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By Matthew Spinka

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Extra resources for A History of Christianity in the Balkans

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Since the eight Slavic tribes occupying this region developed no sort of confederation or union, the method of converting the ruler of the nation and through him the subjects was ex cluded. This peaceful and piecemeal process of Christianization was rudely interrupted by the invasion of the Bulgarians. The original home of these nomads extended over the re gions of the central Volga to the river Kama, and they were probably of Finnish (Ugrian) or else of Tartar origin mixed with Turkish stock. Some tribes of these people had moved THE RUIN OF GRAECO-ROMAN AND 26 south to the shores of the Sea of Azov, but in the seventh century, after the death of their Christian khan Kubrat (or Kurt), his five sons separated.

At the center of this strategic and well-protected territory lay Pliska, northeast of Shumla, where the sublime khan, as the ruler of the Bulgars was called, built his palace and held court. This form of governmental organization of the Bulgars and Slavs is further confirmed by Frankish sources of the ninth century which speak of it as Bulgarorum societas. Thus the Slavic tribes were for the first time definitely held to The gether by the military overlordship of the Bulgars. sway of the new masters of the north-eastern Balkans ex tended south to the Haemus (Balkan) Mountains, and on the north to an undefined boundary somewhere in Wallachia On and Transylvania, where it adjoined the Avar empire.

In 889 he resigned his throne, after thirty-seven years of reign, and assuming the monastic habit, joined his beloved com He gave himself there to the munity of St. Panteleimon. task of furthering the production of Slavic literature and to organizing of like activity on the part of others. His voluntary abdication of power bears witness to the depth of his devotion to the religion he had adopted. His oldest son, Vladimir (889-93), who ascended the throne after Boris' abdication, did not prove to be a worthy ruler.

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