Vassilis Maragos’ Paisii Hilendarski and Sofronii Vrachanski highlights Bulgaria’s transition from pre-modern times to the formative period of modern Bulgarian national identity. Paisii Hilendarski (1720-1773) and Sofronii Vrachanski (1739-1813) are landmark figures on the road from traditional Christian Orthodox ideology to the modern ideas of Enlightenment and nationalism. In his 1762 Slav-Bulgarian History, Paisii Hilendarski glorified the medieval Bulgarian kingdoms and called his compatriots to discard the widespread use of the Greek language. Sofroni Vrachanski published in 1805 the first book printed in Bulgarian. His Nedelnik or Book of Sundays, was an adaptation of a Greek-language book by Agapios Landos bearing the same title. Sofronii introduced to Bulgaria the ideas of Enlightenment while preserving the belief system of the Orthodox worldview. Maragos presents the influence of Greek culture on the shaping of Bulgarian identity as well as the common cultural origins of Greeks and Bulgarians, which the author attributes to both Orthodoxy and the Enlightenment. The book also discusses the processes through which modern Bulgarians were separated from the community of the Orthodox.
Preface: Paschalis M. Kitromilides.