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in the autumn of the same year at Poson was calculated to confirm the Bulgarians in their change of policy, and in the course of the winter the details of the treaty were arranged. The envoys whom Boris sent to Constantinople were baptized there;2 this was a pledge of the loyal intentions of their master. When the peace was finally concluded (A.D. 864-5), the king himself received baptism. The Emperor acted as his sponsor, and the royal proselyte adopted the name of Michael. The infant Church of Bulgaria was included in the see of Constantinople.
Popular and ecclesiastical interest turned rather to the personal side of the conversion of the Bulgarian monarch than to its political aspects, and the opportunity was not lost of inventing edifying tales. According to one story, Boris became acquainted with the elements of Christian doctrine by conversations with a captive monk, Theodore Kupharas. The Empress Theodora offered him a ransom for this monk, and then restored to him his sister who had been led captive by the Greeks and honourably detained in the Imperial palace at Constantinople, where she had embraced the Christian faith. When she returned to her country she laboured incessantly to convert her brother. He remained loyal to his own religion until Bulgaria was visited by a terrible famine, and then he was moved to appeal to the God whom Theodore Kupharas and his own sister had urged him to worship. There are two points of interest in this tale. It reflects the element of feminine influence, which is said to have played a part in the conversions of many barbarian chiefs, and which, for all we know, may have co-operated in shaping the decision of Boris ; and it represents the famine, which prevailed in Bulgaria at the time of Michael's invasion, as a divine visitation designed to lead that country to the true religion. Another tale, which bears on the face of it a monkish origin, is of a more sensational kind.? Boris was passionately addicted to hunting, and he desired to feast his eyes upon the scenes of the chase during those nocturnal hours of leisure in which he could not indulge in his favourite pursuit. He sent for a Greek monk, Methodius by name, who practised the art of painting, but instead of commanding him to execute pictures of hunting as he had intended, the king was suddenly moved by a divine impulse to give him different directions. "I do not want you to depict," he said, “ the slaughter of men in battle, or of animals in the hunting-field; paint anything you like that will strike terror into the hearts of those that gaze upon it.” Methodius could imagine nothing more terrible than the second coming of God, and he painted a scene of the Last Judgment, exhibiting the righteous receiving their rewards, and the wicked ignominiously dismissed to their everlasting punishment. In consequence of the terror produced by this spectacle, Boris received instruction in Christian doctrine and was secretly baptized at night.
define the western frontier of Bulgaria,
1 Cp. Gen. 97.
3 In Bulgaria (ib.). Cp. Gen. ib., Cont. Th. 163.
4 The narrative fixes 864 as the earliest date for the baptism of Boris. There is Other evidence. Photius, writing in A.D. 867 (Ep. 4. p. 168) and
speaking of the Latin priests sent from Rome towards the end of A.D. 866, remarks that the Bulgarians at that time had been Christians for less than two years (ουδ' εις δύο ενιαυτούς). This gives the date as A. D. 864-865. For A.D. 865 see my Chronological Cycle, p. 142, where I point out that the Bulgarian date for the baptism, given in the Poslieslovie of Tudor (apud Kalaidovich, Ioannes Exarkh, p. 98), is to be explained as tokh vechen, which, on my interpretation of the chronological system, = A. D. 865. The date A.M. 6377 =A.D. 869 is given in Vita S. Clementis, c. 4. p. 7, for the “call” (klîous) of the Bulgarians.
5 Cont. Th. 162-163. The captivity of a sister of Boris seems highly improbable, but it is of course quite possible that he had a sister who was a convert.
In changing his superstition, Boris had to reckon with his people, and the situation tested his strength as a king. He forced his subjects to submit to the rite of baptism, and his policy led to a rebellion. The nobles, incensed at his apostasy, stirred up the people to slay him, and all the Bulgarians of the ten districts of the kingdom gathered round
1 Cont. Th. 163-164. Methodius the painter has sometimes been confounded with Methodius the apostle of the Slavs.
2 It is probable enough that the famine also had its psychological infly Cp. Ann. Bert. 85, “Deo... signis atque afflictionibus in populo regni sui monente.”
The sources for the rebellion are (1) Nicolaus, Responsa, 17; (2) Ann.
Bert. (i.e. Hincmar) A.D. 866, p. 85, which gives the details ; and (3) the brief notice in Cont. Th. 164. In the latter there is nothing miraculous, but in the words oύς και μετά τινών ολίγων καταπολεμήσας it agrees with the general drift of Hincmar.
4 Nicolaus, Responsa, ib. “postquam baptisati fuere." "In Cont. Th. the baptism seems to follow the suppression of the revolt.
his palace, perhaps at Pliska. We cannot tell how he succeeded in suppressing this formidable revolt, for the rest of the story, as it reached the ears of Bishop Hincmar of Reims, is of a miraculous nature. Boris had only fortyeight devoted followers, who like himself were Christians. Invoking the name of Christ," he issued from his palace against the menacing multitude, and as the gates opened seven clergy, each with a lighted taper in his hand, suddenly appeared and walked in front of the royal procession. Then the rebellious crowd was affected with a strange illusion. They fancied that the palace was on fire and was about to fall on their heads, and that the horses of the king and his followers were walking erect on their hind feet and kicking them with their fore feet. Subdued by mortal terror, they could neither flee nor prepare to strike; they fell prostrate on the ground. When we are told that the king put to death fiftytwo nobles, who were the active leaders of the insurrection, and spared all the rest, we are back in the region of sober facts. But Boris not only put to death the magnates who had conspired against his life; he also destroyed all their children.? This precaution against future conspiracies of sons thirsting to avenge their fathers has also a political significance as a blow struck at the dominant race, and must be taken in connexion with the gradual transformation of the Bulgarian into a Slavonic kingdom.»
Greek clergy now poured into Bulgaria to baptize and teach the people and to organize the Church. The Patriarch Photius indited a long letter to his “illustrious and wellbeloved son,” Michael, the Archon of Bulgaria, whom he calls the "fair jewel of his labours.” In the polished style which could only be appreciated and perhaps understood by the welltrained ears of those who had enjoyed the privilege of higher education, the Patriarch sets forth the foundations of the Christian faith. Having cited the text of the creed of Nicaea
1 So Hincmar; according to Cont. Th. he carried a cross on his breast.
2 Nicolaus, Responsa, ib. primates eorum atque maiores cum omni prole sua.
3 So Uspenski (Aboba, 105).
4 ώ καλόν άγαλμα των εμών πόνων, Ep. 9. p. 204. From this and other
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. 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. 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. 3 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 2 Nic. Resp. 106. Snopek (Konst.in his notes. There are many re- Cyr. 17) states that the Armenians semblances between the precepts of mentioned here
Paulicians. Photius and the Admonitions (IIap- This seems highly probable. alvéo els) of Basil I. to his son Leo VI.
3 lb. 14.
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.? 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.).
? 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).