It is often puzzled that the first Bulgarian rulers who opposed the Byzantine rule sought recognition and legitimacy by accepting the name "Peter". The first three rebel kings are called this way. One king, Peter, who led the Bulgarians against the Byzantines, was named Delyan. "And this one accepted the Bulgarian and Greek kingdoms. And he created three cities on Bulgarian land: 1. Red, 2. Nessebar, 3. A pinch. There he reigned for 28 years, and was visited by a shepherd in Ovcho Pole. "(Bulgarian Anonymous Chronicle of the XI Century). In fact, Petar Delyan (1040 - 1041) raised an uprising in the western Bulgarian lands where he was proclaimed king. His rebellion ends in failure, and he is blinded and detached himself.


The other Peter is Konstantin Bodin (1072), son of the Serbian king and great-grandson of Samuel. His fate is similar to that of Peter Delyan - he fails in his affairs, his troops are defeated by the Byzantines, and he is chained in iron and taken to a Byzantine monastery. The last king, Peter (1185 - 1197), is from the glorious Asenevtsi dynasty, brother of Assen and Kaloyan. His baptismal name is Theodore, but he is also called Peter to express continuity between the First and Second Bulgarian Kingdoms.


Why did the rebels of the Bulgarian throne in the Second Kingdom choose the name Peter? What is so remarkable and remarkable about the grandson of Prince Boris and the son of King Simeon - aren't there among his ancestors many more worthy and worthy of him? King Peter I is known in the mass consciousness as a rather impersonal ruler. Historians do not focus on his positive qualities, he lacks his psychological portrait - we know much more from the story of his glorious predecessors: Krum, Omurtag, Boris, Simeon, Samuel… What is unusual about King Peter I?

Tsar Peter I of Bulgaria

Tsar Peter is a collective image of all the positive qualities of the medieval Bulgarian. During the Middle Ages, Bulgarians were known as enlighteners and people of speech. As he says the famous slavist Louis Leger, while the Serbs teach their children to first thunder at the Turks, and then to read and write, the Bulgarians have the opposite: the spiritual liberation of the Bulgarians through education precedes the political. And this is an old tradition. The Bulgarian Christian educators, from the centuries preceding the Ottoman rule, are spiritual teachers of the whole Orthodox Slavic world - Kliment Ohridski, John the Exarch, Chernorizets Hrabar, Konstantin Preslavski, Presbyter Kozma… Education in Bulgaria flourished under the rulers Boris and Si, and then take root in Serbs and Russians.


One of the great Bulgarian writers known and respected in Serbia and Russia is Peter Chernorizets. And research shows that King Peter I and the writer Peter Chernorizets are one and the same person. After retiring from secular power, King Peter I becomes a monk (ie becomes a Black Rite) and is abbot of a monastery nearby to the capital Preslav, where it lends itself to literature. Tsar Peter - Peter Chernorizets is the model medieval Bulgarian: wise, sensible and intelligent, who chose peace before the war, his weapon is the enlightenment, he is a fighter for the righteousness of Orthodoxy against the dishonesty of heresy. So it's no wonder that the heirs to his throne choose to be named in his name.


Interestingly, until the early twentieth century, none of the specialists in medieval history suspected that Simeon's son, King Peter, "infamous in state and military affairs, would associate his name with Old Bulgarian literature. And the Bulgarian history did not even know that Peter was one of the saints. "(Yordan Ivanov)

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What is known at this point about the literary heritage of the Old Bulgarian writer Peter Chernorizets? It contains at least five works - four words and one prayer. The earliest works are placed in the collection of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra (Russia) from the 12th century. Therefore, the writer lived before, but when exactly? The analysis of the works, from a linguistic point of view, points to their indisputable affiliation with the Eastern Bulgarian Literary Circle (Preslav Literary School), where the works of John Exarch and Simeon's Circle of Writers are located. In the works of Peter Chernorizets there is a lexical specificity of the Eastern Bulgarian works from the X century.

All this is very important to clarify, because nowadays attempts are being made to recognize the writer Peter Czernorizets not as Holy King Peter of Bulgaria, but as King Peter Delian. But Peter Chernorizets's work is characteristic of eastern Bulgaria from the Xth century and not to western Bulgaria from the XI century. In the literature centuries are of great importance - some are lexical peculiarities in the works of Vazov at the beginning of the XX century and others today, in early XXI c. Among other things, King Peter I of Bulgaria was proclaimed a saint by the Bulgarian Church, and Peter Delyan was not.


From the two services dedicated to St. Peter, it is clear that he spent the last years of his life in a monastery near the capital Preslav. One service in common with Clement and Peter has the headline: "Month of January, 30 day. Carrying the relics of St. Clement, Archbishop of Rome, and the memory of our Holy Father Peter the Monk, who was king of the Bulgarians. " The second service calls on the laity: "Come, all faithful, to praise Petra the monk who was appointed by God to be king of Bulgaria." The services are intended to be performed in the monastery where the king is abbot.


Peter retains his name in monasticism, similar to his grandfather Saint King Boris - Michael the Baptist. It was canonized before the fall of eastern Bulgaria under Byzantine rule (971). This is implied by the fact that St. Peter of Bulgaria is missing among the saints in the Byzantine calendar. The saint's memory is celebrated on January 30. His life does not reach our day, as canonization is understood by his two dedicated services. Peter Chernorizets signs works with: "Peter is someone", "Peter is unworthy", "Peter inok" and "Peter Chernorizets".


Even today, there are historians who claim that King Peter I "disappears in the shadow of his great father." This opinion is not true. On the contrary, Peter is a worthy successor to his father, in some respects superior to him. On the path of peace, he achieves what Simeon does with the wars, bloodshed, and depletion of the country's resources. Under Byzantium, Peter conceded territories conquered by Bulgaria before, and his royal title was officially recognized by the peace treaty between the two countries. Peace with the mighty adversary contributes to the extremely positive responses of contemporaries to King Peter. He is called "God-loving and reverent," "the best and most renowned," "the solid stone of Christ's faith," etc.


The most important thing in this case is that Saint Tsar Peter I symbolizes typical medieval Bulgarian readership and enlightenment. He participates in the political and literary life of Bulgaria. And our country serves as an example of the Slavic-speaking Orthodox world precisely because of writers such as Peter Czernorizets - Saint Tsar Peter of Bulgaria.



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