Volume III - Church History

Fourteenth Century

The Bulgarians

The Second Bulgarian Empire, which had begun in 1187 with the successful overthrow of Byzantine rule by the brothers Peter and Asen, came to an end in 1330 when the Serbs absorbed Bulgaria into her rising Empire. Still, during most of the rest of the 14th century, the Bulgarians maintained a rich cultural and religious life. The Bulgarian monastery of Zoographos on Mount Athos was established in this century.

Patriarch Euthymios (r. 1375–1393), the last Bulgarian patriarch before the Ottoman conquest ended the Bulgarian patriarchate for the second time, ardently promoted hesychastic mystical prayer. He also initiated and led a great pan-Slavic literary revival, based on a return to the original Greek sources and to the original translation work of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

On July 17, 1393, the Bulgarians were vanquished in battle by the Ottoman Turks. Bulgaria, like Serbia, became completely integrated into the Ottoman realm. The Bulgarians did not regain their independence until the early 20th century.