chapter  3
12 Pages

The Krstjani and the Bosnjaks: Sufi orders and the abiding memory of the Bosnian Church

Bosnia is situated on a major cultural fault line in South-eastern Europe. Long before the Ottoman conquest, barriers of religion had been erected. The ‘Bosnian Church’ has often been described, in error, as Dualist or Patarene, ‘part-Dualist’, or ‘Bogomil’ or ‘infected by Bogomil dualism’. Ivan Lovrenovic, in his Bosnia a Cultural History (Saqi books, the Bosnian Institute, London, 2001, p. 54) rejects these affirmations. Abusive names such as Patarenes, Cathars, Manichaeans, ‘cursed baboons’ and the ‘Bosnian plague’ applied to Bosnians and members of the Bosnian Church are found only in foreign sources. The accusation of Bogomilism was principally a nineteenth-century invention. The Bosnians always, and exclusively, referred to themselves as ‘Christians’.