Bosnian Patarens or Bogomils are the historical, cultural and sociological phenomenon, fairly unknown to the European cultural PUBLIC.
Rare experts of the Bosnian Bogomils phenomenon, fascinated by a cultural relic (TRAG)a trace of their existence behind on the tombstones, have allocated an epochal and grandiose place in the cultural and historical European or even world heritage.
Swedish historian proficient Hans Furuhagen stated that Bogomils “inspired Protestantism in Europe”, Croatian writer, almost Nobel laureate, Miroslav Krleza wrote “Europe has no other cultural monuments but Bosnian Bogomils have monoliths tombstones”.
English archeologist Arthur Evans, who discovered Minos Palace at Knossos near Crete, has presented Bogomils with his research published in a book about TOMBSTONES (STECKE) and Bogomils culture.
Professor Dzemal Sokolovic called them: “First European protestants”.
From the VIII century till today, some 66 478 stone monoliths has survived, with largest number, over 80%, in the area of today recognized state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
While conquering the land populated by Bogomil's, both the catholic and orthodox churches have persecuted them as heretics, destroyed the remnants of their culture and used solid stone monoliths as a building material for new churches.
Distinctiveness and phenomena of written Bogomils writings chiseled in the stone is in the message from those who are not amongst living anymore and who speak from their own unrepeatable experience:
“If I could rise from this stone, I would live every new day like it was a whole real life.”
Their messages contain all that is the essence of a man: love, fears and doubts.
The monolithic tombstone presents a link, the eyes, between two worlds: “Do not turn this stone over. For it is my eyes to look at the stars and Sipara”.
And, as a rule, we read on them a sorrow for departing and a wish for reunion with dear ones: “… in this immense silence I yearn presence and allusion of yours, not Gods, steps. If this is a punishment from God, my foolish heart is happily looking forward to it.”
This is the first time that an English speaking readers are offered a part of the story about bogumils monoliths messages through epitaphs, a short story with ample of first hand photographs of the tombstones themselves.
I will be delighted if this book about Bogumil's and their stone-carved messages touches precisely that part of our nature, the most humane one.
For this story of Bogumils I owe my immense gratitude to traces left by: Arthur Evans, Miroslav Krleza, Hans Furuhagen, Mak Dizdar, Nenad Tanovic and many others who wormed up to the same, bogomils, blaze.