In order to gain an idea of the scale of the Paisii case, it is necessary to place it correctly in time and see in what environment it is made. We have to bear in mind that in 1762, when Slavic-Bulgarian History was written, modern enlightened nationalism was still unpopular with Europe and the world. The great French bourgeois revolution of 1789 was a historical event of the most radical nature whose legal consequences were the replacement of the legitimate right of the monarch with the right of the people. With the "Declaration of Human and Citizens' Rights" of August 1789 in France, sovereignty moves from the personality of the ruler to the people as a legal entity. At the same time, it is a requirement that all members of the nation have equal rights, not only civil but also human (from the slogan "Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood"), and not as in the republics of antiquity - political rights to have only "citizens", ie free people, but not slaves.
Since July 4, 1776 has been the "Declaration of Independence" signed by the 13 State, which proclaims the will of the state in the New World. Both commented events follow chronologically with several years of writing "Slavonic-Bulgarian History". These two later events of Slavic-Bulgarian History marked the beginning of the legitimation of nationalism, of the emergence of the nation-state in international law, with all its consequences - the codification of national languages, the creation of national history, national education, national health, national monuments and symbols, etc.
Let's see what the power trends in the Old World are from that time!
In Europe, fashion is absolutism. The political map is divided mainly between several empires in which power rests on the divine right of its rulers. There is no legal separation of powers; the authority of the ruler is limited by law. This is precisely the situation in the Bulgarian lands under Ottoman rule. This is the case in the Russian and Holy Roman (Austria / Austria-Hungary) empires. Germany and Italy have not yet become independent states.
How slowly the national feeling among the people of Europe developed, we can judge from the following story, dating back almost a century after the writing of the Paisii story. In 1861, after the unification of Italy and the proclamation of the Italian Kingdom, the Italian King Victor Emanuel II addressed the famous revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi with the words: "We made Italy, now do the Italians."
These rapid strokes serve as a benchmark in the troubled times of Europe, when the people / nation in individual political units (states / empires) still lack their categorical ideological conditionality. The people, whether Bulgarian, Greek, German, Italian, etc., do not have their democratic representation and their institutions as they exist today. It is generally acceptable at that time for the history of the world to be created by monarchs under their God-given right. Europe is in the age of feudalism. History is written and told not from the point of view of individual nations, but from the point of view of biblical notions of what is happening in the Creation of the world today.
The powerful rulers of Europe in the eighteenth century, the time in which Paisii Hilendarski lived and worked, often had backward perceptions of the future development of the world, lacking the foresight to perceive the imminent emergence of nations and nation states, often ignoring the patriotic aspirations of their subjects. Here is an eloquent example:
In a letter dated September 10, 1782 (21 after the writing of the Paisii History), the Russian Empress Catherine the Great offered the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Joseph II a redesign of the map of the European Southeast (sharing the Ottoman heritage), called the Ottoman heritage. Greek project. It was envisaged that the Byzantine Empire, headed by Emperor Konstantin Pavlovich, the granddaughter of the Empress, would be restored on the territory of Bulgaria, northern Greece and parts of Serbia. On the territory of Wallachia, Moldova and Bessarabia the kingdom of Dacia, etc. should have emerged.
It seems that it does not matter to the imperial interests of the Great Powers what the wishes of the small nations are. The unfulfilled "Greek" project is an eloquent example of how the Great Powers may disregard national self-determination when negotiating their strategic plans. To resist such ideas, in order for peoples to be masters of their own destinies, it was necessary, first and foremost, for every nation to have patriots like Paisii Hilendarski in its ranks.
So let us be aware: Paisii Hilendarski with his patriotic spirit and his work has outstripped his time by several decades - The Berlin Congress (1878) is somewhat similar to Catherine the Great's "Greek Project". During the 1878, the Great Powers concert declared that there would be no single political territory for the Bulgarian nation, despite the number of victims of Bulgarians and Russians in the Russo-Turkish War of Liberation, and gave birth to an absolutely artificial unit in terms of historical functionality. is Eastern Rumelia.
To emphasize again; in order not to resemble the Greek project of Catherine the Great, in order not to have projects such as Eastern Rumelia aiming at political rupture of the Bulgarian nation, people like Paisii were needed. But Paisius is the first of a long line of such personalities, so he must be honored with the First.
Paisius is a man of modest pretensions, whose case speaks to his personality far more than his social background. This is how he expresses himself in the History of Slavonic Bulgarian: “So I despised my headache, from which I suffered for a long time, and I suffered from a long time from my stomach - I despised it because of the great desire I had. And for a long time, I barely gathered the buried and forgotten things together - I wrote speeches and words. I did not study any grammar or secular sciences, but I just wrote about ordinary Bulgarians. I did not try grammatically to spell words and spell words, but to bring this historian together. "
What are his motives for writing the work of his life, we learn again in the text: I have seen that many Bulgarians do so and go in a foreign language and custom, and their blasphemy. That's why I wrote here for those who don't like their kind and language. And for you who love to know and listen to your own language and language, I have written to know that our Bulgarian kings, patriarchs and bishops were not without chronicles and condiments. "
"I added and completed the things said in this historian for the benefit of our Bulgarian family, for the glory and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ."
And more: “I was gradually devoured by the jealousy and pity for my Bulgarian family, that there is no collected history of the glorious acts of the first times of our family, saints and kings. So many times the Serbs and Greeks reprimanded us for not having our own history. "
The patriotic sentiment of Paisius reached unprecedented values in Bulgarian literature and Bulgarian historiography:
"Of all the Slavic families, the most famous were the Bulgarians, first they were called kings, first they had a patriarch, first they were baptized, most land they conquered. Thus, from the whole Slavic lineage, the first Slavic saints were the strongest and most revered and begged from the Bulgarian race and language, and that is why I wrote in this story. "
Paisius is particularly polemical with anyone who dares to insult or ridicule the Bulgarian race, being irreconcilable, especially to the apostates and surrogates:
"Or are you ashamed of your own kind and language before the scientists and traders and the glorious on earth, because the Bulgarians are simple and not many of them are traders and literate, and things and famous on earth nowadays, but most of them are simple plowmen, diggers, shepherds and simple craftsmen? I will answer you briefly about this. From Adam to David and the righteous Joachim, Joseph the fiancee (Holy Virgin), as many righteous and holy prophets and patriarchs had and were called great on earth and before God, none of them was a merchant or a clever and proud man, like the current cunning, who you have respect for and wonder about and drag in their language and custom. But all these righteous forefathers were farmers and shepherds, and rich in cattle and earthly fruits, and simple and unmistakable on earth. And Christ Himself came down and lived in the house of the simple and poor Joseph. Look how God loves more simple and unwavering plowmen and shepherds, and first of all he loved and glorified them on earth, and you are ashamed because the Bulgarians are simple and inexperienced, and shepherds and plowmen, you leave your native language and praise the foreign language. and you drag on their custom. "
Critics may appreciate Paisius' work from various angles (factual truthfulness, stylistics, linguistic peculiarities, etc.), but for most Bulgarians, what is important in his "History .." is that he is the first work in new Bulgarian literature to bring up in patriotism: "It is not from the point of view of historical science that we should value" Slavic-Bulgarian History ", not in the truth of historical data we should touch its significance, but in the fabrications it contains - mainly its patriotic tendencies. If Paisius had written a scientific story, it would not have been relevant to our Renaissance the significance of its fabrications and transfiguration of historical facts. "
The need for Paisii for the Bulgarian people was already recognized by Boyan Penev about 100 years ago. We can only recall some of the critical assessments. "The direct task of Paisius is to awaken the Bulgarian people to their consciousness of their language, their Bulgarian land, to suggest to him that he had a glorious historical past, which entitles him to compete with the Greeks and Serbs. Moreover, to put myself in many ways above them. These are the basic elements of that consciousness that Paisius awakened in his fellow-men. As the main attributes of nationality, he emphasizes language, land and the past. "
"In the history of our Renaissance, Paisius is the first great person to appear with a clearly defined consciousness of the nationality to which he belongs, of the spiritual consciousness in which this nationality is found, and of the means by which it must be awakened."
Let us conclude with the summary: “From the impersonal and soulless slave, he wanted to create a Bulgarian, he managed to draw in the minds of the generations the ways of the future. This is precisely his greatest feat, which seems strange, unusual, even improbable in that dark slavery time. "