Bogomiles

A group that arose toward the latter part of the eleventh century, especially in Bulgaria, and was considered heretical by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Much that is known about them comes from hostile writers sympathetic to the established church of the day. Their views of the sacraments were in some ways similar to several Protestant groups in later centuries both in western Europe and in America. The Bogomiles opposed the sacramental materialism of the church. They rejected water baptism as well as the material elements used in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Instead, they advocated a spiritual baptism which was conferred by the laying of a gospel of John on the head of the recipient and the chanting of the Lord's Prayer. Likewise, the Lord's Supper was to be practiced spiritually, for the bread and the wine could not be transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ.

The nonacceptance of almost all of the OT by the Bogomiles bears close resemblance to the views of the Paulicians,* another heretical group in Eastern Christianity. The patriarchs in the Pentateuch, the Bogomiles stated, were in reality inspired by Satan. Satan originally was at the right hand of God, but was expelled because of his revolutionary planning. The creation of the earth was given to Satan, so that all of creation becomes basically evil, including the human body. Only things of the Spirit would be considered good. Birth is the imprisonment of the good spirit in evil flesh as punishment for sins in a preexistent state. As a part of this logic, sex would also be considered wrong. The natural result of such an incorrect interpretation of Scripture led to a definite dualism of two world principles, good and evil, in contention throughout creation.