A boring text for the rest of you, but fascinating if you are into the history of Balkan Christianity:
I started to learn about the Bogomils during my visit to Bosnia, when my hosts, Professor Suljo, a historian, and his son Emir, explained to me about the Bosnian Church (which no longer exists):
We visited the remnants of the Bosnian Church community at a mountain range north of Sarajevo. Prof. Suljo told us beforehand that visiting the area is like going back to the Middle Ages. It’s a bit of an exaggeration–I saw power lines all the way to the mountain peaks–but it was interesting to see people living as subsistence farmers like their ancestors did.
The community is quite isolated. Nowadays most identify themselves as Bosniak Muslim, and their lifestyle is spartan and almost primitive by modern day standards. They do not communicate much with the outside world. The peasants looked like they came out of the pages of medieval epics.
Prof. Suljo told us that a few years back, some people reported sighting a group of peasants practicing a ritual of the Bosnian Church. This created quite a sensation in the area since the Bosnian Church was thought to be extinct for many centuries. Apparently the are still adherents who practice this sect in secret, and pass it down to their offspring like what their ancestors did for many generations without any notice from the community.
In conclusion, an interesting visit to a remarkable place, rich in history and spirituality. At the time, Jalil and I were already sick of tourist traps like the Sarajevo old city (the Bascarcija). It came as a relief when our hosts were gracious enough to take us to this place, far away from the prying eyes of tourists, where we could learn about the rich history of the land from the locals.
Nanti bila ada time i will write more about my Balkan trip. okeh