Dear readers,

 

Original Bogomil philosophy does not constitute tenets of faith alone. Take the Secret Book of the Bogomils and you shall see that it is a remarkable amalgam of ideas and imagery - in other words, besides theology it is beautiful literature. The same stylistic feature is characteristic of familiar Bogomil or Bogomilised apocrypha like the Vision of Isaiah, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Nicodemus and The Book of the Secrets of Enoch.

 Ever since the need of studying Bogomilism arose in the 19th century time witnessed the prevalence of a primarily pragmatic approach, while imagination and feelings that enjoy such an important field in this teaching and that attracted millions of followers, we left in the background. Sufficiently successful reconstruction of its innermost secrets was not achieved because the artistic aspect was underestimated.

 In his cycle titled Some Sermons of Priest Bogomil the great thinker and poet Stefan Gechev reconstructed the vivid dialectic imagery inherent to original Bogomil speech, to Bogomil initiation.

 

 THE SERMONS OF PRIEST BOGOMIL

(Unpublished in English)

 

SECOND SERMON

My brethren,

I am not come to preach

but to make a confession,

because the best way to learn

is from thy neighbour’s sins.

 

I am not come to give you bread

but to help you see

that you are hungry.

I am not come to make you free

but to help you see

that you are slaves.

Instead of light,

I am bringing you wind.

 

Fear not the wind.

Let those content

fear the wind,

those who will always want

the fruit-bearing rain to fall on their fields,

the life-giving sun to shine on their lands,

and never a lightning to strike

nor dark waters sweep their homes away.

 

Fear not the wind

which brings

low, heavy clouds

because

in their pregnant womb

thunder and lightning

are brewing.

 

My brethren,

Here I come

to confess to you

that I am the wind.

And you

must become wind,

or else,

you will be slaves

until the end of time

and not know it.

 

To my disciples

I thus speak:

the fastest, hardest road to freedom

is submission.

Go find the meanest master

become his slaves, obey him

and follow his wishes.

Only then

will your hearts be big and free.

And when you know the day

that your master is become a slave,

then leave him,

with mercy.

 

 

FOURTH SERMON

 

I beg you, brethren, hit the road

For now you are rooted in the earth

The fruit-tree branches holding you back

The golden corn binding you with its bonds,

The earthen chains stopping you still.

Break free of those chains

And hit the roads,

That criss-cross the globe.

Strange trees will lure you

The fragrance of their bloom

and the sweetness of their fruit

will try to hold you captive.

But you will see through their crafty song

and know

The bolting arrows of paralyzing fear.

And you will be faster

for movement means freedom.

 

You will meet beasts and men and idols on your way.

First make friends with the beasts

and kill them then.

First worship the idols,

and then dismantle them.

First talk to people,

and then leave.

This is how you will give them all

Freedom, hatred, love and mercy.

 

(And to his students only:)

But if you wish to wander free

All over the world

Just stand still and do not move

But only contemplate

The tiniest yellow flower

And beg of it

humbly

to turn you too

into a dandelion.

 

 

 

FIFTH SERMON

(About trees)

Fragments

Before learning to connect

you must learn to separate

Therefore my sermon

is

about the god and the devil

------

Who will teach you

when I am gone?

Dare not learn from the stone,

it is not for you.

Learn from the trees.

----

Look at the oak-tree

that mightiest of trees

which bears tiny acorns

food fit for swine.

----

Look at the chestnut-tree

its leaves most sheltering in the summer,

its fruit most prickly in the fall.

---

Look at the aspen-tree

its leaves quivering alike

in calm and wind.

----

And above all,

learn from the poplar-tree.

Its branches grow

not sideways

but upwards.

It keeps its strength

to tower high.

 

 

Translated by Stefana Roussenova


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