[map of Bulgaria] Independent monarchy in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula; area, 39,814 square miles. The region was inhabited in Roman times by Thraco-Illyrians, later by Slavs, and towards the end of the 7th century was overrun by the Bulgars, a people akin to the Huns and Tatars, who adopted the language of the conquered Slavs. Christianity was introduced by disciples of Saints Cyril and Methodius who are considered the national apostles. In 864 the Khan Boris became a Christian for political reasons and favored the pope in the dispute between Rome and the Eastern Church, but turned to the Greek Church upon the pope's refusal to make the Bulgarian Church an independent patriarchate. In 1870 the Bulgarian Church, which resembles the Orthodox in doctrine and worship, was declared independent. Ecclesiastical designators include: See also:
New Catholic Dictionary

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