Territorial Dioceses and Ethnic Episcopies in the Structure of the Church Organization of the First Bulgarian Kingdom (Canonical Aspects)
The coexistence of ethnic and territorial principles in the structure of ecclesiastical organizations is a well known fact in church history. Both principles are equally legitimate from the point of view of canonical law. The "ethnic principle" was based on legal norms of the so-called 34th Apostolic Rule, and contrary to the opinion of scholars of the 19th century, it was still in use after the era of the Ecumenical Councils. This fact must be considered by students of the history of Church
... anizations in the First Bulgarian Kingdom, too. The observations regarding the structure of church organizations in Simeonic Bulgaria make it possible to assume the coexistence of ethnic and territorial principles of church organizations in his kingdom. As is known, Slavonic church schools were established in the southwestern part of the First Bulgarian Kingdom after 886. They were aimed at training the Slavonic clergy for the Slavonic church organization. In 893, the Bulgarian King Simeon was elevated to the throne, and a Slavonic eparchy headed by St. Clement of Ohrid was established in the southwestern territories of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. As a result, heterogeneous church organizations were established in the region, and church structures of ethnic and territorial types appeared. They differ from each other by the language of their church services. Old Church Slavonic must have been used as a liturgical language in the ethnic Slavonic eparchy. Since direct historical evidence for such heterogeneous church structure in the First Bulgarian Kingdom is absent, new interpretations of sources made on the basis of canonical law can be of importance for Slavonic studies.