In mid-9th century Bulgaria, the elite of Proto-Bulgarians (nomadic Bulgarians speaking an Altaic language) was still pagan, adhered to their ancient religions. However, the majority of the population was Slavic, and many of them had accepted christianity. Most of the slaves, abducted into Bulgaria on earlier raids, also were christians. In addition, newly conquered territories, most notably Macedonia, were throroughly christian.
Under Khan OMURTAG (814-831) christians still were subject to persecutions; Khan BORIS (852-888) in 864 accepted Baptism according to the Greek Orthodox rite. Bulgaria was the first Slavic country to accept christianity; the GLAGOLITIC alphabet developed by ST. CYRIL and ST. METHODIUS for the Greater Moravian Empire was introduced. The major missionary involved in the conversion of the Bulgarians and the creation of a Bulgarian literature was ST. KLIMENT of Ohrid. Bulgaria's capital was located at PLISKA.
Christianization strengthened the ruler's position, the title of whom now was Kniaz (king), toward the BOYARS (nobles), some of whom rejected baptism and were executed. It also reduced the rift between the Proto-Bulgarian elite and the Slavic mass of the population. One product of christianization was the development of the SLAVO-BULGARIAN LANGUAGE, in which the Slavic element dominates.

Library of Congress, Country Studies : Bulgaria
Bulgarian History Timeline, from timelines.ws
The Church of Imperial Byzantium
L.P. Brockett, The Bogomils of Bulgaria and Bosnia, 1879
Bulgaria's Relation with Byzantium, by Dimiter Markovski
DOCUMENTS Historical maps of the Balkans, from Perry Castaneda Library, UTexas
REFERENCE R.J. Crampton, A Concise History of Bulgaria, Cambridge Concise Histories 1997, KMLA Lib.Sign. 949.7 C889a
Article : Bulgaria, pp.623-636, in : Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia vol.14, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 032 B862n v.14
Raymond Detrez, Historical Dictionary of Bulgaria, Lanham Md. : Scarecrow 2006, KMLA Lib.Sign. R 949.9003 D 483h

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First posted in 2000, last revised on November 7th 2004

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