The thing that Bulgaria should be most proud of, because it simultaneously distinguishes and elevates it in front of numerous other countries, is its medieval literature. The topic is very broad, it is usually too difficult to explain and comprehend, so it is undeserved to stand aside from public attention.
It is much easier to understand, for example, the values of the Laws of Krum or the works of the kings Simeon, Samuel and Ivan Assen II in extending the territory of the Bulgarian kingdom to its maximum historical limits. Recently, the Tervel case, proclaimed Europe's savior by Arab invasions, is gaining popularity. Military victories and political affairs in their political part are a natural delight. They are initially responded to, and the emotion extends to the maximum number of people.
However, this is not the case for medieval literature. Most people find this topic too distracting, overly scientific, and alien.
First of all, this is because medieval Bulgarian literature has a religious character. And not any, but a character predominantly related to Orthodoxy. Again, it should be noted that for most of today's people, religious issues, orthodoxy issues, are not interesting to them and are ignored as having nothing to do with today's reality. It is understood that some representatives of contemporary Bulgarian humanities suppose that the work of medieval Bulgarian writers is not literary. So, according to them, those medieval writers did not make literature, this was not their literature, so it should not be studied as such, etc. There is a conscious attempt to distinguish between "those there" and "us here and now." This experience is passed on from students (teachers, especially university professors) to students. Most learners take this experience easily, so breaking with "those out there", our alienation from them, is present. And there is no way to be proud of something that is "competently" communicated to us as alien.
Secondly, a major problem of medieval Bulgarian literature is that other interpreters of it declare the creators of that literature to be, in general terms, "not very reliable personalities." The holy brothers Cyril and Methodius were "Byzantine agents", conduits of foreign interest, in other words, foreign people. Then why study what they and their successors have created (in a "hostile Byzantine engagement")? Well, we are told that "there is still a reason" - as there is much to be learned, for example, the language of the Zulu or the Evenka. It is useful but alien and exotic.
Third, the role of medieval Bulgarian literature was indirectly downplayed by another, especially fashionable in (pseudo) scientific circles, a thesis. It generally states: "we are not Slavs and have nothing to do with the Slavs."
This thesis ignores the development of Old Bulgarian (Old Bulgarian) through the mediation of other Slavic-speaking Orthodox peoples (Serbs, Russians). And these Slavic-speaking Orthodox peoples preserve in their literature the old Bulgarian language, even in the times when the Bulgarian Kingdom was deprived of political independence (Ottoman rule / Turkish slavery). Therefore, these nations are our brothers in the book and will remain forever. But not so think, of course, people who think that Slavic-speaking "we have nothing in common."
It's not a matter of exposing and ridiculing people, especially when provoked by ignorance or stupidity. But on the other hand, it is good to see the ways in which the attacks from within against medieval Bulgarian literature are moving.
Why is it that the celebration of Bulgarian education and culture and of Slavic writing on 24 may be met with a diminishing emotional charge? How to deal with our "expropriation campaign" with medieval Bulgarian literature?
First of all, we need to learn historical thinking. Suppose that Bulgarian literature and Bulgarians dealing with this art existed before Vazov, and before Botev, even before Sophronius. Let's take a Konstantin Kostenechki, who will be given more attention in this text. He was a secular figure, did not belong to the Christian clergy, and wrote artistic texts on secular subjects. Why, then, do we have to try to prove that his artistic texts are not literature? It's useless.
Historical thinking will help to see that the work of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius is on such a huge scale, incompatible with any close political goals. Moreover, priests by purpose are first and foremost God's servants, then everything else. In Konstantin-Cyril's The Spacious Life of Kliment Ohridski, the following conversation is conveyed between the logo and the young Konstantin.
The Logotype: "Your mind and your wisdom have long made me love you. Here I have a spiritual daughter, whom I have adopted from the holy font - beautiful, rich, of good and rich kind. If you want, I'll give it to you as a husband. And now you will receive great honor and reign from the king, and expect more in the future: you will soon become a strategist. "
And the philosopher answered him, saying, Surely this gift is great, but to them that seek it; but to me there is nothing greater than the science by which I will acquire wisdom and seek the ancestral honor and wealth. "
The Logothete, hearing his answer, went to the queen and said to her, "This young philosopher does not love this life."
It should be clear to all that the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius dedicated their lives in the name of the spiritual, not the material.
Finally, the issue of continuity in medieval Bulgarian literature and the preservation of its spirit through other Slavic literatures. This is precisely the most common among the Slavic-speaking peoples, some of whom (the Bulgarian) are said to have been "not Slavic" - language and literature. Let us pay attention to the already mentioned Konstantin Kostenechki, who expresses exactly this tendency.
A great Catholic thinker has the following sentiment: "Changes in language become more rapid, and civilization using it becomes more vulnerable when it forgets grammatical pedantry. Civilizations are periods of normative grammar. "The idea is that there is a direct link between the decline of a civilization and the collapse of the language (neglect of spelling rules). This is exactly what he thought, but in the early 15th century one of the last great medieval Bulgarian writers - Konstantin Kostenechki.
Donka Petkanova writes that with Konstantin Kostenechki "the series of Balkan Slavonic writers begins, for which the nationality is no longer in the first place, and the issue of preserving the Slavic book, the Slavic worship, the Christian faith and through them the nationality."
His personality is very interesting. It is not known what his birthplace is. It is supposed to be Kostenets, Sofia, but there is an option if it is Turnovo, according to what he wrote in his work "A Tale of Letters" that he was "an alien from the Turnovo countries". Led by his extreme curiosity, Constantine wants to study with Patriarch Evtimii in the Bachkovo Monastery. By the time he reached the monastery, however, Patriarch Evtimii had already died. These events relate to the time around the beginning of the 15th century. He stayed in the monastery for several years, during which he progressed to the Greek language under the student of Evtimius Andronicus. Following the ruin of Thrace by the bloodthirsty Ottoman ruler Musa Celebija (1410 - 1411), Constantine escapes to Serbia, finding refuge in the despot Stefan Lazarevic, who rescues him from the "roaring beast." In the period between 1415 and 1418, Constantine Kostenechki went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulcher. After his return, he worked as a teacher at the Resav Monastery in Serbia, later assumed to be teaching at other Serbian monasteries, but there is no specific information in the sources for his further life.
What is so curious about the personality of Konstantin Kostenechki? He was born in Bulgaria, but spent his entire life (or at least his creative period) in Serbia. He studies and teaches in monasteries, but there is no spiritual dignity - Konstantin Kostenechki is a secular person. He is also going too young in Serbia, probably 20-30-year-old. Despite this fragile age, despite the non-systematic education he received during the troubled Balkans, Constantine dares to write to the Serbs with a sense of superiority, teaching them from the position of their spiritual leader.
In his Explained Exposition of the Letters…, better known as The Tale of the Letters, Constantine attacked his contemporary Serbian texts, calling them "corrupt." Their depravity is rooted in the fact that they do not follow any language and spelling rules, chaos reigns in the Serbian written language at all. Constantine points to a good example of the strictly sustained Bulgarian texts in Euthymius' orthography. Constantine's work aims to provoke official written reform in Serbia and a "correction of the books."
"He exemplifies the work of Evtimius as an example of repairing books and bringing them into unity. In the Tarnovo country the letters went to destruction, but the king and the patriarch enlightened the people: what they did was not only for their area and temporary, but also for the surrounding kingdoms permanently. Thus, Constantine attests to the official state character of Evtimiy's spelling and linguistic norm. "(D. Petkanova). It is not necessary to go into more detail, just to state the opinion of experts that Konstantin Kostenechki's views on the written language are extremely conservative. They exclude the influence of popular spoken language on the formation of written language. As K. Kuev points out, this is how Constantine stands for building an "artificial spelling system" in Serbia. In any case, it is a great confidence of a young teacher, a "stranger from the Turnovo countries," to try, with the assistance of the ruler of that foreign country, Stefan Lazarevic, to implement a state-level written reform. In some ways, he strives to be for Serbia what is Eutimius for Bulgaria.
Constantine's description of Serbian society is interesting. This description again aims to see the need for written reform. "There is talk of drunkenness, belief in magic, church customs and violations of the canons, superstition, eating blood, twinning. Monasticism is completely corrupt. It is no different from the common people, it believes in magic, it also violates its spiritual obligations, it seeks personal gain. (…) It is as if there is some connection between the corruption of spelling and the corruption of society. "(D. Petkanova)
Another important work by Konstantin Kostenechki is "The Life of Stefan Lazarevic". Although stated as a biography, i. part of the hagiographical genre, the work in question is both historical and biographical. It is defined by criticism as the "first-ever secular biography" (Kiselkov) and "a biography in a new, almost contemporary sense", standing on the "threshold between modern and old times" (Kuev). It can be expected that a worldly person with artistic talent will not cling to his dogmas for the hagiographical genre.
The creativity of Konstantin Kostenechki is characterized by his personal presence in the descriptions, the free expression of his own opinion. As D. Petkanova concludes, "his personal passions, not always determined by the canon, his ideas, his place in society and his upbringing - all this is evident in his work, both in his reproach and praise. With some ideas (about Cyril-Methodius language, for writing individual letters) Constantine differs from the common opinion or practice, pursues his convictions and goals. This speaks of a strong will, of a firm nature, of self-confidence. These traits give him the face of a new type of writer who approaches the writer from the Renaissance. "
It is a good idea that most of its representatives are familiar with the artistic role of medieval Bulgarian literature. They will thus understand that the manifestation of an individualistic spirit in medieval literature is not a Western patent.