The narrative of this not very popular work was based on the reports of the historian Siegebert (1030 - 1112), a monk from the monastery in Jamblou, Belgium. He wrote: "The Bulgarian prince accepted Christianity together with his people and after priests were sent to him from the papal throne (Pope Nicholas 858 - 867), and support was received from King Louis (Louis of Germany 817 - 876), he became so established in the faith that soon after he placed his eldest son on the throne (Prince Vladimir 889-893), and he himself renounced worldly affairs and became a monk. But when his son, acting recklessly, wished to return to the pagan faith, he put on his military belt and royal robes again, pursued his son and captured him, took out his eyes and threw him into prison. And by placing his younger son on the throne, he took the spiritual garment again and remained in it for the rest of his life. ”However, Siegebert is quite distant in time from the described events, his“ Chronicle ”was completed in 1030.

 

Trebelius, the Bulgarian king, embraced the Christian religion with the help of Pope Nicholas - this is explicitly mentioned in the tragedy itself. Trebelius was snatched from the power of Photius the heretic (Patriarch Photius 857-867 and 877-886), and to repent of his sins, left the kingdom to his son and retired to solitude to spend the rest of his days. you are. But learning that his son had renounced the Christian faith, he left the monastery and returned predestined to his kingdom. He captured his son, blinded him, and placed his second son on the throne.

 

It should be noted the very important fact that Siegebert was not a contemporary of the Christianization of the Bulgarians (865). Such is Reginon of Prüm (842-915), abbot of the monastery of St. Martin in Trier. He is the main source for what happened during the pagan reaction at Rasate. Interestingly, his "Chronicle" for the period 741 - 906 (the last part of Book Two) is based not only on unknown sources of Breton origin, but also on rumors and legends. There are errors in the chronology. In any case, the story of the pagan Rasate has reached France. It is not clear whether Reginon's Chronicle. The Chronicle in question was not published for the first time until 1521 in Mainz. So the tragedy is likely to be based indirectly on these Breton legendary information, popularized by later historians.

 

The other very important is the name of the baptizing king - Trebelius. This is a direct association with Khan Tervel, the Bulgarian ruler so popular in the Catholic world. Tervel was called by Mark Antonio Sabaliko (2011th century) "the first Bulgarian king the Baptist". Paisii Hilendarski also writes about Tervel in Slavo-Bulgarian History: “The Holy King Trivelia (Tervel) and the Holy Tsar John-Michael (Boris I) were holy in their lives and brave and strong in their royal prosperity. (…) Nine other kings were invincible in war and in difficult and hard times, by God's will, liberated their Bulgarian people from great oppression and captivity of other peoples and kingdoms. ”Saint Trivelius Theoctist - Bulgarian king is one of the Bulgarian Orthodox saints. The temple in the village of Madara, consecrated in XNUMX, is named after him.

photo: church "St. George the Victorious and St. Trivelius

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It is amazing how the name of Trebelius (Tervel) was imprinted in the minds of the representatives of the Catholic circles. It has become a byword for a worthy Christian ruler, but also for a Bulgarian ruler in general.

 

Here is the facts of the tragedy. Trebelius (the historical figure is Prince Boris Michael 852 - 889), king of Bulgaria, was the first to bring his people into obedience to Christ. He was a zealous Christian and valiantly followed all the precepts of the faith. After completing his holy royal work, he made a solemn promise to his son Albert (King Simeon the Great 893-927) and the country's patriarch Rodolphe to leave his kingdom in the hands of his eldest son and to retire from the secular world. life. But a few years later, this son (Prince Vladimir Rasate 889-893) renounced Christ and his father's covenants and returned the kingdom to idolatry. Albert gathered an army against his brother, but he still had neither enough experience nor enough strength, and was turned to flee. The father Trebelius led the Christians in the battle against his son, defeated him and captured him. As punishment, he blinded him and threw him in prison, and handed over the kingdom to Albert and withdrew again.

Trebelius the Younger (Prince Vladimir Rasate) was very proud of the victory over the Christians and was filled with great contempt for the Christian god. He managed to quell his anger by taking revenge on his brother, who triumphed in battle. All he had to do now was sacrifice Rodolphe, the patriarch of all the kingdom who had been captured in the battle, in honor of the victory. The holy sacrifice was already prepared for the bloody work laid on the altar, where it was to be killed. One after another, a large number of people arrived by royal order, so that they too could witness the villainous sacrifice. One of the visitors reported that the enemy army, which was in a state of complete defeat, now had strong support: Albert returned to the battlefield, reinforced by an experienced military leader, very valiant and with indisputable qualities. Another reported that Albert's troops were advancing more and more, coming to them not as defeated but as conquerors. Finally, another reported that Albert had thrown the troops of the Gentiles into fear and confusion because he was perfectly healthy and miraculously healed. The armies of the Christians seemed to fly forward without encountering resistance.

The main actors in the tragedy are: The Guardian Angel of Bulgaria; Trebelius the Elder, also called Theopompus; Trebelius the Younger; Albert; Patriarch Rodolphe; Lasten, Gandolph, Tingilus and Waldrick - princes of the kingdom; Daniel is a hermit; Melidor and Tirsis - shepherds; Divine love; Natural love.

 

The tragedy begins with Albert, the king's son, who took refuge in the forest after the unfortunate battle for him. There, in the presence of the Guardian Angel of Bulgaria, he lost consciousness from blood loss and exhaustion. Lasten, his most loyal comrade, followed in his footsteps to protect him from dangers and enemies. He bandaged his wounds to stop the bleeding and bring Albert back to life. It gave him courage and hope.

 

Along the way, they accidentally met people who warned them that a hermit lived nearby, who gave refuge to all the unfortunates around. This was Trebelius the Elder, who had already heard about the desperate fate of the Christian religion in Bulgaria, had received divine inspiration and an opportunity to manifest. They waited for him to cross the road, which he crossed at the same time every day, to pour water from a nearby fountain. He soon appeared, separated from his faithful companion Daniel, with whom they had spent the night in prayer. Father and son, Trebelius and Albert talked without recognizing each other, but Albert soon revealed who he was, telling about his adventures. Trebelius, on the other hand, deftly concealed his identity from his son and told of his close acquaintance with his father, Trebelius, and of his death. Albert led him to where his father's remains rested. He took him to the monastery cell and showed him where he slept every night. Pain constricted Albert's heart, bursting into tears at the sight of his father's imaginary grave, and he decided to spend the rest of his life in this same cloister. The hermit wiped away his tears and told him to pray to God for the pacification of his father's soul above heaven. Because the prayers from the heart never went unrewarded.

 

Hearing the prayers, the Guardian Angel of Bulgaria appeared. He carried God's commandments and heavenly weapons. He handed them over to Trebelius because they were a guarantee of victory in battle. These weapons gave the army Christians fighting them extraordinary courage, and the enemies were doomed to complete defeat in every battle. The angel ordered Trebelius to bless Albert for a new king, and Albert to take ruthless revenge for the humiliated Christianity. The angel promised to assist in the work pleasing to God. To assure the power of his promises, the Angel miraculously healed Albert's wounds. Trebelius obeyed and took the divine weapons. He was hired in celebration of the Christian deed and because of God's generosity to accept his new name - Theopompus.

Very quickly, Albert and Theopomp triumphed in battle to restore the honor of the true god. The kingdom re-entered Christianity, and Albert gave part of his scepter to Theopompus, as a sign of their shared power. Theopompus, however, had despised worldly honors too much, loved his life in solitude, and remembered his solemn oath to God. He stood for a while in the royal city and hurried back to receive God's grace for his deeds. He ordered never to deviate from church and state principles again. So Theopompus begged Albert to condemn the apostate, because that was the heavenly will.

 

He and Albert conceived of God's will, sent by the Angel, which Theopompus had to hide from human eyes as long as Christianity in the kingdom was in danger. Nature and Blood began to play their part, because Theopomp had almost clearly shown his sympathy. But overcoming his pain so as not to be recognized, he hurried away from Albert. So he decided to completely submit his desires to God's will.

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Left alone, however, Albert began to hesitate more and more about what to do. The princes came to him and lay at his feet remorsefully. At the sight of them, Albert's heart softened, and he loved his brothers very much, including Trebelius. Trebelius himself was determined not to beg his brother for mercy and not to apologize for anything. However, seeing how good a man he was, the pagan Trebelius thought and decided to ask for forgiveness, to admit defeat and to repent, to admit that his brother was fairer than him, and to obey him in all things from now on. Albert thought again. Natural love and divine love fought for his soul. One wanted forgiveness, the other punishment. Like Theopompus, he suppressed his heartbeats to obey God's will.

 

In the end, after a series of vicissitudes, God's will was done. It prevailed over the Blood and Nature, who sought complete forgiveness for the sins of the apostate from Christianity.

 

Let's say a little more about the time when the tragedy was performed on stage, and about the Jesuit society, in the circles in which it was popular. It is noted that it was performed on August 12, 1641 in the theater of the Collège de Clermont. At this time in power in France was King Louis XIII the Fair (1610 - 1643). The establishment of absolute monarchical power began, which would receive its completed form in the time of his successor, Louis XIV - the Sun King (1643 - 1715). For a long time, the real power in the monarchy was ruled by the famous Cardinal Richelieu (Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu). The fact that a cardinal of the Catholic Church held such an important position in the political life of France was indicative. The Huguenots (Protestants) in France came under pressure and their key fortress, La Rochelle, was captured by the royal troops.

 

Catholic orders used to fight Protestantism and the Reformation, including the Jesuit order, were revered. It was among the Jesuits that it was very popular to understand that God's will must be preferred to Nature and Blood at all costs.

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