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Presbyter Kozma

The first scribe to write satires and polemics in the Bulgarian language was Presbyter Kozma who lived and worked during the tenth century. This priest in the Old Bulgarian Church was one of the most remarkable of medieval writers, who reflected in his writings the social and political characteristics of his society.


Spiritual Hunger

You possess wealth and all the things of the world, like the Bible and the Gospel, some other books as well, all of which are rich in convinc-ing words and heterogeneous sentences, and you yourself are familiar with them all. Yet there is one thing you have not learned to under-stand, namely: You must sacrifice your soul for your brothers' sake. Why do you hide from them the divine words? Books are written for precisely this purpose-so the people may save themselves with them, and not to have them consumed by moles and mould. If you have read in some book or other that books must be hidden from your brothers, then those kinds of books should not only be eaten by moles and mould but should be cast into the fire. No, my friend, conceal not the words of God from those who want to copy and read them. Books were not written to lie hidden in our hearts, or to be kept in our houses. Bury not God's pearl on account of your penury and greed.
You read them in secret in order that you may be better than your unlettered brothers. Nevertheless you will be unable to save yourself and will only cause many to perish. The hoarding of books causes the spiritual starvation of an entire people. If you think and care about the salvation of your brothers, why do you not give them books that they too might copy and read the words of God? Do you realize what calamity we are facing through the unknowing and the unreading of books? Is it not evident that all evil emanates from the fact that we do not read books?



Last modified: November 24, 1997

p-miltenoff@nwu.edu