If we use the metaphor that the "deleted paths" of Bulgaria are our broken spiritual connection with undeserved (more) forgotten heroes of the past - it ideally fits our relationship today with Stefan Verkovich and Ivan Gologanov and the work of their lives, the collection of folk songs "Veda Slovenian". Today, the "path" to these two deserving figures of the Bulgarian is deleted beyond recognition. Their names are only mentioned in textbooks, and even in the university they are not given much attention.

When I started writing the text, I asked my relatives, who had graduated Bulgarian philology, what they remembered specifically, what was sealed in their minds by Veda Slovenia. It turned out to be almost nothing. Only the word "hoax" goes by its name - the hoax "Veda Slav". And so much.

I studied ethnology at university. The subject in which we paid very serious attention to the folklore regions of Bulgaria, to their various specifics and specifics. Our teacher (God forgive him!) Played us folk songs, paid attention to costumes, ordinances, etc. However, I do not remember anything particularly talked about in the Veda classes. Why is that so?

Subsequently, when I became acquainted with the Veda Slovena and learned more about Verkovich and Gologanov, the people responsible for the publication of the collection, I was mildly puzzled. It is alleged that this collection of songs was a hoax, a softer expression of forgery. But even if it is true that it is a forgery, it is still worth examining it as one of the earliest literary monuments of the Bulgarian Revival. Pencho Slaveikov's "On the Island of the Blessed" is also a hoax, but it is about 200 pages and much later than 1910. 2

If considered at least partly authentic, folk songs from the Veda will prove that the oldest Bulgarian songs are thematically much earlier than the X - XII centuries. That means that the Bulgarian folk historical epic is about a millennium and a half Early of the Queen's cycle (14th c.). These facts are sufficient to accept the case of Stefan Verkovich and Ivan Gologanov on the invention, recording and publication of the folk songs in question as epochal and astonishing. So the logical question is:

Can we at least partially trust the authenticity of this collection, among the "hoaxes" / falsifications, is there any kernel of truth? The answer is "Yes".

Not only is Veda not just a literary monument, but it also contains folklore motifs that are familiar and common elsewhere. So Verkovich and Gologanov are involved in a grand discovery comparable to the rediscovery of Pliska and Preslav, the Chalcolithic necropolis of Varna and the tomb of Samuel. These people deserve great respect. Let's say a few words about them at first.

Stefan Verkovich

Stefan Verkovich

Stefan Verkovic was born in 1821 in Ugljara, Bosnia Posavina into a poor family. An orphan left early, transferred to study at the Catholic high school at the Monastery of Sutin. The monastery remains a novice after its completion (1837). He does not go astray, but chooses to pursue theology in Zagreb, but is forced to interrupt due to illness (1837). That is not how he completes his education. A turning point in his life is the acquaintance with Elijah Garashanin - (1848), who engages him to co-operate with the Greater Serbian policy, first in Kotor and Dalmatia, and then in Macedonia. However, in the early stages of its development, the Serbian Principality seeks not to annex and "anchor" all foreign lands, but to integrate them with itself. The fact that Stefan Verkovic is an employee of Serbian propaganda in Macedonia should in no way confuse the reader for the benefits of his work.

With his whole case, Stefan Verkovic is proving to be a great Bulgarian. It is no coincidence that the Council of Ministers of Bulgaria from 8 December 1891 donated it with a lifetime pension. MP Vasil Ikonomov spoke at his address: "This is the only worker who has come out all over the world with his writings to prove that Macedonia is a Bulgarian country not only now, but since time immemorial it was a country in which Bulgarianism lived ..." Therefore, during his funeral in 1893 in the cemeteries of Sofia, the great Bulgarian folklorist and ethnologist Dimitar Matov will say: “We send with sadness one more of the glorious figures of our national awakening. (…) He settled in Ser (from 1855) to study the Bulgarian antiquities. Here he became the same apostle of the Renaissance throughout Western Macedonia. In the learned world, he discovered that the local population was Bulgarian, and to the very population that had been gripped by the Greek spiritual yoke, was showing a way of liberation ... “All his relatives describe him as a great Bulgarian Revivalist. He personally knows and maintains contacts with prominent Macedonian Bulgarians of the time (50s, 60s, 70s of the XIX century) - Kuzman Shapkarev, Georgi and Konstantin Dinkovi, Jordan Konstantinov - Jinot, Rayko Jinzifov, Dimitar Makedonski and others.

The first result of his research (1855 - 1860) in the field of Bulgarian folklore is the book "Folk Songs of the Macedonian Bulgarians", published in Serbian in Belgrade in 1860. The value of this book is even greater when taken into account that a year earlier than the famous Bulgarian Folk Songs (1861) by the Miladinovi Brothers.

Now a little more for the main song collector in Veda Slovenia, Ivan Popiliev Gologanov. He was born in 1839 in the village of Turlis, Demirhissarsko (today in Greece). He studied at the Greek school at the monastery "St. John the Forerunner ”near Serres, then in the rural Bulgarian school under Archimandrite Isaiah (1851 - 1856). From 1856 - 1865 he is a teacher in his native village and in the village of Krushevo, for one year he is a clerk (1865 - 1866), after which he has been working as a collaborator for Stefan Verkovich for a whole decade in collecting materials for the collection "Veda Slavic" . After his involvement in the grandiose dispute over the authenticity of the collected songs, his extremely modest nature provoked him to withdraw from the worldly vanities forever and to engage in farming in the countryside.

He declined the invitation to move to Sofia, where he was waiting for a lifetime pension of 400 BGN for his work. Stefan Stambolov, meeting with Ivan's brother (1892) - Metropolitan Theodosius, said: "All European academies were interested in Rhodopean songs, whether he was collecting them from a foreign mouth or inventing them from his own head, about us. Bulgarians, it does not matter, the interesting thing is that he was born in the Bulgarian environment. "

These two, Stefan Verkovic and Ivan Gologanov, have become the main "culprits" of the world's scientific academies for talking about Bulgaria for several years. Personally, I am not at all prepared to take a side on the authenticity of the collection. If Stefan Stambolov failed to take the party after being prime minister and wielding such great power and being the contemporary of the most heated controversy in still-living songwriters, then today is completely irrelevant to any outsider folklore person to defend a reasoned position. And really - what is the significance of whether it is true or fake, after having focused the world attention on small Bulgaria?

The most important thing for us here and now, the descendants of these people, is to be aware of the significance of the case. It is huge - it was for Bulgarian folklore, it was for Bulgarian Revival literature. However, the following should be borne in mind.

Stefan Verkovich, Ivan Gologanov and their case (the Veda) were attacked in a fierce manner by the greatest and most respected specialists of that time - Ivan Shishmanov, Konstantin Irechek, Mikhail Arnaudov and Louis Leger. The controversy over the authenticity of the book is a dispute between hard-working, important academic professionals and some self-taught and unknown choruses, under-educated, non-tertiary, monastic and cellular schools. This is something very important to keep in mind.

Most of all, the following was attacked: the content of some of the songs sent to Orpheus, Philip of Macedon and Alexander of Macedon. The songs for Philip and Alexander have been compiled, but were intended by Verkovic to be published in both the unrealized volume of the Veda. Such content and these characters seemed not only shocking to the scientific community, but also ridiculous. The subtitle of the first volume is "Bulgarian Folk Songs of the Prehistoric and Pre-Christian Era". So the scientific community had to accept that in the folk songs of the dead (an ethnographic group of Macedonian Bulgarians) and in the Pomaks in the Rhodopes, among which the songs were collected, there is a memory of persons and events older than about a millennium and a half. from all other persons and events from all other Bulgarian folk songs. No such evidence was ever collected for this kind of famed discovery. For me, this justifies the criticism of professors and academics. The songs published in the collection are collected from the mentioned dead and pomaks in the period 1865 - 1874, while later interviewers (1888, Mehmed Tumbev and Yusuf Sinapov) cannot find similar songs among the population, despite their attempts.

Yet, it must be said that songs about Orpheus, Alexander the Great and Philip of Macedon were known at that time. Ivan Bogdanov cites a letter from Professor Vladimir Kochanovski to Ivan Shishmanov from 1901, stating that Kochanovski also came across songs for Orpheus among the Pomaks. And Victor Grigorievich, in a letter to a friend back in 1848, sent a text of a folk song, singing in the village of Ostrov, west of Voden, which is dedicated to Philip of Macedon.

"King Philip with the elephant of the clouds mended,

the fatties of the earth who were soon gone.

Odil dur to the mountain, King Philip left.

Wait, King Philip, tell him the elephant,

We have a little bit of fruit,

under the shade to drink cold water ... "

If one day science takes a firm stance on the Veda controversy and it turns out that the songs are authentic, Stefan Verkovic and Ivan Gologanov may be considered epoch-makers like Schliemann and Champolion. But this is still not possible at this stage.

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