to God an account of their rule; for it is the function of Christian kings to preserve the Church their mother in peace and undiminished. We read that King Nebuchadnezzar decreed, when the three children were delivered from the flames, Whosoever shall blaspheme the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall perish, and their houses shall be destroyed.' If a barbarian king could be so wroth at blasphemy against the God of Israel because he could deliver three children from temporal fire, how much greater wrath should be felt by Christian kings at the denial and mockery of Christ who can deliver the whole world, with the kings themselves, from everlasting fire. Those who are convicted of lying or infidelity to kings are seldom if 1 Nic. Resp. 51.
ever allowed to escape alive; how great should be the royal
In the eyes of Boris the most important question submitted
The Latin ecclesiastics worked for more than a year (A.D. 866-867) in the land which the Pope hoped he had annexed to the spiritual dominion of Rome.2 Bulgaria, however, was not destined to belong to the Latin Church; her fate was linked in the religious as in the political sphere to Constantinople. But the defeat of papal hopes and the triumph of Byzantine diplomacy transcend the limits of the present volume.
§ 3. The Slavonic Apostles
The Slavonic land of Moravia, which extended into the modern Hungary as far eastward as the river Gran, was split into small principalities, the rivalries of whose lords invited the interference of the Franks. The margraves of the East Mark looked on the country as a client state; the archbishops of Passau considered it as within their spiritual jurisdiction; and German ecclesiastics worked here and there in the land, though Christian theology had penetrated_but_little into the
1 Vit. Nic. pap. 157.
2 For the denunciation of their prac
tices by Photius, see above, Chap. VI.