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Religious wars and competition for religious supremacy that allowed feudal medieval Church to oppress people while some Church leaders were openly corrupt, led to an open call by Christians to return to original apostolic Christianity. The Roman and Byzantine Churches reacted to their critics with severe punishment, and/or forced conversion. There was a need to re-evaluate Christianity as it has evolved in the institutional Christian Church.

On the one hand, various religious movements developed independently to serve the needs for the poor and oppressed, and on another, various spiritual movements inspired by renewed interest in the interpretation of the Bible, particularly the Book of Revelation, study of the ancient Greek and Roman myths and religions, and the works of the early Church Fathers.

The literal understanding of the biblical writing, which created belief in witches, devils and all kinds of spiritual manifestations, the cruelties by the Turkish invasions, and increased antisemitisms led some intellectuals to search for a universal religion based on common human values and aspirations.

Because Jesus’ teaching is so universal, it could be applied to different situation and explained in the symbols that Jesus used, like Sun, grape-wine etc. The humanists understood Jesus’ primary concern was for people, for individuals to be able to think for themselves and find the Truth by themselves, as he did, and stand for it, so that the entire society can benefit and eventually evolve to a more just society.

The religious superstition caused by worshipping the relics and religious objects, like the wounds of Christ, did not contribute to better understanding of Jesus’ teaching. On the contrary, it was causing religious fanatism.

The medieval humanists recognized that Christianity has degenerated when the Church allied with the feudal imperialistic rulers, so that drastic reforms were needed. To do so, the humanists had to go back to the source, to examine what was wrong with the Old Testament and where Christianity had strayed away from the original teaching of Jesus. For genuine Christians, it was hard to comprehand that God, who was pure Love, would approve of forceful conversions, crusades against pagans, burning of witches and critics of the Church.  They saw the solution by writing in codded messages, so that only like-minded intellectuals could understand, and by promoting the reading of the biblical books and for this purpose, also promoting the schools, like the 10th century Bogomils and Cathars had been doing.

The Renaissance humanism started in Italy from where it spread across Western Europe in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. As the name suggests, humanists were the teachers and students of the humanities, which included grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry, and moral philosophy. Some teaching came from Greece, and some from the Arabs. Latin scholars began studying Greek and Arabic works on natural science, philosophy and mathematics.

As a cultural movement, the Renaissance promoted Latin and vernacular literatures. The Renaissance began in the Republic of Florence with the writing of Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) and Petrarch (1304-1374). Other major centres were Venice, Genoa, Milan, Bologna, Rome, Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp.

The neo-Platonic humanists did not reject Christianity, but tried to present it in a new way.

Petrarch, who was a cleric, was first to encourage the study of pagan civilizations and classical moral virtues in order to preserve Christianity.

The Neo-Platonists were trying to reconcile Platonism with Christianity. They were followers of Saint Augustine. Neo-Platonism and Hermeticism, proponents of which were Nicholas of Kues, Giordano Bruno, Pico della Mirandola, among others, was popular trend that had great influence on Nicholas Kempf. Their ideas at times seem like a new religion.

I suppose the iconoclastic Humanism was regarded Godless. Not worshipping icons was considered not respecting God.  This does not mean that the adherents were godless, only that they worshipped what the sacramental symbols represent.

Esoteric language is one of the safeguards placed in the Bible to assure humanity that the universal values Jesus promoted, would continue in all cultures, all times and in all places, even if the Church becomes so corrupt that people stray away.

We are forgetting that many saints were persecuted by the same Church that later beatified them.  This happened to many Christian mystics.

This situation may be generalized to include any religion of any time and place. Every religious movement begins as a humanistic movement, with the wellbeing of humanity as the primary goal. Eventually the entire society gets corrupted, which can cause the fall of civilisation.

Early Slovenian Humanist

Slovenian history has been wrapped in mystery because the German historians simply counted them among Austrian (or German) scholars and dignitaries, because the political situation required that they speak German and Latin. Also, since their land was occupied by Germans, they were counted as Germans. However, their distinct Slovenian names, either Latinized or Germanized, at times even the pseudonyms, reveal their Slovenian origin, although some also originated from German noble families.

Nicholas Kempf was not Slovenian by birth, but he spent over 30 years in Slovenian speaking environment. He studied humanities at Vienna University, where at the time of his studies, at least seven professors were of Slovenian origin. Dennis Martin, who wrote Kemp’s biography, does not mention Kempf’s association with Slovenians, nor the fact that many Slovenian professors who studied at Padua University, spread humanism at the Vienna University. Martin mentions some Neo-Platonists that inspired Kempf, such as Gerson, Nicholas of Kusa.

Before Kempf came to Dolenjska and Štajerska, Glagolitic writing was used, as it is attested by Georgius de Sclavonia, native of Brežice (Slovenia). He learned glagolitic writing from Croatian priests before he went to study at Vienna University. In 1400, he wrote a book in Glagolitic and three years later, he obtained the doctoral degree. He later became profesor of Theology at the Paris Univesity. He left many theological works, among them the Mns. 95, containing several texts in Cyrilic and Glagolitic.  

From his writing, it is also clear how religion played into politics. In a similar way the Germans used religion to Germanize Slovenians, the Croatians used Glagolitza and Croatian language in liturgy. Although both Slovenians and Croatians were part of the Patriarhate of Aquileia, Croatians claimed regions using Glagolitic as their territory. Gregorius’s statement Istria eadem patria Chrawati (Istria is a homeland of the Croats) was used by the Croats to obtain the entire Istria after WW2.

The Croatians proudly claim Georgius de Sclavonia for their scholar, although he was born in Brežice, which at the time was Slovenian teritorry (within a walking distance to Pleterje Charterhouse). Slovenians at the time had no king of their own; their territory was divided among Austria, Hungary and Italy. The designation ‘Slovenian’ did not include the citizens of the Kingdom of Croatia, but people who spoke Slovenian language, and who were called Winds or Wends by Germans. Even those territories where Slovenians lived under Habsburgs, were divided  into different duchies, like Carinthia, Carniola, and marches, like Windish Mark, and Mark of Soune.

Although the Latin word for Wends/Winds was Slauone, the regional designations were used, like Carniolan, Carinthian. In 1415, when Carthusians formed the Fraternity of four Slovenian Charterhouses, they included Žiče and Jurklošter in the Duchy of Styria, Pleterje and Kostanjevica  in the Duchy of Carniola.

No Carthusian Charterhouses from Croatia were included (they did not even exist), which is suggestive that the Carthusians were well aware of the distinction between Slovenians and Croatians.

In the pre-Roman times, the inhabitants of Illyria, Pannonia and Dalmatia, spoke similar language which later became known as ‘sclavonic’, after Jordanes pointed out that Veneti, Antes and Sclaveni were the same people. In the mid-15th century, the Counts of Celje were the bans (rulers) of Sclavonia and large part of present day Croatia. The Kajkavian language, registered as one of the Croatian languages, is recognized by the linguists to have closer affinity to Slovenian, than to Croatian language. This can explain the similarity of Slovenian and Croatian language in the mid-15th century.

The Bosnian Bogomils used Glagolica, like Croatians. A lot of apocriphal and gnostic books were only translated in Glagolitic script, and they would naturaly be of interest of the humanists.

Copy of Georgius’ original note
At the bottom: transcription of his handwriting (left), Croatian translation (middle), Slovenian translation (right)

The above picture is a page from his Glagolitic book in which Georgius explains the letters of the alphabet. It illustrates how close Slovenian and Croatian were at the time and how little those basic words changed since the 15th century.

These Glagolitic notes were written while he was studying at the Vienna University, that is, before 1400, when he obtained the doctoral degree. This means that he would still be remembered at the University at the time Kempf was a student there, even if he was teaching in Paris at the time. There is also a question why he needed to write a Glagolitic book at the German speaking university, which had no designation for Slavic students.

Georgius would have learned Glagolitic at the time of Emperor Charles IV, who was very tolerant of Slavonic liturgy and Glagolitic script; he even promoted the re-introduction of Glagolitic in Bohemia, and in his proclamation, he ordered Princes Palatine to learn Slavonic language.

Therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that Slovenians close to Croatia would use Glagolitic script to write down OCS language.

Finding this information was very helpful to me, because it enabled me to better understand the language of the VM, which contains much more Croatian words than the language of the Protestant writers 100 years later.

This serves as a proof that there was a great interest for Slovenian language in the 15th century Europe.

It is also worth noting that Croatians managed to convince the Roman popes that St. Jerome invented Glagolitza. Empire Charles IV used the same argument to promote it also in Bohemia, and for this reason, six Glagolitic priests from the island of Pašman were invited to Bohemia to revitalize the Old Church Slavonic language.

Another prevailing view among some scholars was that Sclaveni, Antes and Veneti had common origin from the ancient Veneti. This theory was introduced by Jordanes in his History of the Goths, who, like Tacitus in Germania, claimed that the Slavs are the descendants of the ancient Veneti, who lived in democracy, and were described by earlier sources, such a s Pliny the Elder, Ptolemy. This idea had sparked great interest in the 18th century, and has again resurfaced in the 20th century.

The fact remains that Slovenians in Carinthia had a special status within the Austrian Empire. Up to 1414, when Ernest the Iron became Duke of Carinthia, Carinthian dukes were installed according to the ancient Slovenian ritual in Slovenian language. His son, Frederick, who was destined for the emperor, refused to be installed according to that ancient peasant custom, when he became the Duke of Carinthia.

According to the Slavic law, Carinthians also enjoyed some privileges that allowed women to inherit property, which made them very desirable brides.

I have not been able to find out what the purpose of the formation of the Fraternity of four Slovenian Charterhouses in 1415 was, but developing written Slovenian language might not be a far-fetched idea at the time when the Counts of Celje were preparing to form a Slavic Empire.

According to modern Slovenian historians, Primož Trubar was the author of the first Slovenian book, and he is credited to be the first to use expressions Slovenci and Slovenian for the people speaking Slovenian language, regardless in which political entity they lived in. The fact is, that the Carthusians used it over hundred years earlier, as attested on the document from 1415, as well as in other sources.  Janez Hofler, in his book Trubarjevi ‘Lubi Slovenci’ mentions the frescoes from Strasbourg, or a miniature from the Ottonian Bible.

Because Slovenian language was not official language, Slovenian intellectuals had to write German, French, or Latin, and their national identity was almost lost, except for their Germanized Slovenian names.

The number of Slovenian students at the Vienna university, and their position at various institutions, reflects their love of learning.

Vienna University

Nicholas Kempf started as a student at the Vienna University, and after graduating, taught for a few years, then entered the Carthusian order. Many of his friends from the University joined him. He kept in touch with the University even after he entered the monastery.

The Vienna University was founded by the Habsburg Rudolf IV in 1365, a month after he founded the town of Novo mesto (Rudolfswert in Windish Mark) and is the oldest university in the German speaking lands. The students and the faculty were divided into four nations: Austrian, Saxon, Czech and Hungarian. Slovenians from the Patriachate of Aquileia were counted among the Austrian nation. Slovenians from the regions annexed to Hungary, counted among Hungarians, and the ones for the regions annexed to the Republic of Venice, counted among Venetians. The condition for the study at Vienna University was also the use of German language.

Collegium ducale – the Ducal Colidge, Vienna

From the Slovenian-Austrian lands, a total of 2.271 students were registered at Vienna university between 1377-1518, which represented 6 % of all students.

By the second half of the 15th century, the Vienna University experienced decline. The situation was very bad under Hungarian Mathias Corvinus (1485-1490), so that the number of students fell from a few thousand to a few hundreds. Academically, it also fell behind other universities, which embraced humanistic studies, while Vienna University was focused on scholastic.

This information gives us some inside at the study, and later, of the work environment at the university, while Kempf was there. He had openly complained against scholastic teaching, which was oppressing young creative minds, particularly poets.

Before the end of the 15th century, several new universities were founded (Trier, Freiburg, Basel, Ingolstadt, Mainz, Tubingen) where the spirit of humanism and classical literature prevailed over dry scholastic. Slovenian academic Brikcij Preprost (Briccius Preprost) from Celje was credited for reforming the Vienna University (it is most likely that Briccius was influenced by Nicholas Kempf, who is regarded as one of the great humanist and monastic reformer of his time). Kempf would have been prior at Jurklošter (within walking distance from Celje) Charterhouse while Brikcij was preparing for the university study.

Nicholas Kempf was as critical of Vienna University scholastic teaching as was Preprost who was a faculty member years after Kempf left.  After the Basel council was suppressed, the conservatism prevailed, which was in part the reason Kempf left the University and entered the Carthusian order. He adhered to the Church Reforms introduced by the Council of Basel. He seems to be supportive of Hussites, although he did not fully agree with them, because Jan Hus interpreted the biblical writing literally, not symbolically. Kampf remained true to his convictions, unlike Piccolomini, who was humanist and supporter of Basel Council at first, but switched his loyalty and became a bishop of Trieste, then a cardinal and eventually a pope, who installed his own nephew as his successor. As Pope Pius II, he sent Crusades to suppress Hussite war.

Because of the spread of Protestantism, renounced as heretical by the Catholic Church, most Slovenian students opted for study on German universities. First Slovenian books were printed in Tubingen. To stop the spread of Protestantism, the Vienna University would not even accept students, nor professors, from the lands where Protestantism was spread.

Among the most famous Slovenian contemporaries of Nicholas Kempf, two individuals from Celje should be mentioned.

Slovenian Bernard Perger was one of the most distinguished mid-15th century academics in Vienna. He registered at Vienna university in 1459, studied philosophy and until 1481, lectured geometry, mathematics, astronomy, and classical literature. He also studied medicine and Law. In 1471, he became rector of the Vienna University. He also taught Latin Grammar and wrote a Grammar book (Grammatica nova) Venetiis, 1479, in association with Nikolay from Novo mesto and Preprost from Celje. Between 1492 and 1501, Perger was the imperial superintendent at the University (representative of Emperor Frederick III, and later Maximilian I). 

Tomaž Prelokar, also known as Thomas de Cilia, Thomas Berlower or Thomas Prelager, was born around 1430 most likely in a lower class family. He attended art faculty at the Vienna University (after Kempf left, and after Kempf spent several years as a prior at nearby Jurklošter).

Prelokar studied at the Arts Faculty and became Magister. Afterwards, he went to Padua, Italy, where he became Doctor of Law in 1466. In 1470, he was employed at the court of Emperor Frederick III, where he became Emperor’s trusted secretary and teacher of his son, Maximillian who was destined to succeed Frederick. It is known fact that the Emperor spoke Slovenian. Thomas was first humanist at the court of the German Emperor, which became the gathering place of humanistic intellectuals. Eventually, he became a bishop of Constance, and prince of the Holy Roman Empire. He died in 1496.

According to Slovenian sources from the 19th century, Thomas Prelokar wrote Slovenian grammar book and Slovenian dictionary.


We tend to think of Carthusians as monks spending their time in solitude. While this might be the case for the monks, a prior had to communicate with the monks and with the outside word. He also had to teach the monks and lay brothers how to read and write. He attended court sessions, lectured at the universities. This is how I imagine the life of Nicholas Kempf who is known to keep in touch with the Vienna University, its former students and fellow faculty members. This would give him plenty of opportunities to meet at least some professors from the present day Štajerska, if he did not meet them before.

Because Perger was much younger than Kampf, he most likely did not meet Kempf as a student at Vienna. It is possible that he met him, since they had common interest in philosophy, and since Kempf kept in touch with the university. Perger wrote his Latin Grammar book with the help of Preprost, who also came from Styria, and Nicholas from Novo mesto. Preprost and Perger were both from the vicinity of Celje, so they could have been prepared for the university study by Kempf at the Jurklošter Charterhouse, which was within a walking distance of their homes. The monasteries were the places where young boys were prepared for the university studies, for which the knowledge of Latin and German was required.

I was not able to get any information about Nikolaj from Novo mesto. At the time, Novo mesto was a small newly founded town, some 20 kilometres from Charterhouse Pleterje. It is possible that Nicholas Kempf identified himself as Nicholas from Rudolfswert, since Pleterje Charterhouse was within a walking distance from Novo mesto, and perhaps not that well known.

Brikcij Preprost (Briccius Preprost de Cilia) was born around 1440 and was registered at the Art Faculty at the Vienna University in 1457. Eventually, he became the dean of Arts Faculty. It looks like he encountered some problems there when in 1486, he refused to testify against his countryman, George from Cilli, a medical doctor who was accused of heretical writing by the University.

Heretical writing could be anything the Roman Church did not approve, since by then, any ideas prior accepted by the Basel Council, were no longer acceptable, after Frederic III allied with the Roman pope Eugene. Kempf was a Catholic, but he still adhered to the ideas of the Basel Council.

Since Nicholas Kempf is also mentioned by Martin for his contribution to Latin grammar at Vienna University, we can safely assume that Kempf, Perger and Praprost knew each other, and  that they work at least on one project together. 

Perger was also known as astrologer and he might contribute some ideas for the astronomical pages in the VM.

Another Slovenian, Kempf might have met, was Thomas Prelokar from Celje.

It is less likely that Thomas was the author of the VM, because that would place its creation after 1470. This would be too far outside the date determined by the carbon dating, and because the book is not arranged as a grammar book, nor as a dictionary, but rather the mixture of different things, alluding to be a personal book of a poet, who also had other interests, but most likely the spiritual notes and perhaps the ideas for sermons or for teaching Slovenian language.

Assuming that the author of the VM was Nicholas Kempf, who was known for promoting vernacular language in liturgy, this would explain why the first Slovenian books – a grammar and a dictionary were written by Thomas of Celje, and some 70 years later by Trubar, native of Dolenjska region.

It is possible that there was greater effort made for the learning and use of Slovenian language, however when the Catholic Church failed to accept the reforms to introduce the vernacular languages, the use of Slovenian books for liturgy was probably regarded as Protestant. This could also explain why only five out of 30 books written by Nicholas Kempf have been preserved (in copies only), and why even those saved, were never translated into Slovenian language. Some of his ideas had to wait 600 years to be accepted by the Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council. However, like other Protestant literature, his ideas were transmitted underground, by way of literature, in symbolic language that only other like-minded mystical artists understood and transmitted in culturally acceptable forms.

Slovenian or Carniolan language

Although I believe the VM is written in Slovenian language of the 15th century, this is hard to accept by the contemporary Slovenian scholars, who had already determined that the first book written in Slovenian language was Trubar’s Cathehismus and Abecedarium from 1550. This is understandable, because the internet enabled much more material to be available, not only to academics, but to amateurs as well. If there were any books perserved, they were lost in foreing libraries. Slovenians are very excited about the few Slovenian words used by German poet Ulrich von Liechtenstein in the 13th century. Recently, a discovery of the numbers of one to ten, written in Slovenian in a 13th century German manuscript, caused great sensation.

Alternative theories and explanations are offered as the history is being re-examined in view of the wealth of information, offered on line in original languages and in English.

Unlike the Protestant writers of the mid-16th century, who dedicated their book to Slovenians in order that all those who spoke different Slovenian dialects (Carinthian, Carniolan, Istrian, Slovenian and Bezjak) can read them, the VM had no introduction, no dedication, and no name of its author.

The VM is different from other medieval manuscripts, although it shows some likeness to the German genre of Medical Housebuchs. It included the pages with zodiac signs, but it does not include calendars, nor the pictures of saints. The largest part is devoted to flowers, yet the flowers look weird and the text next to the individual flowers look like poems.

I believe the VM is written for a personal interest, for teaching oneself (and perhaps the fellow monks) Slovenian language and Slovenian writing. Since labels (individual words) have no Latin or German translation, it is most likely that the book was meant for somebody who knew how to speak and could recognize the written words. This means that the author had created pages of written words as a teaching aid for spelling and grammar. The full pages of text could be notes for sermons, personal reflections, or various instructions.

The pictures, although of inferior quality, could be the expression of authors’ philosophy, expressed mostly in floral symbolism, or in abstract art, to satisfy author’s inner need for expression of his higher wisdom, something he could not share with people who hardly new how to read basic words.

The word ‘flower’ was used by humanistic writers to mean the superlative of phylosophical sayings in the book of Rosary of Philosophers (12th century). The work of Picolo of Mirendolo was regarded ‘flowers of heresy’ by the pope. In Slovenian language, the symbolism of flower goes even further; the best of home made brandy is called ‘cvet’ (flower, blossom), the youth is called ‘cvet mladosti’ (flower of youth). In general, the word ‘flower’ was used for ‘flowers’ and for ‘poetry’.

I noticed the high frequency of the word ‘(r)oza in the VM. At times, it is hard to tell when it is used in a real or in symbolic sense.

Main sources:

Ožinger, Anton: Študenti iz slovenskih dežel na dunajski univerzi v poznem srednjem veku (1365-1518)

Prosen, Marijan: Astronom iz Slovenskih Goric, 1993

Höfler, Janez: Trubarjevi »Lubi Slovenci« ali Slovenija pred 650 leti v Strasbourgu, 2009

Slovenian articles


Številni raziskovalci Voynichevega rokopisa predpostavljajo, da je VR povezan s heretičnim srednjeveškim gibanjem. Lev Levitov je celo osnoval svojo teorijo na predpostavki, da je VR liturgična knjiga katarov, ki jih smatra za ostanek egipčansko-grškega kulta boginje Isis. Njegova teorija je bila deležna velike pozornosti, vendar ni bila sprejeta. Glede na to, da v ilustracijah ni vidnih krščanskih simbolov pa strokovnjaki smatrajo, da je VR povezan s heretičnim gibanjem tistega časa.

Najmočnejše heretično gibanje, ki je obstajalo v Evropi štiri stoletja in imelo velik vpliv na duhovnost in politiko, je bil bogomilizem, ki je imel svoj začetek v Bolgariji (v Ohridu in Prespi, današnji Makedoniji).

V Bosni je bogomilstvo postalo državna religija. V Evropi so bogomili vplivali na nastanek italijanskih patarenov in francoskih katarov, s katerimi so imeli tesne zveze, pa tudi na številna druga verska gibanja, ki so se upirala uradni institucionalni Cerkvi. Zaradi tega so bili bogomili preganjani tako s strani bizantinske kot tudi rimske Cerkve.

Bogomili so predstavljali slovansko duhovno gibanje, ki je nastalo v Makedoniji v času, ko so tam iz Moravske pregnani učenci Sv. Metoda začeli širiti vero in pismenost. Izstopali so po tem, da so bili preprosti, delovni, miroljubni, in da so dajali prednost duhovnemu življenju in obsojali materializem.

V Makedoniji so na nastanek bogomilov vplivali pavlikijanci, ki so jih Bizantinci naselili v Trakiji, od koder so organizirali aktivno misijonsko dejavnost na Balkanu.


Do nedavnega je veljalo, da so si pavlikijanci nadeli ime po Pavlu iz Samostana v severni Mezopotamiji, zadnje čase pa vse bolj prevladuje prepričanje, da gre za novozaveznega apostola Pavla. Najbolj so bili aktivni med letoma 650 in 872. Ustanovitelj te verske ločine je bil Armenec Konstantin. Bili so preprosti, krščevali so samo odrasle, veliko so molili in se postili ter brali sveto pismo Nove Zaveze. O njih so se ohranile le tiste informacije, ki so jih zapisali njihovi nasprotniki, zato je možno, da so bili nerazumljeni ali namerno prikazani kot  nevarni heretiki, še posebej ker so se uprli čaščenju križa, ikon in svetnikov, kar so nekateri cesarji kaznovali, drugi pa ne. Cesar Leon III Sirec je leta 726 z zakonom prepovedal uporabo ikon, čemur so nasprotovali rimski papeži. Ta verski spor je zajel celotno bizantinsko cesarstvo in tudi zahodno Evropo.  

Source: Wikipedia

Širitev pavlikijancev po Evropi

Najhujše preganjanje pavlikijancev je sprožila kmečka vstaja, ki jo je vodil Tomas Slovan v Mali Aziji v letih od 820 do 824. Teodora, ki je zastopala cesarja Mihaela II, je ponovno vzpostavila češčenje ikon in dala pobiti okoli 100.000 armenskih pavlikijancev. Preostali so se zatekli k Perzijcem in tam leta 844 ustanovili svojo mestno državo Tephrice, ki je v številnih virih omenjena kot versko zelo tolerantna.

To je bilo torej le nekaj let poprej, kot je cesar Mihael II poslal slovanska misijonarja Cirila in Metoda v Veliko Moravsko. V Tesalonikiju (danes Solunu), je bilo takrat že toliko Slovenov, da so bili prebivalci praktično dvojezični.

Opozicija uradni bizantinski cerkvi na vzhodu se je nadaljevala in leta 970 je bizantinski cesar preselil 200.000 armenskih pavlikijancev v današnjo Bolgarijo, v mesto Plovdiv. Po nekaterih drugih virih naj bi pred bizantinskim preganjanjem zbežali v prvo bolgarsko državo. Od tam so organizirali misijonsko dejavnost v Bolgariji in drugod po Balkanu.

Bogomili so bili sorodni s pavlikijanci, tako glede doktrine kot tudi glede krščanskega življenja v praksi. Obe verski ločini sta nastali kot upor proti uradni cerkvi, ki je svoje dogme in zakone prirejala fevdalnemu sistemu, in proti nenehnim vojnam, ki so vladarjem služile za širjenje njihovih kraljestev, pri čemer so najbolj trpeli vojaki in preprosti ljudje. Jezusovo izročilo, ki je bilo namenjeno predvsem za osvoboditev teptanih in zatiranih, so zasenčile razne cerkvene dogme, ki so dopuščale stvari proti katerim se je Jezus najbolj boril – korupcijo v cerkvenih krogih in pobijanje v imenu Boga za obrambo vere.

Po Iliriku in Dalmaciji se je krščanstvo širilo že v času sv. Pavla, ki je oznanjal evangelij v makedonskem mestu Filipi (danes v Grčiji), v Dalmacijo pa je poslal svojega sodelavca Tita. Za rimsko provinco Panonijo je oglejski patriarh že v 3. stoletju ustanovil škofijo na Ptuju, ki je segala vse do današnje Sremske Mitrovice. Pa tudi številni krščanski mučenci iz obdobja cesarjev Dioklecijana in Nera pričajo o zgodnjem krščanstvu na Balkanu. Razumljivo bi torej bilo, da bi pavlikijanci naleteli na plodna tla na Balkanu.

Pavlikijancem pripisujejo tudi arijansko zmoto. Panonski škof Viktorinus je bil arijanske vere in zelo kritičen do Rima, ki ga je enačil s svetopisemsko prostitutko. Arijske vere so bili tudi Vandali, Langobardi, Vizigoti in celo Franki (do leta 496).


Bogomili so se pod tem imenom prvič pojavili v 10. stoletju. Gibanje je nastalo kot odmev na nastajajoči fevdalni sistem v Bolgariji in kot reakcija na cerkveno hierarhijo. Ime so domnevno dobili po njihovem voditelju Bogomilu.

Bogomil je bil sodobnik Klemena Ohridskega, škofa, vzgojitelja in pisatelja, nekdanjega Metodovega sodelavca, ki se je po izgonu iz Moravske zatekel v Ohrid.

Za Bogomile so v staroslovenskih cerkvenih dokumentih pogosto uporabljali tudi izraz babuni, kar je originalno pomenilo »lahkoveren, dojemljiv za magijo«, kot je zapisano v wikipediji in številnih drugih virih.

Ker so bili bogomili preganjani tako s straniRimske kot tudi Bizantinske Cerkve, je bila večina njihovih originalnih dokumentov uničena, zato je težko ugotoviti, kako so bili povezani z Metodovo Staroslovensko Cerkvijo, ker je tudi o tej malo zgodovinskih virov, razen da je bil že sam Metod obdolžen krivoverstva, ker je uporabljal slovenski jezik in ker se je v nekaterih stvareh razhajal z Rimsko Cerkvijo.

Kot je razvidno iz zgornjih dveh zemljevidov, zgodovinski viri enačijo Katare in bogomile, čeprav so med njimi obstajale tudi razlike (na istih mestih so se poprej širili pavlikijanci). V Bosni je obstajala posebna zvrst bogomilizma, ki je bil štiri stoletja uradna državna religija, ločena od Rima.

Bogomili so odklanjali cerkveno hierarhijo in še posebej nemoralno življenje višje duhovščine, pa tudi čaščenje križa, ikon, relikvij in svetnikov ter razkošna cerkvena oblačila in rituale. Tudi njihovi preganjalci so priznavali krščansko življenje bogomilov, vendar so to smatrali zgolj kot “navidezno”.

Zakramente so bogomili smatrali kot simbolično spominsko dejanje; za hostije so uporabljali navaden kruh. Njihova najpomembnejša molitev je bila Očenaš. Koncepta vic niso priznavali, nebesa pa so razumeli kot zedinjenje s Svetim Duhom. Od svetopisemskih knjig so uporabljali štiri evangelije in Apostolska dela, pismo stare zaveze pa so odklanjali. Prizadevali so se za širjenje knjig in za promocijo pismenosti v narodnem jeziku, predvsem pa za moralno-etične vrednote svojih pripadnikov, ki naj bi z zgledom izzivali kristjane.

Krščevali so samo odrasle, ki so za krst sami zaprosili in se nanj tudi duhovno pripravili. Svoje verske obrede so opravljali v navadnih hišah. Bogomili so sami sebe imenovali »krstjani«, kar nekateri prevajajo kot »kristjani«. Zanimivo je, da Slovenci uporabljajo izraz za iniciacijo v krščanstvo »krst« in da so tudi ameriški »baptisti«, ki smatrajo bogomile za svoje predhodnike, dobili ime po njih. 

Franc Perko, slovenski teolog, ki je dolgo deloval kot škof v Beogradu, je o  njih zapisal sledeče:

»Med ljudstvom so bili bogomili zelo priljubljeni. Preprosti ljudje so jih imeli za predstavnike čistega krščanstva. Bogomili so namreč opozarjali na evangelijsko uboštvo in bratstvo, sami so dajali zgled vzvišene morale. Pravi bogomil je moral popolnoma obvladati samega sebe, ni smel lagati, nikogar varati, nikomur prisegati, nikoli uživati mesa in druge živalske hrane razen rib, ohranjati je moral popolno spolno zdržnost in živeti skromno. Seveda je bila te visoke zahteve zmožna izpolnjevati le majhna skupina izbrancev. Do drugih pa so bili ti izbranci obzirni in popustljivi. /…/ Nihče ni smel prositi, pač pa si je moral z delom služiti vsakdanji kruh. Bolnike in dela nezmožne so vzdrževali z darovi in zapuščinami. Vsak se je moral varovati jeze in tudi z živalmi ravnati dobrohotno. Za tiste, ki so se pregrešili, so imeli ob mesečnih shodih javno očiščevanje.« (Verstva Jugoslavije, str. 25)

L. P. Brockett ugotavlja, da so bogomili svojo organizacijo prevzeli od slovanskih plemen, kjer je ožjo skupnost vodil  župan, širšo skupnost pa nadžupan, nad njimi pa so bili princi in kralji. Omenja tudi, da je bilo v 13. stoletju v Zahodni Evropi 13 bogomilskih provinc, ki so imele izvor v Bosni in Bolgariji.

Ženske so imele enakopravno vlogo v Cerkvi. Veliko so se ukvarjale z dobrodelno dejavnostjo: ustanavljale so samostane, kjer so skrbele za reveže in bolnike ter vodile šole.

Bogomili so bili nedvomno povezani z Metodovo slovensko Cerkvijo, saj so uporabljali slovensko literaturo ali prevode iz starocerkvene slovenščine v razne nacionalne jezike.

Metodova slovenska Cerkev in bogomili

Zanimivo je, da so se pavlikijanci v Armeniji pojavili nekako v istem času, kot so Sloveni začeli vpadati v Bizantinsko cesarstvo in Solun spremenili v dvojezično mesto. Iz tega bi lahko sklepali, da so venetsko-panonska plemena, ki so po številnih vojnah ostala severno od Donave in ohranila svoj venetski (proto-slovenski) jezik, ki so ga ponovno začeli uporabljati tudi na ozemlju nekdanjega Ilirika in Dalmacije, in da sta ga Sv. Ciril in Metod v pisni obliki prinesla nazaj v Panonijo, kjer je postal uradni jezik Metodove slovenske škofije. Nekateri zgodovinarji predpostavljajo, da je obstajala Slovenija – Sklavinija tudi nekje v današnji Makedoniji, spet drugi smatrajo, da je beseda Slav (Sclav) označevala vsa plemena, ki so govorila soroden jezik, tudi če so bila etnično mešana.

Moravski in Panonski Slovenci so bili prvi, ki so se osvobodili Avarov in ustanovili prvo slovensko državo, poznano kot Samovo kraljestvo, iz česar je nastala Karantanija, ki je zaradi ponovnih vpadov Avarov izgubila svojo samostojnost in je v zameno za vojaško pomoč morala sprejeti nadoblast Frankov in krščansko vero s strani bavarskih škofov.

Great Moravian in the 9th century, source: Wikipedia

Do 9. stoletja so druga slovanska plemena v vzhodnem in južnem delu Evrope dosegla relativno svobodo pod Bizantinskim cesarstvom.

Frankovska nadvlada in pokristjanjevanje sta povzročila tudi širjenje fevdalizma, kar je bilo tuje slovenskim plemenom, ki so poprej živela v manjših skupnostih in demokraciji. Moravski knez Rastislav se je zavedal, da samo z vojsko ne bo mogel preprečiti frankovskega vpliva. Kot piše Vasil Gluchman, je rešitev videl samo v samostojni državi, ki bi temeljila na neodvisni cerkveni strukturi in pravnem sistemu, primernemu razmeram in potrebam moravskih Slovenov. Računal je na implementacijo krščanske morale v življenje moravske aristokracije in drugih prebivalcev ter na močno narodnostno identiteto in jezikovno, kulturno, literarno in versko enotnost.

Rastislav je najprej zaprosil rimskega papeža, naj na Moravskem ustanovi škofijo. Ker tega ni dosegel, se je obrnil na bizantinskega cesarja Mihaela III. Le-ta je leta 863 poslal na Moravsko Cirila in Metoda, ki sta s svojimi sodelavci organizirala verski in kulturni center in za potrebe slovanskega bogoslužja prevedla verske knjige in pripravila za staroslovenski jezik primerno abecedo – glagolico.

Zaradi uporabe jezika, ki je bil razumljiv preprostim ljudem (pozneje poznan kot starocerkvena slovenščina), pa tudi zaradi njihovega kulturnega dela, so postali Metodovi duhovniki zelo priljubljeni, kar bavarski škofje niso mirno sprejeli ter so Cirila in Metoda obdolžili krivoverstva.

Zaradi uporabe slovenskega jezika sta morala v Rim na zagovor. Med potjo sta se ustavila pri mejnem slovenskem grofu Koclju (od 869 do 874 samostojni slovenski knez), ki se je tudi navdušil za bogoslužje v narodnem jeziku in zaprosil rimskega papeža, naj Metoda posveti v škofa.

Ciril (Konstantin) je v Rimu umrl, Metodu pa je papež Hadrijan dovolil uporabo slovenskega jezika, glagolske pisave in vhodnega obredja. Da bi obdržal Slovane v Rimski Cerkvi, je Metoda leta 869 posvetil v škofa in mu dodelil nekdanjo panonsko škofijo. Tako je nastala panonsko-moravska nadškofija s središčem v Sirmiju (danes Sremska Mitrovica).

V času Cirila in Metoda je Kocljeva kneževina obsegala območje zdajšnjega Porabja, Prekmurja in Panonske nižine. Ker se je v 9. stoletju tja preselilo veliko Karantancev, latinski viri imenujejo Spodnjo Panonijo tudi Carantanorum regio: Deželo Karantancev.

Za lokacijo zgodovinske Moravske velja ozemlje današnjih republik Češke in Slovaške, na jugu pa je mejila na Slovensko kneževino kneza Koclja.

Velikomoravska je postala močna sila v srednji Evropi in je ogrožala tako vzhod kot tudi zahod.

Ker so se Bavarski škofje počutili ogrožene zaradi Metodove priljubljenosti, so ga leta 870 ujeli in zaprli. Na papeževo posredovanje je bil leta 873 izpuščen in se je lahko vrnil na škofovsko mesto v Blatnograd (danes Mosaburg na Madžarskem) ob Blatnem jezeru, ki je bil center Kocljeveve kneževine, po Kocljevi smrti leta 875 pa se je moral preseliti više na sever, na Moravsko. Umrl je leta 885 v Višegradu (Praga ali Madžarska).

Po Metodovi smrti je Svetopolk s pomočjo Wichinga (ali Viching), novega švabskega škofa v Nitri (danes na Slovaškem), odločno stopil na stran bavarske duhovščine in uvedel latinsko bogoslužje, kot je to zahteval papež Štefan VI.

Metodovi učenci so se temu uprli in so ostali zvesti Metodovi slovenski Cerkvi, zato so bili preganjani, mučeni, prodani kot sužnji in izgnani iz Velikomoravske.

Kot ugotavlja Vasil Gluchman, Svetopolk ni pričakoval, ko se je povezal s frankovskim kraljem Arnulfom, da si bo le-ta podredil Velikomoravsko in jo preimenoval v Veliko Karantanijo.

Ko so Madžari (starejše ime je Ogri) uničili Velikomoravsko v letih od 904 do 906, je kot nova sila nastala Ogrska, ki se je na osebni družinski ravni ogrskih knezov in kraljev, pa tudi na politični ravni, povezala s Franki in rimsko Cerkvijo, za seboj pa je potegnila tudi Slovence nekdanje Metodove slovenske škofije, ki je temeljila na grškem obredu, starocerkvenem slovenskem jeziku in pripadnosti rimskemu papežu.

Razkol krščanstva na katoliško in pravoslavno veroizpoved v 11. stoletju je vplival na to, da so Slovenci in Hrvatje obdržali rimski obred, Sloveni na južnem Balkanu pa bizantinski obred. Medsebojni vplivi so povzročili številna verska gibanja in ločine, nekatere bolj, druge manj heretične, nekatere pa tudi po krivici obdolžene za heretične.

Čaščenje Cirila in Metoda se je razširilo še posebej med pravoslavnimi slovenskimi cerkvami, pa tudi med Sloveni rimske katoliške izpovedi, toda v papeških dokumentih ju je šele papež Leon XIII leta 1880 imenoval za »apostola Slovanov«, papež Janez Pavel II pa ju je leta 1980 imenoval za kozavetnika Evrope.

Širjenje in preganjanje bogomilov po Balkanu in Evropi

Zgodovinarji se strinjajo, da so bili bogomili slovansko versko gibanje in da so poleg svoje zvrsti vere širili tudi pismenstvo in literaturo, za kar so v Bolgariji (ki je sprva vključevala tudi Makedonijo in del Srbije) za krščanstvo in pismenstvo najbolj zaslužni nekdanji Metodovi učenci.

Ker se je Bolgarija tisti čas poskušala osvoboditi bizantinske nadvlade, je dokaj možno, da je bogomilsko gibanje vključilo tudi nacionalistične ter proti-bizantinske in proti-rimske ideje.

Okoli leta 1050 so bogomile zalotili v samostanu v Carigradu. Cesar je dal javno zažgati njihovega voditelja, preostale pa so prisilili k spreobrnitvi ali jih dosmrtno zaprli.

Iz Bolgarije so se Bogomili najprej razširili v Srbijo, ki si je tisti čas tudi prizadevala, da bi se otresla bizantinske oblasti. Leta 1172, ko je bil Štefan Nemanja veliki župan v Srbiji, se je pridružil proti-bizantinski koaliciji Benečanov, Madžarov in Svetega rimskega cesarstva. Nemanja je bil sicer krščen v rimski veri,  kar pomeni, da so Srbi sprejeli povabilo Papeža Janeza VIII, ki ga je leta 873 poslal knezu Mutimiru v Split, naj se po zgledu svojih prednikov priključijo Panonsko-moravski škofiji. Leta 870 je bila Srbija na vzhodni meji Metodove škofije in bi Rimska cerkev s priključitvijo Srbije tej škofiji spet dobila vpliv nad celim zahodnim Balkanom.

Papež Janez X je leta 924 prepovedal uporabo slovenske liturgije in zahteval, da jo nadomestijo z latinsko. V Dalmacijo je poslal dva svoja legata s pismi za hrvaškega kralja Tomislava, za Mihaela, vojvodo Zahumja (srb. Zahumlje ali Hum, danes pokrajina Hercegovina), in za splitskega nadškofa. V njih jih je opozoril, da morajo popraviti nekatere doktrine, ki so jih prejeli od Metoda in jih uskladiti z zahtevami Rimske Cerkve, ter da morajo maševati v latinščini »po vseh slovenskih deželah«. V tem pismu niso konkretno omenjeni bogomili, vendar se je takrat začelo preganjanje »heretikov«, ki so jih zgodovinarji pozneje imenovali bogomili.

Splitska sinoda, ki je sledila, je potrdila primat Dalmacije in Hrvaške splitskemu škofu, sprejela pa je tudi nekatere disciplinske zakone, ki so prepovedali ordinacijo duhovnikov, ki niso znali latinsko, pa tudi maševanje v staroslovenskem jeziku, razen kjer je bilo pomanjkanje duhovnikov, za kar bi morali dobiti izrecno papeževo dovoljenje.  

Sto let pozneje so se politične razmere na Balkanu močno spremenile. Ogrska je postala močna sila, ki je pripomogla k nastanku treh balkanskih kraljevin – srbske, hrvaške in bosanske, ker so bili kralji družinsko povezani.

Najprej je bil Štefan Nemanje s potrditvijo rimskega papeža okronan za prvega srbskega kralja, potem je njegov sin Rastko, z meniškim imenom Sava, postal škof in nato še prvi patriarh samostojne Srbske ortodoksne cerkve.

Na proces odcepitve je vplivala samovoljnost benečanskih voditeljev 4. križarske vojne, ki so kljub pozivu papeža Inocenca III, naj ne napadejo krščanskih držav, napadli in razdejali Zadar, potem pa še Carigrad, tako da si je Sveto rimsko cesarstvo s papežem vred nakopalo sovraštvo nekdanjih zaveznic.

Kako je vse to vplivalo na razvoj bogomilstva, je težko ugotoviti. Še teže je poskušati opisati na kratko. Dejstvo pa je, da se je ob vseh večjih napakah uradne Cerkve in s cerkvijo povezanih vladarjev pojavljalo proticerkveno gibanje kot vest iz zgodnjih krščanskih časov, kot nekakšna alternativa uradni Cerkvi.

Nemanja je heretike zelo kruto preganjal. Bogomilskemu učitelju je dal odrezati jezik, povečini pa jih je izgnal iz dežele, zaplenil njihovo imetje in sežgal njihove knjige.

Bogomili so prišli v Italijo že v 10. stoletju. Tam so bili poznani kot patareni. Najbolj so bili aktivni v Lombardiji. Na povelje papeža Honorija III so jih začeli preganjati iz vseh italijanskih mest, kar ni bilo lahko, ker so bili zelo priljubljeni med preprostimi ljudmi, pa tudi med plemstvom, še posebej v Milanu.

J. in B. Hamilton v knjigi Christian Dualist Heresies in the Byzantine World (Krščanske dualistične herezije) navajata, da je italijanski inkvizitor med dualističnimi cerkvami omenil tudi slovensko cerkev (The Church of Sclavonia). Nikjer ni razloženo, če je pri tem mišljena panonska Slovenija, ali starocerkvena skupnost v Istri, ki je spadala pod Oglejski patriarhat (glagoljaši).

Iz Italije se je bogomilizem razširil v Francijo, posebno v Languedoc, ter na Nizozemsko in v Nemčijo. V Franciji so bili bogomili poznani pod imenom katari. Imeli so podobno organizacijo in doktrine kot bogomili, a so uporabljali svoj narodni jezik.

Nekateri raziskovalci menijo, da sta v Franciji obstajali dve vrsti katarizma – radikalni, ki se je širil posebno med intelektualci, in bogomilstvo, ki je bilo povezano z bosanskimi bogomili in je pritegovalo preproste ljudske množice pa tudi veliko plemstva. Obe sta temeljili na skupnih etičnih in moralnih principih.

Ker katarov v Franciji, kjer so bili najbolj množični, niso mogli dobiti nazaj v rimsko Cerkev, je Papež Inocent III. poslal nadnje križarsko vojsko. Direkten povod za vojno pa je bil umor papeževega legata v Languedocu. Vojna proti katarom je trajala od leta 1208 do leta 1244, v njej pa naj bi bilo (če verjamemo zgodovinskim virom) pobitih okoli milijon katarov.

Ker so bile katarske knjige požgane, je o njih ostalo malo objektivnih virov. Največ informacij o njih so rekonstruirali iz dveh ohranjenih dokumentov.

Leta 1851 so v Franciji odkrili nedatiran rokopis iz zadnjega obdobja francoskega ali italijanskega bogomilistva. Poleg Očenaša vsebuje tudi 17 verzov Janezovega evangelija v latinščini. Preostali del je v jeziku, ki so ga govorili v Provansi in vsebuje obrazec za spoved, obrazec za sprejem v bogomilsko vero, obrazec za posvetitev perfektov, splošne napotke za vernike, ter obrazec za consolementum, njihov najvažnejši zakrament, ki je predstavljal bogomilsko enačico mašniškega posvečenja in  maziljenja za umirajoče. Predpostavljajo, da je bil ta molitvenik namenjen spreobrnjencem iz katoliške vere.

Dimitri Obolensky omenja tudi Skrivnostno katarsko knjigo, poznano pod imenom Liber Sancti Johannis ali Faux Evangile, ki je pisana v obliki dialoga med Jezusom in njegovim najljubšim apostolom Janezom Evangelistom.

Bogomilstvo v Porenju se je razvilo iz bizantinske krščanske duhovnosti in zahtev po cerkvenih reformah v zahodni Evropi. Najprej se je leta 1143 pojavilo v Kölnu, vendar je potem ko je bilo nekaj bogomilov sežganih na grmadi, v naslednjih dvajsetih letih povsem izginilo. 

Bosanski krstjani

Posebno zvrst bogomilizma predstavljajo bosanski krstjani, ki so se v začetku 11. stoletja tako usidrali v bosanski banovini, da so postali državna religija.

Po razpadu Velikomoravske so Madžari prevzeli vodilno vlogo v Panoniji in na Balkanu. Bosanski bani, zastopniki madžarskega kralja, so bili praktično samostojni, v vojnah so si s Hrvati, Srbi in Madžari pogosto medsebojno pomagali, v dinastičnih sporih pa so večkrat posegali po ozemlju svojih nasprotnikov. Od desetega stoletja naprej so bili od Bizantinskega cesarstva povsem ločeni.

Čeprav so mdžarski kralji dopustili svojim zastopnikom na Balkanu dovolj samostojnosti, so morali proti bogomilom ukrepati na zahtevo rimskih papežev, ki so jih večkrat pozivali, naj zatrejo »heretike« v svojem kraljestvu.

Večina zgodovinarjev meni, da so bogomili med letoma 1172 in 1180 iz Raške zbežali v Zahumje in Bosno. Vukan, srbski župan Zahumja, je leta 1199 opozoril papeža Inocenca II, da je bosanski ban Kulin sprejel heretike, ki jih smatra za kristjane, in da je tudi sam z ženo Vojslavo sprejel to vero in vanjo zapeljal okoli 10.000 Bosancev.

Copy “B” of the Charter of Ban Kulin

Za širjenje bogomilske vere v Bosni sta imela največ zaslug Rustudij (Aristodij) in njegov brat Matej, grška zlatarja, lepopisca in slikarja rokopisov, ki sta nekaj časa živela v Zadru in Splitu, od tam pa naj bi prišla v Bosno, kjer je Rustudij postal poglavar bosanske Cerkve (prvi »ded«).

Thomas J. Butler v svojem delu o bosanskih  bogomilih navaja, da je verjetno Rustudij, potem ko je bil izgnan iz Splita, začel novo smer bogomilstva, katerega pripadniki so se imenovali bosanski krstjani.

Plošča bana Kulina

Kulin je tudi pred papežem zagovarjal bosanske bogomile in njihovo doktrino. Na njegovo povabilo je papež poslal svojega legata Ivana de Kazamarisa (angl. John de Casamaris) in dubrovniškega nadškofa Marina v Bosno, kjer sta vso zimo raziskovala vernost Bosancev. Thomas J. Butler domneva, da je Marin kot prevajalec pogosto sam dal legatu odgovore, ki jih je želel slišati, tako da se je zadovoljen vrnil v Rim, potem ko mu je aprila 1203 sedem priorjev Bosanskih krstjanov na Bilinem Polju podpisalo obljubo, ki se je nanašala na cerkveno organizacijo in prakso. Menihi so zagotovili vdanost Rimski Cerkvi in obljubili, da bo opat, ki ga bodo sami zvolili, moral biti potrjen tudi s strani papeža. Strinjali so se, da bodo zgradili kapele z oltarji in križi, kjer bodo duhovniki opravljali maše in delili obhajilo vsaj sedemkrat letno ob glavnih praznikih, ter da bodo duhovniki tudi spovedovali in dajali pokoro. Menihi so obljubili, da bodo ob cerkvah uredili pokopališča ter da bodo opravljali dnevne in nočne molitve, brali Sveto pismo stare in nove zaveze ter da bodo upoštevali od Rimske Cerkve predpisan post. Strinjali so se prav tako, da bodo ločili ženske samostane od moških in da se ne bodo več nazivali »krstjani«, ampak bratje. Iz teh obljub je dejansko razvidno, v čem so se od rimskega obredja in prakse oddaljili.

Kljub novemu škofu, ki je bil poslan iz Dubrovnika, je Rustudij še vedno ostal vladar bosanske Cerkve in njegova veljava je tako narasla, da so ga smatrali tudi za voditelja vseh paterenov in albižanov. Bosna je postala zatočišče vseh preganjanih evropskih bogomilov, katarov in patarenov.

Po smrti bana Kulina leta 1205 je madžarski kralj Andrej, na željo Papeža Inocenca II, postavil zavednega katoličana Sibislava za bana Usore in kot navajajo številni viri, se je tudi ta spreobrnil v bogomilsko vero.

Bogomilska vera se je potem še hitreje širila po Bosni, pa tudi po Sloveniji, Krajnski, Hrvaški, Istri in Dalmaciji. Nekateri viri navajajo, da okoli leta 1221, razen bogomilskih v Bosni drugih duhovnikov ni bilo.

Pritisk papežev na Madžare, da naj zatrejo bogomilstvo v Bosni se je stopnjeval in tako je leta 1238 hrvaški ban Koloman z veliko vojsko napadel Bosno in Hercegovino. Več tisoč bogomilov je bilo pobitih in papež Gregor IX je leta 1240 čestital Kolomanu, da je »ponovno vzpostavil luč katoliške čistosti«.

Leta 1252 je papež Innocent IV podredil bosanske škofe madžarski škofiji v Kalocsu, zaradi česar se je bosanska cerkev odcepila od Rima. Leta 1291 je papež poslal frančiškane, ki so vodili v Bosni inkvizicijo.

Štefan II Kotromanić, ki je leta 1322 postal bosanski ban, je zavzel kneževino Hum, ki je poprej pripadala Srbiji, in omogočil Bosni dostop do morja. Dosegel je sporazum z Rimom in papeža prepričal, da je zvest katoličan ter dopustil, da so katoliški misijonarji širili svoj vpliv.

Naslednjih šestdeset let je bilo relativno mirnih. Potem je Bosna spet prišla pod Madžare in pod rimsko Cerkev.

Papež Benedikt XII je leta 1337 odkril, da je v Bosni še vedno polno »heretikov«, zato je pozval madžarskega kralja in bane sosednjih dežel, naj posredujejo in jih v Bosni zatrejo.

Leta 1340 je srbski car Dušan prevzel nadoblast v Bolgariji, Bosni, v delu Ogrske in Bizanca.

Sam ni bil naklonjen rimski Cerkvi, ker pa se je smatral za cesarja velike Srbije, je začel bogomile intenzivno kaznovati z vtisom žiga na čelo in pregonom iz države.

Z Dušanovo smrtjo leta 1355 se je končala srbska nadvlada in tako je Štefan I Kotromanović (vladal 1314-1353) poskušal dobiti na svojo stran vazale iz večjega dela Hercegovine, Raške in Zete (danes Črna gora).

Njegov sin Štefan II Katromanić je bil bosanski ban od 1322 do 1353, skupaj z bratom Vladislavom Kotromanićem (razen prvih štirih let). Po nekaterih virih je bil Štefan II pataren.

Leta 1353 je postal bosanski ban Vladislavov sin Tvrtko Kotromanić. Tvrtkova mati je bila Jelena Nemanjić Šubić, njegova sestra Katarian Kotromanić pa je postala celjska grofica, žena Hermana I. Celjskega.

Tvrtko je bil sprva lojalen vazal hrvaško-madžarskega kralja Ludvika I. (svojega strica), ki ga je leta 1376 imenoval za bosanskega kralja.

V času svojega vladanja je močno razširil svoje ozemlje.

V svojem ambicioznem načrtu je imel združitev vseh slovanskih držav na Balkanu (s katerimi je bil že tako družinsko povezan) in da bi vladal kot cesar. Sam je bil versko toleranten in je kolebal med grško in rimsko Cerkvijo. Tudi bogomilov ni preganjal.

V času vladanja njegovih naslednikov je bosansko kraljestvo močno nazadovalo zaradi vse večje moči podrejenih vazalov, ki so začeli samovoljno vladati.

Zadnji kralj, Štefan Tomaževič se je povezal s papežem, da bi dobil podporo zahodnoevropskih vladarjev v boju s Turki. Ker je leta 1462 prenehal plačevati Turkom dajatve, so le-ti napadli Bosno. Turki so ga leta 1463 v bližini Jajca obglavili. Hercegovina, kamor je poprej zbežalo po nekaterih virih okoli 40.000 bogomilov, je še nekaj časa obdržala samostojnost. Turki so odpeljali okoli sto tisoč ujetnikov, okoli 30.000 mladih Bošnjakov pa so pobrali za janičarje. Bogomili so morali sprejeti islamsko vero. V naslednjih letih je ogrski kralj Matija Korvin osvobodil del  Bosne, banovini Jajce in Srebrenico. Dvajset let po padcu Bosne so Turki zavzeli tudi Hercegovino.

Politične razmere so vplivale na pripadost bosanskih vladarjev rimski, ortodoksni srbski ali bogomilski veri, kar je še posebej oteževal fevdalni red, ki je z medsebojnimi porokami povzročal družinske in verske spore znotraj vladajočih družin.

Kaj je bilo z bogomilstvom? V Bosni je bilo povsem zatrto, čeprav so ljudje še dolgo po tem, ko so bili nasilno spreobrnjeni v islam, na skrivaj živeli po svoji stari veri.  

Od Bosanske cerkve je ohranjen samo Hvalov kodeks, napisan leta 1404 v cirilici na 353 straneh za kneza od Donjih krajeva Hrvoje Vukčića Hrvatinića. Hranijo ga v Univerzitetni knjižnici v Bologni.

Cerkveni zgodovinarji strogo ločujejo bogomilstvo od Metodove Cerkve in celo od glagoljašev, ki so leta 1248 od papeža Inocenca IV dobili dovoljenje za uporabo glagolice ter narodnega jezika v bogoslužju in cerkveni literaturi. Drugod po Evropi so morali v rimskokatoliških cerkvah uporabljati latinščino vse do 2. vatikanskega koncila, ki se je končal leta 1965.

Ob pozornem proučevanju zgodovine pa je mogoče opaziti veliko indicev, da je krščanstvo, ki sta ga med Sloveni širila Ciril in Metod, vsebovalo tudi veliko elementov bogomilske vere, ki jih je uradna cerkev smatrala za heretične, a jih je po 2. vatikanskem koncilu sprejela v  katoliško bogoslužje kot nacionalni jezik, preprostost cerkvenega okrasja, poudarek na branju svetega pisma in simbolično razlago svetopisemskih zgodb ter tudi versko toleranco in ekumenizem.

Mitologija bogomilov 

Zgodovinski viri poročajo o religiji bogomilov, manj pozornosti pa posvečajo njihovi mitologiji. Ker izhajajo iz slovanskega jezikovnega področja, lahko upravičeno predpostavljamo, da izhajajo tudi iz slovanske mitologije, ki je razlagala naravne in druge pojave, s katerimi so se ljudje soočali, v smislu dobrih in zlih sil, dobrega belega boga in zlega črnega boga, v smislu luči in teme. To je razvidno že iz slovenskega (in slovanskega) izrazoslovja, ki enači svet, svetlo s soncem in dnevno svetlobo, ki je nasprotje noči, teme, duhovne zamegljenosti. V tem smislu moramo razumeti tudi mentaliteto preprostega bogomila, ki v neusmiljeni fevdalni gospodi, ki ima neskončen pohlep po zemlji in materialnih stvareh, vidi vir zla, v preprostem revnem človeku, ki je miroljuben, ljubezniv, dobrotljiv, ter njegovo duhovno nasprotje. To nasprotje med bogatimi in revnimi je ilustrirano v neštetih svetopisemskih zgodbah in prispodobah, pa tudi v bogomilskih legendah.

Bogomili so bili poznani po svoji verski toleranci, iz česar bi lahko sklepali, da svojim vernikom niso branili poganskih navad in ritualov, če le-ti niso ogrožali njihove moralne drže.

Ime jezika, ki ga ljudje govorijo, se lahko s časom spremeni, prav tako ime naroda, toda mitologija, ljudske navade in običaji ostanejo kot prepoznaven znak iz davnine. Samo v krajih, kjer imajo izvor, ljudje lahko dojamejo njihov simbolični pomen.

Med bogomili je bil močno razširjen kult kače, ki je bil na Balkanu ostanek še iz predkrščanskih časov. V bibličnem pisanju je kača povezana z drevesom spoznanja dobrega in slabega ter predstavljena kot zapeljivka, ki je prva človeka v raju zapeljala v greh, ker jima je povedala, da znanje vodi v večjo duhovno podobnost z Bogom.

V Bosni so častili hišno kačo, blasno. Kačji pik niso vedno smatrali za zlo, ker so verjeli, da tisti, ki ga kača piči, dobi magično moč. Zagovore proti kačjemu piku so v Bosni opravljali tako imenovani kačarji.

Izraz »babuni« za bogomile sugerira, da so bili lahkoverni, vendar ni jasno, če so širili »lahkovernost« in »bogaboječnost« ali ostanke predkrščanskih tradicij, katere so podedovali od prednikov, ki so živeli po Balkanu. Prokopij je v 6. stoletju med navadami Slovanov omenil, da delajo zaobljubo božanstvu, ki jo morajo potem izpolniti, če jim je prošnja izpolnjena, kar pomeni, da so bili bogaboječi. Navada zaobljubljanja je ostala tudi v slovenski krščanski tradiciji.

Čeprav v gradivu o bogomilih ne omenjajo čarovnikov in čarovnic, je povsem možno, da so zanje veljale tudi te oznake, ker so uporabljali magično moč besed, ki so bile v razumljivem jeziku bolj učinkovite kot v latinščini.

Iliri in Liburni, ki so v predrimskem času živeli na Balkanu, so verovali v kult kače, pa tudi v kult prednikov. Verjeli so, da se človek po smrti spremeni v zvezdo. Idejo o potovanju duše med zvezde je Ewa Weiling Feldthusen opazila tudi na napisu na bosanskem stečku.

Bosanski viri omenjajo, da so bogomili verjeli v boga, ki so ga imenovali Bindu in ga je simbolično predstavljal krog s piko. Na Dolenjskem so takemu simbolu reli RIS, kar bi z malo domišljije lahko pretvorili v besedo, ki pomeni Bog – Resnica (RES).

V Bosni je bil Bindu povezan s čaščenjem vode in izvirov. Bogomilski sveti izviri so se navadno nahajali na vzhodni strani, ob njem pa so postavili svetišče. Tam so se ljudje zbirali ob sončnem vzhodu k molitvi. Svete potoke so obiskovali tudi v času polne lune, še posebej ženske in otroci so se hodili tja kopat. Tudi na Dolenjskem obstajajo legende o svetih izvirih.

Bogomili v Bosni so poznali tudi kult Zviždenjaka (močerada-salamandra), ki je bil povezan s kultom kač in zmaja. Ljudje so verjeli, da ob močeradovem žvižgu lahko človek ogluši. Ta kult spada v tipično simboliko bogomilov: dualnost barv, kot sonce (dan) in tema (noč) pa skrivnostno opozorilo (žvižg), ki ga ljudje dejansko ne slišijo.

V nasprotju s kačami, ki pridejo na plano v toplem sončnem vremenu, se močeradi pojavijo v času deževja in izginejo, ko se vreme umiri. Ta mit bi lahko bil prispodoba za »nasprotnike Cerkve«, ki so v razburkanih časih opozarjali na duhovno temo v najvišjih cerkvenih krogih in so na molčeč način najbolj glasno govorili s pomočjo napisanih besed.

Prebivalci Bosne so verjeli tudi v kult Velike matere, verjetno še iz prastarih časov, ko so smatrali za Veliko mater Zemljo.

Viri o bogomilih poudarjajo predvsem njihovo etično in moralno naravnanost, ne govorijo pa o njihovi ljudski pobožnosti, njihovih navadah in tradicijah.

Stečki – trajen spomin na bogomile

Najbolj viden spomin na bogomile predstavljajo kameniti nagrobniki, imenovani stečki.

Stečka iz Donje Zgošće (Kakanj) iz 15. stoletja in Radimlja

Stečki so nagrobni kamni bogomilov. Največ jih je v Bosni in Hercegovini, nekaj pa tudi v jugovzhodni Hrvaški, jugozahodni Srbiji in severozahodni Črni Gori. Nastajali so od 12. do 15. stoletja. Stečke je prvi omenil slovenski potopisec Benedikt Kuripečič leta 1531. Po vsej Bosni naj bi bilo okoli 70.000 takih nagrobnikov; največ jih je okoli Sarajeva. Ponekod stojijo v skupinah, drugje posamično. Zanimivo je, da na njih ni ne krščanskih, ne muslimanskih simbolov. Večina stečkov je brez napisa. Med vklesanimi figurami prevladujejo vojaki, lovci, živali in razni ornamentalnimi vzorci.

Zelo malo je stečkov, ki imajo vklesan napis. Ewa Weiling Feldthusen iz napisa na stečku iz leta 1094 v Radimlju sklepa, da so bogomili verovali v nesmrtnost duše. Zanimiv je njen prevod napisa na stečku, ki se glasi:

“Ti, ki bereš moj kamen, si mogoče odpotoval med zvezde in si se vrnil, da bi spet postal, kar si bil, ker tam ni ničesar. Človek lahko vidi, česar tam ni, in sliši, česar ni slišal, in okuša, česar ni pokusil, lahko je tam, kjer ni bil, ampak vedno lahko najde sam sebe ali pa ne najde ničesar.” (revija Kontur,  2006, st. 14)

Mislim, da gre v tem primeru za moder izrek mistika, ki je v svoji ekstazi doživel občutek večnosti. Besede so izraz človekove duše, vklesane v kamen pa postanejo večne. Podobno simbolično vrednost imajo tudi preprosti motivi, vklesani na stečkih.

Bogomili in kulturno delovanje

Kritiki bogomilov pogosto naštevajo njihove teološke in dogmatične zmote in zablode, pa gnosticizem in dualizem, kar je pravzaprav nesmiselno, ker so bogomili oznanjali vero preprostim ljudem, ki teh stvari itak ne bi razumeli. Bogomili so delovali med Slovani, ki so bili zaradi skupne jezikovne in mitološke osnove bolj dojemljivi za razumevanje gnostičnega pisanja. Ker so Slovani v nenehnih vojnah izgubili svojo pismenost, so bogomili po vzorcu, ki sta ga postavila Ciril in Metod ter njegovi učenci, začeli ljudi učiti poleg vere tudi osnovne pismenosti. Uporaba legend v vzgojne namene je bila še posebej primerna, ker so legende na preprost način učile in vzgajale, kar je ljudem ostalo kot ljudska modrost, bolj intelektualno razgledanim pa so posredovale resnice, ki so jo pisatelji znali zaviti »v tančico misterioznosti«, da bi zgodbe obvarovali pred cenzuro. Tudi njihovi največji kritiki priznavajo, da so imeli bogomili izredno poznavanje svetega  pisma Nove zaveze in da so se nanj sklicevali, kadar so jih zasliševali. Ker so uporabljali ljudem razumljiv jezik in iz svetega pisma brali zgodbe, ki so bile privlačne, so jim ostale v spominu in jim krepile vero ter etično in moralno držo, ker jim je bil nauk podan v obliki prispodob in ne v obliki zapovedi ali prepovedi. Verjetno pa kritiki tudi njihovih legend in pravljic niso razumeli in so jih smatrali za herezijo.

Moses Gaster v knjigi Grško slovanska literatura navaja, da je Jeremija (Bogomil) sam napisal kar nekaj legend, kot Legendo o križu, ki je bila že v 12. stoletju prevedena v številne evropske jezike. V tej legendi je nekoliko drugačna razlaga o stvarjenju sveta, ki je verjetno postala osnova za obtožbo, da so Bogomili dualisti. Legenda je dolga, toda že v začetku se da ugotoviti, da jo je navdihnila svetopisemska zgodba o Drevesu spoznanja dobrega in slabega. Druga znana bogomilska legenda ima naslov »Kako je Kristus postal papež«.

Bogomili so iz  grščine prevedli tudi vrsto apokrifnih knjig kot Vizije sv. Izaija, Knjiga Enoka (The Book of Enoch), Apokalipsa Baruka (The Apocalypse of Baruch), Zgodba o Adamu in Evi (The Story of Adam and Eve), Tomažev evangelij (The Gospel of Thomas), ki so jih včasih tudi kraju in času primerno prilagodili.

Bogomili so imeli velik vpliv na razvoj pismenosti med preprostimi ljudmi po vsej Evropi, pa tudi na evropsko vero in literaturo, ki je na ezoterični način transformirala in oživljala bogomilske ideje, ki jih najdemo med drugim v Dantejevi Božanski komediji, v Miltonovem delu Izgubljeni raj, pa tudi v Prešernovi pesnitvi Krst pri Savici.

Bogomili in Slovenci

Bogomili so bili bogaboječi, zato so krščansko vero v praksi živeli. Izvor nekaterih karakteristik Slovencev, ki jih je omenil Anton Trstenjak kot slovensko poštenje, dobrodelnost, spoštljivost, pobožnost, miroljubnost, prijaznost, gostoljubnost, bi lahko smatrali za bogomilsko dediščino. Alternativna razlaga za izvor imena »bogomili« je njihova pobožnost (bili so Bogu mili, ali so prosili boga, da se jih usmili – Bog miluj) in nenehno čaščenje boga. Tudi v tem bi lahko pustili svoje sledi v slovenskih ljudskih vzklikih in pozdravih, kot Bog se usmili! Bog daj! Bog žegnaj! Bog pomagaj! Bog daj srečo! Bog lonaj! Bog varuj! Bog ne daj!  Bog ve!

V slovenskih pravljicah imajo pomembno mesto kače, ki čuvajo zaklad, rajsko drevo, sonce in luna, vile rojenice, ki delijo darove Velike Matere.

Freska s Hrastovlja, Slovenija

Glagoljaši, ki so uporabljali starocerkveno slovenščino in glagolico, so delovali tudi med Slovenci, kakor je razvidno iz freske v Hrastovlju. 

Po vsej verjetnosti so bogomilske ideje vplivale na nastanek protestantizma na Slovenskem, posebno na Dolenjskem in v Prekmurju. Bogomilske ideje najdemo tudi v kritičnosti slovenskih pisateljev do hipokrizije v cerkvi in družbi ter v njihovem prizadevanju za Resnico in Pravico ter za razlaganje svetopisemskega pisanja.

V slovenskem zgodovinskem spominu so bili bogomili povečini zamolčana tema, tako da niti literarni zgodovinarji niso uvideli, da je to temo odlično obdelal France Prešeren v svoji pesnitvi Krst pri Savici, v kateri omenja Staroslava in njegovo hčerko Bogomilo, kar bi lahko razumeli, da je smatral bogomilsko vero za naslednico (hčerko) Metodove slovenske cerkve in da se je zavzemala za vero Ljubezni, Miru in Sprave, za kar so se zavzemali srednjeveški bogomili.

Prešernova Bogomila je predstavnica bogomilskega meništva, kjer so ženske vodile šolstvo, samostanske bolnišnice in zavetišča, lahko pa so tudi opravljale duhovniško službo. Nekatere so postale priznane umetnice.

Ta Prešernova pesnitev, ki jo je moral izdati v samozaložbi, dokazuje, da se je bogomilski duh ohranil tudi med Slovenci. Prepoznamo ga lahko tudi v Gregorčičevih pesmih in v nekaterih drugih slovenskih literarnih delih.

Prvi zapis o bogomilih v slovenskem tisku sem opazila v knjigi Franca Perka, Verstva Jugoslavije, kmalu po 2. vatikanskem koncilu. Med drugim je zapisal:

»Bogomili in bosanski krstjani so verska posebnost južnih Slovanov, čeprav so bila sorodna gibanja tudi drugod po Evropi. So izraz odpora proti »uradni« Cerkvi, ki se je v srednjem veku v svojih strukturah često oddaljila od evangeljskih idealov. Bosanski krstjani pa so še posebej povezani z bosansko državnostjo, kajti bili so odločilni dejavnik v srednjeveški bosanski državi. V dokumentih, ki so jih o njih napisali nasprotniki, pa so prikazani v kar najslabši luči.«

Bogomili in Voynichev rokopis

Med ilustracijami v VR ni vidnih krščanskih simbolov iz česar lahko sklepamo, da je bil avtor bolj naklonjen bogomilskim idejam. Ilustracijo krščevanja odraslih v VR bi prav tako lahko pripisali bogomilom. Zaradi povezanosti slovenskih kartuzijanskih samostanov s Celjskimi grofi bi Nicholas Kempf, ki ga smatram za avtorja VR, lahko dobil podatke o bogomilski duhovnosti in o razmerah na Balkanu.

(Povzeto iz mojega originalnega članka, objavljenega v zborniku Slovensko staroselstvo, 2020)

English Articles


The two VM tall letters, so-called gallows, are the only four letters that do not have a similar shaped letter in other 15th century manuscripts. The EVA-k and -t have been identified as such by other transcription alphabets, and this is also how I read them, since there is no likeness for German K or T. The transformation could be rationalized with the assumption that the VM K and T could be written with one stroke, which was important for the cursive writing.

The other two tall VM glyphs were identified as EVA-p and EVA-f.

Letter F was very seldom used in Slovenian medieval writing. I noticed that in Swabian writing, like in other German, the V was often used for F. In Some Slovenian words and dialects, particularly Prekmurje dialect, V was often pronounced as F. This accounts for the missing F in my transliteration Voynich alphabet.

EVA-P needed to be replaced for Slovenian reading. Since there is no Q in Slovenian alphabet, and the P is one of the most frequent initial letters in Slovenian words, especially in the prefix PO, I use EVA-q for P, and EVA-p for the Slovenian sound SV.

I believe it was the author’s intention to differentiate the sounds SV and CV/ZV/ZW, but since they sound so similar, he had a lot of difficulty and used them most time interchangeably. The foreigners still have difficulty spelling Slovenian words containing CV as SV. My name CVETKA is most often being spelled as SUEDKA, but also as Quetka, Sueta, Svita etc. Even my own grandchildren cannot pronouce it properly.

Those sounds and letter combinations were also confusing to Slovenians.

It is not enough to determine which Latin letters and letter combinations were used for Slovenian language, because the priests from different linguistic background who first put Slovenian language in writing used their own writing conventions. This is how Slovenian language was written in three main writing conventions – German, Latin and Hungarian. This does not mean that one region used one writing convention, the other region the other, because the borders were often changing and so did the spelling influence.

In the comparative 15th century manuscripts I used for my analysis, various spellings for SW sound could be found.

In all these combinations (sv, zv, cv, su, zu, zv, sw, zw, cv) u, v and w were used for the sound ‘u’, pronounced slightly different in different dialects.

SV inserted into CH stands for Slovenian sound SVČ.

I had already proven that EVA-p does not stand for the letter or for the sound p, but rather for the sound ‘sv’ (Slovenian) or SU in Latin or SW in German. In Slovenian language, there are also ZV and CV sounds, which in Slovenian are distinct, like ZV in the word ZVON sounds different than ZW sounds in the German word ZWANZIG.

The spelling of the medieval Slavic prince SVATOPLUK is an example of various letter combinations being used for the Slavic sound SV: Svatopluk, ZuentepulcZuentibaldSventopulchZvataplug, Svętopъłkъ, Świętopełk.

The table below offers some ideas how complicated Slovenian medieval language was.

It is my belief  that the two tall VM glyphs were intended to standardize the spelling of these unique Slovenian sounds across the entire Slovenian speaking territory.

Because the two gallows are used interchangeably, it is hard to get a distinct spelling. Also, there was some confussion about the sound of the letter ‘z’, which in Slovenian was used for c and for z (it also has similar shape in a cursive writing). In the VM, ‘z’ is frequently used in the word (r)oza (flower) and other words. The German cursive ‘z’ with a tail is not used in the VM.

From the Slovenian Etymology Dictionary, I have collected about 250 differently spelled words that start with SV, OSV, and POSV. Most of the variations are caused by different grammatical forms (which a foreigner might take for different words), however, for most of those words, there are about five different spelling variations of the root words.  I would therefore not be surprised if the spelling in the VM is also somewhat different, however, from the context, the words could be better understood.

In the table above, I only focused on the root-word, the list of various grammatical endings would be too long. In the VM, there is approximatelly 1600 words that start with SV, SVČ, POSV, POSVČ, OSV, OSVČ (that also include CV and ZV words). This includes words in different grammatical forms, as well as multiple uses of the exactly the same words.

This might be hard to understand to those VM researchers who tend to think about medieval writing with a present grammatical mind-set.

This indicated that it is hardly possible that the words in the VM would be spelled exactly the same as in the Protestant writing 100 years later, when the writing was somewhat standardized in two writing conventions, German and Hungarian. The Hungarian spelling convention was used in Vramec’s Kronika, and German by almost all other 16th century writers.

What happened with the four unique VM glyps?

 My identification of those four glyphs is based on the assumption that the Slovenian alphabet was created with great care by somebody who was well aquainted with Slovenian language, as well as with Latin and German. To my surprise, very few German or Latin words are used in the VM, except those who are shared and sound the same in Latin and Slovenian. To avoid foreign words, the author had to create many new Slovenian words, using the pattern he detected in the language. For example, there is a word SYAIIR in the first page, which I identified as a noun of the verb SYATI (to sow). The ending -ir indicates nouns of a male gender profession. I came from a peasant family and I never heard the Slovenian equivalent of SOWER, mainly because the Slovenian farmers did not use the noun, but only the verb. In literary Slovenian, the noun ‘sjajir’ changed to ‘sejalec’, so that the contemporary word is spelled as SEJALEC.

In a similar way, many SV- words had changed, like SVEČAR to SVEČENIK or to SVETNIK (a saint).

There is no written record that the four tall VM glyphs were actually used anywhere else, since there are no written documents in Slovenian, except for a few one- or two-page documents, containing Catholic prayer.  I have identified them from the rest of the text, and because I could not find any other VM letters that could stand for the sounds K, T, SV, CV, ZV.

Slovenian was the first written Slavic language, and the Freising Manuscript is the first Slovenian (and Slavic) document written in Latin Letters. It was discovered in 1803 in Freising.

For all practical purposes, all Slovenian documents written in Latin letters were hidden in various monastery archives, or maybe in a copies that have not been preserved.

Primož Trubar is credited to write and publish first Slovenian book in 1550, that is, about hundred years after the VM was created.

Are there any clues that the Slovenian language existed in a written form hundred years earlier?

While the large part of Slovenia was under the Church authority of the Patriarchate of Aquileia, the use of glagolitza, known as Old Chruch Slavonic script, was used in liturgy. Glagolitza was also used by the Bogomils, a ‘heretical’ Slavic religious movement, which eventually gave raise to the Bosnian state religion, separated from Rome, until the mid-15th century.

The proof that the Glagolitza was also used by Slovenians are many inscriptions, including the one on the frescoe of Hrastovlje from the 1490, as well as the book by Georgius de Sclavonia, native of Brežice, while he was studying at the University of Vienna in 1400.

If the VM was the first longer Slovenian text in Latin letters, what was it used for? Assuming the author was Nicholas Kempf, he might have used it to practice writing in Slovenian, from the basic words needed for his religious work, in different Slovenian grammatical forms, to written spiritual notes and poetry. His humanistic, philosophical and political ideas are expressed mostly with illustration.

 If the VM were the work of five authors, the monastic environment would be most likely place where such collaborative work could take place.

We can only imagine why the four tall VM glyphs did not make it into the Slovenian alphabet. While they were very practical for the cursive writing (requiring only one stroke), they were not practical for printing, because of their uniqueness. A German style of writing was adopted by the Slovenian writers of the 16th century.

The proof that the VM special letters went out of style is on the last page of the VM, believed to be added sometime later by a different scribe.  This is suggestive that for a certain period, the VM glyphs were used, becaise the word OROR is written exactly the way as in the VM, while other letters are typical of Tyrolian/Slovenian use of Latin letters. Even if the text on the last page were to be written by the same author, he would have switched to the common letters in use, or he would have reverted to the writing he first learned, remembering only the way he used to spel the word OROR (prayer). 

If there was more documents written in Slovenian, they would have been destroyed by the Counter-Reformation, if not by Turkish invasions.

Some Examples of the SV/CV in VM words

The above table is showing various prefixes (and what looks like a prefixes) of the VM root word SV/ZV.

The grammatical endings are more versitile, because the Slovenian language is highly inflective. Due to the dropped vowels, the length of the vowels, and accent, the spelling of different words often overlaps, which accounts for a different translation of seemingly the same words. (They differ in pronunciation, if not in spelling.)

I believe the author’s intention was to distinguish the similar sounding words with a strike-through marking, or with EVA ch/sh differentiation, which is even for the Slovenian speaker very difficult to distinguish, mainly because of the sound-changes over time, and palatization.

The table above illustrates the use of prefixes O and PO. The prefix O is usually used to make the oppposite – such as SVEČAL – OSVEČAL (from the nous: OSVETA – blessing – revenge), or DATI – ODATI (give – give away). This is one Slovenian word that retained a double D, but in the VM it is spelled with only one D. It can also be used for a finished activity, such as SVETITI – OSVETITI (shine – make (something) shinny and visible),  or the word pair DATI – O(B)DATI (give – give (put) around).

Because of the variety of Slovenian grammatical ending, a word can be a verb in one case (SVEČO- I was blessing), or noun in other (SVEČO – candle, accus. case).

The table above shows some examples of the SV-words. Because some sounds have morphed over time, it requires a lot of effort to get a proper meaning, like SVEČOST (in VM) evolved into SVETOST (holiness). Often, the SV words related to holiness are marked with embelished initial SV.

The words containing VM glyph would require further study and reading in the context, separating different sounds, such as SV, CV, ZV, and different spelling (ch, sh, strike-through). The intention of this article was to show that the two unique VM glyphs are used throughout the for either one of the three sounds, most of the time interchangeably (due to the similarity of the sounds), and that they conform to similar grammatical rules as the other tall glyphs – K, T. The other two tall glyphs are related to the words holy, world, light, blosson, star, bell, chosen, advice, criticism, warning etc., which accounts for their equal distribution throughout the manuscript. Some of the glyphs related to ‘holy’, are embellished by the loop being stretched over the entire word, or a string of words.

If the handwriting was more clear, it would be easier to transcribe properly, particularly ‘oz’ and ‘ch’. Because of the similarity of the sounds, it is also very hard to properly translate into Slovenian, even for a Slovenian speaking person, because the author used the words in different grammatical forms that have never been used before and was confronted by another problem, namely the way the sound often change with the grammatical form. For example: He used POSVEČI, but the ‘č’ eventually changed to T (posveti).

English Articles

Sample VM Words for Replication Part 2

Although most VM researchers and enthusiasts would like to see the translated sentences and perhaps the entire text, I have decided to take a slow road to enable anyone wishing to replicate my theory, to do so. Therefore, I will start with a simple vocabulary of the VM words that are still in use in Slovenian language, and what is most important, they are spelled exactly the same (letter-to-letter transliteration) as they are in the VM. The letter ‘y’ is usually translitterated as ‘j’ after or before the vowel, since the dipthongs are no longer used in Slovenian language, except in some foreign words.

For the replication to work, the minim ‘i’ could never be in the beggining or in the end of the word if transliterating from Slovenian to Voyniches, but when transliterating from Voyniches to Slovenian, the ‘y’ could be written as ‘i’ or as ‘j’. In my table below, I included an intermediery step by transliterating the Voyniches first into Latin and then to Slovenian (in the next column). The reason I left both is that in the 16th century, when the first Slovenian books were written, the ‘y’ was still frequently used.

I also included the words in different grammatical forms. Because the Slovenian language is highly inflective, it is hard to get words that are spelled the exactly the same way, with the same grammatical ending. I collected them from the 16th century text. Because of the unique topics, and different phonetic pronunciation, and hard-to-read handwriting, the correct translation would be a challenging work.

In a separate colum, the number of words in the entire text are listed. They are only an approxiamtion to give the readers an idea of frequency, because I have not totally separate the words yet. I suppose the frequency of certain words, and word-families gives us pretty good idea about the subject the matter and the grammatical style of writing.

Replicating these words is a helpful exercise and a good start to proceed to the more complicated words I will introduce in my future posts.




English Articles

VM for Replication Part 1

About Voynich Manuscript Letters

We have been conditioned to believe the VM is written in a code that most of the researchers ignored the possibility that the same letters were used in the European manuscripts, and that different nations adopted Latin letters for their sounds differently. Also, the idea of VM being a mysterious code has prompted all kinds of speculations, so that the more exotic theories gained more attention, simply because people wanted to see the mystery where there is none, and at the same time, most interpreters ignored the mystery in the VM, hidden in the images, by desperately trying to identify the flowers, the ‘castle’, or ‘the public baths’.

Assuming the researchers before me followed the logical way of thinking and developed their transliteration alphabet by comparing the letters to the medieval European scripts, I tried to transliterate some short words with EVA alphabet. To my surprise, I was able to recognize many Slovenian words, but there were some EVA-letters that did not suit Slovenian language, such as EVA ‘q’ which does not exist in Slovenian. After examining the documents written in the region of Slovenia in the 15th century, I developed an improved transliteration alphabet I call Slovenian Voynich Alphabet.

The first step in decoding the VM is to figure out where the author got the ideas for the shapes of the letters, and for what sounds he used them. This could be done by the process of comparison. For example, most German manuscripts use different shape of ‘z’ for Latin ‘c’, and for the sound ‘c’. They also combine ‘cz’ for the sound ‘c’. Although my first step was the recognition of Slovenian words when VM text was transcribed with EVA alphabet, I imagine this could not be the first step for those who want to replicate my theory and have no knowledge of Slovenian language, nor its dialects. Most German manuscripts use combination of letters ‘sw’, ‘su’, or ‘zw’, while these combinations are totally absent in the VM. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the author of the VM invented two tall letters to replace those German combinations for the sounds ‘SV’, ‘CV’, ‘ZV’ (SW, CW, ZW). Because those letter combinations in the VM show some properties as the other two letters, the author of the VM invented (‘t’ and ‘k’) further supports transliteration of those glyphs. Also, those letter combinations are frequently used in Slovenian language and have a high symbolic value, since they can be found in words, such as ‘holy’, ‘divine’, ‘world’, ‘advice’, ‘criticism’, ‘flower’, ‘bell’, ‘star’, ‘light’, ‘enlightenment’ … These words which are most often found at the beginning of the VM paragraph, at times also embellished, must have been important to the author of the VM, as they would have been for any medieval spiritual writer.  

Most VM researchers believe the VM letters are like Latin letters, yet nobody can read the text. A lot of distrust was created when it was suggested that the VM is written in a code, or in abbreviations, or shorthand. Also, the authors of EVA-alphabet never claimed that some of their transliteration letters are in fact Latin letters, leaving the would-be researchers to imagine any kind of script could be interpreted as VM letters, while EVA script was just there as a common denominator used for research and analysis. As it turns out, the computer analysis was of little help, because so far it was not able to detect the particulars of any language.

Like many VM researchers before me, I notice the similarity of some VM glyphs with the Latin letters, however the EVA-daiin word, probably the most frequently used word in the VM, seems to turn the attention from other possible readings. I instinctively read it as DAM. By then, Dr. Bax had also pointed out that the various combination of minims can be read as 14 different letters, producing different sounds. For me, it seemed natural to read the word DAIIN as DAM, and AIIN as AM. Changing EVA-m into IL (ILJ) produced another Slavic ending.

Based on the words I was able to recognize with the EVA alphabet alone, I used my knowledge of Slovenian language, and my intuition to develop my own translation alphabet which I validated by comparing the letters to the Stična Codex, written in Slovenian between 1428 and 1440, transcribed and translated by professional linguists. I also compared the shapes of the letters with various other 15th century documents written in Latin, or German in the region of the present-day Slovenia.

Since every writer has his own way of shaping the letters, I was only looking for a general shape, like ‘d’ looking like 8, ‘l’ with a loop, ‘i’ without a dot … I believe that many VM reserchers are too focused on finding the script that matches exactly the VM glyphs, that they miss what is most obvious. Not only the shapes of the letters, but the writing style (no capitalisation, no punctuation) conformed to the style of the comparative documents.

The modified alphabet I developed worked very well for Slovenian language, however, the VM is still hard to read because of unclear handwriting and complicated medieval Slovenian language.

The last row in above table was transliterated mostly on my common sense and the way the ligatures sounded when pronounced.

It did not bother me that the letters ‘f’ and ‘g’ seem to be missing in the VM. Dr. Timothy King, in his Venetic theory has also pointed out the missing G, which for him was an important clue that the VM might have been written in the Veneto region, since only that part of Italy did not use the letter G, just like some regions in present-day Slovenia and Croatia. The absence of the letter F could be explained with two VM letters that sound like F – SV and V. While in Latin, the letter V stood for the sound U, in German writing, it often stands for the sound F.

Although my transliteration alphabet worked very well for the Slovenian language; convincing the experts is another story. I had offered the VM experts my explanation of grammatical peculiarities that could only be comparable to Slovenian language, such as various grammatical endings for different conjugations and declinations, tenses, numbers, and genders, but I was totally ignored. I realized that even if I presented total transcription and translation of the VM, I would not be able to convince any experts, because they already have a preconceived idea that the mystery of the Voynich Manuscript cannot be solved by ‘a grandma’, since many academics have tried and failed.

I suppose, my age gives me advantage many young scholars do not have: I learned how to write with a still ‘fedder’ (a little improvement from a goose fedder) that had to be dipped into ink, and I know how this can produce unintentional thick or thin lines. I also know how writing by a dim candlelight in a freezing cold room can effect handwriting. And, yes, living in a village where compulsory school was not introduced until the mid-19th century, I spoke a peasant Slovenian dialect which in the past half-century had been forcefully eliminated in an effort to make people use common literary language.

On another hand, my immigration to Canada opened new possibilities for me. I studied psychology at the university level and later researched on my own the interconnectedness between art, religion, and psychology, which have common mystical religious denominator. In my creative writing, I focused mainly on life-stories of Slovenian immigrants in Canada, and in the process, I learned a lot about various Slovenian dialects they spoke, as well as about their unique lives and interests. So, in a way, I am in a better position to analyze the VM from different perspectives, than a group of experts all focusing on their own area of expertise, not knowing how the parts are blended, not just interconnected.

Another preconceived idea repeated countless times by the VM researchers pertains to the content of the VM, based on the general thematical sections of the manuscript. Those who play to these preconceived ideas (writing on astrology, women’s health, description of healing plants and usefulness of the roots and leaves, five different scribes, etc.) are receiving much more attention, even if their theories are unreasonable and less likely correct. Although various VM researchers concluded that the VM was created somewhere in southern Germany, northern Tyrol, or Northern Italy, my theory is mostly ignored, even if it fits that geographical region, and the style of the manuscripts written in Alsace.

One of the conditions for the correct solution of the VM is the question of replicability. Those who leave themselves a lot of freedom to interpret the VM words in many different ways, can come with some kind of solution, but nobody else could come up with the same reading, or with the same translation.


How could my theory be replicated?

To prove that my theory can be replicated, I replicated it myself, using different manuscripts to devise the transcription alphabet.

In 2021, when more manuscripts were digitalized and placed online, I have chosen several 15th century manuscripts in different languages to compare the shapes of the Latin letter to the shapes of the VM, as well as for their use for different sound. The result enabled me to verify the transcription alphabet I had developed, to compare the style of writing, as well as the topics of the medieval manuscripts.

The manuscripts used:

  1. Tractatus de Husitis, written in Latin between 1428 and 1450 in Stična, Slovenia, by a Czech monk;
  2. Golden Legend, Czech translation of the original Latin work;
  3. The Alphabetarium divini amoris, written by Johannes Nyder in Carthusian monastery Pleterje in 1425;
  4. Regiment of Helath, in German, written in 1429 by Heinrich von Laufenberg.
  5. COD PAL German 291

Tractatus de Husitis

My original VM alphabet is based on EVA with some changes and better identification of minims, which I was able to do by comparing the VM writing with the Stična Codex, written in Stična. The Tractatus de Husitis was written about the same time, in the same monastery, and most likely by the same author who wrote Stična Codex in Slovenian. In Stična Codex, the end-minims have a downward tail, while in Tractatus, the flourishes are turned upwards over one, two, or three minims. Minims are pointy, and the hairline diagonal connecting line is hardly visible.

The Golden Legend is the 15th century Czech version of the Golden Legend written in Latin by Jacobus de Voragine in the mid-13th century. It contains a collection of the legends of the lives of the saints.

From the Golden Legend I obtained clear understanding how the letter ‘h’ was used instead of ‘g’ (based on pronunciation), while the letter ‘g’ was used for the sound ‘j’. I was also able to make distinctions between the Czech and the Slovenian language. Because the Slavic languages used common Old Church Slavonic language in liturgy, there was a lot of similarity in grammar and in vocabulary, yet there are also many differences, so that I was able to discard Czech as the language of the VM.

Since this manuscript contains the legends of the lives of some saints, it can be concluded that it was written by the Roman Catholic interpretation of mystical visions of Mary and angles, which seem to be absent in the VM.

The Alphabetarium divini amoris was written in 1425 by Johannes Nyder in Carthusian monastery Pleterje. Although it is written in Latin, I was able to find several letters that are not included in Latin alphabet, such as w, k, u, r (like the VM), 8-like ‘d’, and in a few cases also the 9-shaped ‘y’. Various Latin abbreviations are also used, including 9-shape for Latin abbreviations ‘con-‘ and ‘-us’. Even without knowing Latin, I was able to recognize many words.

This manuscript was particularly helpful to me for various reasons. It was written by a Swabian theologian John Nider (Nyder). Nider was one of the most famous German preachers. He studied philosophy in Vienna. He was very active at the Council of Constance, spent some time at Carthusian monastery at Pleterje and in 1425 returned to the University of Vienna where he taught Theology. This would coincide with the time Nicholas Kempf was a student or a teacher at the Vienna University. Nider is known as early reformer.  As an active member of the Coucil of Basel, he made great contribution to reconciliation with the Bohemians. He remained loyal to the Council of Basel even after Pope Eugene IV disolved the Council.

This manuscript revealed the similarity of the cursive writing, as well as the philosophy Kempf would adhere to, for Nider was his professor, and later his fellow faculty member at the Vienna University. Kempf  could also have seen this manuscript at the Charterhouse of Pleterje. Assuming that Kempf was the author of the VM, he would have been influenced by Nider’s preaching about the divine love that leads to mystical religious experience, and his political views supporting the Church reforms. This views seem to be reflected in the illustrations of the Voynich Manuscript.

Regimen Sanitatis (Regiment of Health), written by Heinrich von Laufenberg in 1429, was chosen for my comparison because of the script, as well as its content, and its possible connection to Nicholas Kempf. The manuscript is written in a popular genre of German Housebuchs. It is a rework of the 12th century work Flos medicinae, or the Flower of Medicine, believed to be written by John of Milan, and edited by Arnold of Vollanova, physician, alchemist, astrologer, and religious reformer. Arnold is also regarded as the author of the Rosarius Philosophorum, which reappeared as a Rosicrucian manifesto in the 17th century.

This manuscript was very helpful to me for understanding the Voynich Manuscript from different perspectives. The ‘b’ is occasionally used for ‘p’, ‘v’ for ‘f’, ‘sch’ for š (sh), ‘z’ or ‘cz’ for ‘c’, ‘g’ for ‘j’ (in the word January), ‘h’ or ‘ch’ for ‘h’, two shapes of ‘r’ are used (one like the Latin ‘r’, and one like VM-r, except smaller, ‘cv’ or ‘zw’ is used for the sounds ‘cv’ or ‘zv’). Also, two shapes of ‘d’ are used, one with two loops, and one with only the bottom loop.The letter ‘e’ already has a horizontal line.

It has been pointed out by some VM researchers that the VM might be thematically related to the German Housebuchs. Like the Housebuchs, VM contans the Astrological section with zodiac images, the bathing scenes, and the claudbands, the use of concentrical circles, the Sun and Moon have a prominent place, so do stars, the zodiac symbols show unique interpretation.  Unlike the Housebuch, VM does not have a calendar, nor astrological calculations and images of the planets. The VM also contains large plant section, which cannot be found in any housebuch I examined.

The COD. Pal German 291 is another so called Iatromathematische Housebuch. It is very similar to the Regiment of Health, particularly the illustrations. Nick Pelling, the well known VM researcher, suggested that the family of the Housebuchs could lead to solving the VM mystery.

The manuscript is beautifully illustrated with a lot of dark blue colours, golden stars.

The manuscript is written in German, but the word ‘Oratio’ is used consistently for prayer. The ‘heiligen namen’ is mentioned. The contemplation about the biblical writing (epistels) is urged. The temple seems to be the natural environment.

There are some minor differences in the shapes of the letters, which are very important for the understanding of the VM. The letters are writtten tightly together, so that ‘cke’, ‘cti’ look somewhat like the VM strike-through glyphs. The small VM-like ‘r’ is used interchengeably with a regular Latin ‘r’.

Most male names of the saints end with -i, not with latin -us (Maximiliani, Sixti pape, Alexy. The letter ‘p’ is often used for ‘b’ sound ( geporn- born, Stampock – capricorn, Scorpion – Scorpion).

This manuscript shows great likeness to the Regiment of Health: a lot of stars, cloudband, similarity of zodiac signs and signs for constellations, as well as the images of personality types. Like other Housebuchs, this, too, contains the image of a ‘planetman’, suggesting that the author believed in influence of the personality of children born under different zodiac signs.

Like the Regiment of Health, Cod. Pal 291 contains two sets of Zodiac signs (one on earth, one in heaven- spiritual world).

The book also contains prayes and at the end, there seems to be a legend about a Fox.  I never learned enough German to try to translate this text; however I have a distinct feeling the legend is about the Wolf and a Fox (since this is not related to the script, but rather to the folk-legends circulating at the time, I will discuss it elsewhere).

The Planeten Buch – BSB Cgm 7269, Konstanz  is beautifully illustrated. Humans are wearing European fashion and European physical features. The Acquarius, looking like a man from Styer – wearing black hat and an apron, is pouring water from the wooden bucket.

The script is similar to the script of other German manuscripts. I have found similar scripts in different manuscripts not listed here. The VM-r, which is hard to find in the 15th cenuty scripts (due to its small size and similarity to theletter ‘z’, can also be found in a small folding calendar, now stored in the NUK (National University Library) in Ljubljana. The pictures in that callendar also show a lot of similarity to VM drawing of faces.


Assuming that Nicholas Kempf was the author of the VM, he could have had a chance to get acquainted with all the manuscripts mentioned above, and the ideas presented in those books. Judging by the VM illustration, the author of the VM did not believe in planetary effects on human personality, but rather on the influence of important historical persons, and particularly on what one reads and how he interprets what he reads.

My new search for transliteration alphabet, using five different manuscripts in different languages confirmed the correctness of the Slovenian Voyhnich Alphabet I had developed, based on the 15th century documents from the Slovenian region only. Expect for the four tall VM letters (Gauge glyphs) and perhaps the letter ‘p’, all other letters could be recognized as regular Latin letters used in different combinations for different sounds. There might not be all in one manuscript, but they can be found in the general area and in the books, my proposed author of the VM, Nicholas Kempf, could have an opportunity to see. Some leters were used for one sound in one language and for another in another language, however, all represent the languages and scripts that influenced Slovenian language and orthography. In the new alphabet comparison table, I have marked the letters that represent the same sound, in light blue, and the ones that could stand for two or three different sounds, or for different sounds in different languages, I marked with the dark blue. I will discuss those in greater detail later.

Several VM researchers, among them Dr. Rene Zandbergen from Germany, the great authority on the VM, had proposed the Southern Germany or Northern Italy as a location of the VM origin.

Aga Tenktakulus, a chemical engineer from Switzerland, focusing on identifying the VM plants, has agreed that Slovenia (medieval Carniola) would fit into his proposed location. On his post in January 2021, he wrote the following: “For those who think it might be an old Slavic in the VM, yes. All the clues would coincide in the green circle. It is called the Duchy of Carniola, from 1365 a territory of the Habsburgs.”

Dr. King from Kensas University proposes the Vulgar Latin language is Italian dialect of Veneto region. He pointed out that he identified this region because of the absence of double letters, and the absence of the letter G in the VM. I suppose he and his team identified the Slovenian dialect of the Veneto language, however, using the wrong transliteration alphabet, they could not come up with Slovenian words, and the Latin words are only approximate (not even one is letter-to-letter transliteration and translation).

Based on his own research of the VM script and illustrations, J. K. Petersen narrowed the region where he thinks the VM was created to a village of Timau (once known as Teschelwang), north-east of Veneto, where Tischlbong language was spoken. He pointed out that a language is related to Carinthian “a south-Bavarian dialect spoken by Slovenes who inhabit the mountains of the southern Tyrol and parts of the Slovenian Styria” and that “as a distinct dialect, Carinthian dates to about the end of the 13th century”.

Considering all this, I am surprised that the other VM researchers are so reluctant to focus their research on Slovenian language.

In my next post, I will list 80 Slovenian words found in the VM that can be transliterated letter-to-letter and easily translated by any Slovenian speaking person (less likely by Google translate, because it does not consider Slovenian grammar). The transliteration can be replicated by using my Slovenian Voynich Alphabet to transcribe the listed words into Voyniches, or from Voyniches to Slovenian.



Slovenian articles


Več raziskovalcev Voynichevega rokopisa meni, da so nekatere illustracije povezane z alkimičnim in rožnokrižnim gibanjem, a niso poskušali tega podrobneje razložiti. Slednje bi bilo možno sklepati že iz samega dejstva, da je bila knjiga kar nekaj časa v lasti cesarja Rudolfa, znanega okultista, na njegovem dvoru v Pragi, ki je bila v tistem času okultistični center.

Gibanje rožnih križnikov je bilo verjetno v srednjem veku, posebno v začetku, drugačno kot je danes. Znanje je bilo že od nekdaj vrednota, ki je dajala prednost enemu narodu pred drugim.

Zaradi tega je bila modrost strogo varovana in pogosto podana na način, da je koristila določeni skupini, ki je znanje in modrost prenašala v ustni ali pisni obliki.

Uporaba jezika in starih simbolov je v vsej zgodovini igrala pomembno vlogo, zato so bile knjige pogosto požgane, da bi vladajoči razred zatrl neželene ideje.

V 15. stoletju skoraj ni bilo več sledu o Katarih in bogomilih, ki sta jih preganjali tako bizantinska kot rimska Cerkev, pojavila pa so se druga verska gibanja iz vrst intelektualcev in mistikov, ki so zahtevala cerkvene reforme.

Kot je zapisala Barbara Obrist, je bila na Zahodu vizualna umetnost povezana z alkimijo do 15. stoletja bolj redkost, potem pa so jo začeli splošno uporabljati za prenašanje skrivnostnega znanja. 

Srednjeveška alkimija je združila znanost in umetnost v prizadevanju za dosego sprememb. Analogije, ki so jih jemali iz kozmosa, pa živalskega in rastlinskega sveta, celo iz klasične literature, so uporabljali za spodbudo intelektualcev za razumevanje politične in verske situacije v njihovem kraju in času, in za iskanje resnice in modrosti, ki bi vodila do želenih sprememb.

Ilustracije Voynichevega rokopisa ne dosegajo likovnega umetniškega merila, kajti njihov osnovni namen je nakazati filozofski duh časa in izzvati meditacije in kontemplacije, zato lahko upravičeno domnevamo, da je bil njihov avtor kartuzijanski menih.

Ramon Lull, katalonski frančiškanski mistik, ki je sto let poprej uporabil vizualne simbole v svojem delu Ars magna (Velika umetnost), kot na primer Drevo spoznanja in koncentrične kroge, s katerimi je ponazarjal širitev znanja od prvobitnega vira navzven proti množičnosti, je imel v 15. stoletju mnogo posnemalcev.

Verski reformatorji so razlagali Kristusa kot superiornega zdravnika in srednjeveške zdravnike kot Božje orodje. S svojim zglednim življenjem in posnemanjem Kristusa so si prizadevali za prerojenje ljudi na telesni in duhovni ravni. Danes bi to lahko razumeli kot kombinacijo zdravil (ki so dar Boga – narave) in psihološkega zdravljenja. Znanje so si pridobili na osnovi opazovanja narave in v Svetem pismu. Izgleda, kot da so razumeli, da zdravilne rastline in druge oblike medicinskih pripomočkov zdravijo simptome, toda pravilno religiozno in družbeno okolje lahko prepreči marsikatere simptome. Sveto pismo niso brali samo dobesedno, ampak so razumeli, da je treba nekatere dele brati simbolično.

Ilustriran rokopis Aurora Consurgentis, ki je nastal okoli leta 1420 v Zurichu, vsebuje slikovne metafore v kombinaciji s stekleno posodo nad ognjem.

Zgornji dve ilustraciji sta iz tega rokopisa. Slike si lahko razlaga vsak po svoje; že same barve imajo svojo govorico, ki vpliva naravnost na občutke. Slika na levi je grozna, spominja na kri in pobijanje, pa na denar. Po mnenju razlagalcev predstavlja Merkurja (boga vojne, na sliki upodobljen s kačjim spodnjim delom telesa), ki je obglavil Sonce in Luno; v stekleni posodi pa sta zlato in srebro. Slika na desni predstavlja arheološko izkopanino iz Golašnice.

Slika v sredini, ki deluje bolj umirjeno, predstavlja kačo, ki grize svoj lasten rep. Ta simbol v okultnih krogih imenujejo »ouroboros«. Prvič se je pojavil v grobnici egipčanskega kralja Tutenkhamuna v 14. stoletju p.n.št. Pogosto so ga uporabljali v Egiptu kot simbol za gnostiko, hermeneutiko in alkimijo, da bi z njim ponazorili dušo sveta oziroma kot bi rekli danes, kozmično zavest.

Za interpretacijo je potrebno razumeti čas in kraj ter verske razmere, v katerih je delo nastalo. Nedvomno gre za kritiko Cerkve in za re-interpretacijo verske simbolike. Sklepamo lahko, da je avtor namerno izbral posodo – vrč, ki ga je Jezus uporabil za enega svojih prvih čudežev, ko je spremenil vodo v vino. 

Je možno, da čaše predstavljajo cerkveno obredno posodo za spreminjanje vina v Kristusovo kri? Kača, ki je v judovsko-krščanskem mitu zapeljala prva človeka na pot v stanje višje zavesti, je speljala ljudi na pot pohlepa po slavi in materialnih dobrinah, kar je pogost vzrok vojn in pobijanja.

Slika na sredi predstavlja delavca in vrč, na katerem je naslikan simbol znanja in modrosti, nad njo pa večja ptica nosi manjšo ptico. Tudi ta simbol izhaja iz najstarejšega obdobja človeške zgodovine in bi ga lahko povezovali z migracijo in prenašanjem znanja. Migracija pa posledično pomeni krožno selitev, ker svet predstavlja zaokroženo celoto, kakor si lahko razlagamo simbol kače, ki grize svoj lasten rep. Iz Balkana so se častilci kače selili na Kreto in naprej v Perzijo, Egipt in Mezopotamijo, od tam pa kot »nov« narod nazaj na Balkan. Rešitev človeštva ni v vojnah in osvajanju, pač pa v ideologiji, ko naj bi vsi ljudje uživali znanje, ki prihaja od Boga in sadove svojega dela. To je izpostavljala tudi srednjeveška bogomilska teorija.

Sliki sta nastali v času verskega razkola, ko so si intelektualci prizadevali za cerkvene reforme, pa zanje rimska Cerkev ni imela posluha.

Ilustracije v tem rokopisu dokazujejo, da je bila metaforična uporaba slikovnega gradiva v praksi v času in prostoru, kjer je Voynichev rokopis nastal, in da predstavlja ideje, ki so normalnemu človeku težko razumljive, ker zaobsegajo antične in še starejše mite in simbole.

Kot je ugotovil že Zandbergen, je bil avtor Vojnichevega rokopisa intelektualno visoko razgledan, ne samo v filozofiji, ampak tudi v drugih vedah, in dobro seznanjen s filozofskimi in umetniškimi trendi svojega časa.

Nikolaj Kempf vsekakor ustreza profilu takega intelektualca, ker ni bil samo normalen menih. Kot dolgoletni prior v Jurkloštru je imel prav gotovo stike s Celjskimi grofi, ki so bili veliki dobrotniki kartuzijanskih samostanov, Barbara Celjska pa je že tedaj slovela kot alkimistka, ki je imela svoj laboratorij na Hrvaškem. Kempf je že pred vstopom v samostan imel pomembno mesto na dunajski univerzi, kot prior pa se je letno srečeval tudi s priorji drugih kartuzijanskih samostanov. V kartuziji Žiče so mu bile na razpolago knjige, ki mnogim drugim niso bile dostopne. Kot pristaš Bazelskega koncila pa je bil seznanjen tudi s cerkvenim razkolom in z vsemi drugimi verskimi in političnimi problemi. Če je imel sprva relativno svobodo izražati svoje ideje, ker je Slovenija spadala pod Oglejski (Akvilejski) patriarhat, se je situacija spremenila, ko so po izumrtju Celjskih grofov ponovno prišli na oblast Habsburžani, ki so se zaradi političnih koristi ponovno povezali z rimskimi papeži.

Kot pesnica in pisateljica z diplomo iz psihologije sem si z dolgoletnimi izkušnjami utrdila intuicijo, tako da včasih lahko opazim stvari, ki jih drugi spregledajo. Z intenzivnimi pogovori s kanadsko-slovenskim slikarjem Andrejem Štritofom sem si pridobila tudi dokaj dobro razumevanje abstraktne umetnosti.

Naj torej ponudim nekaj mojih razmišljanj o čudnih ilustracijah v Voynichevem rokopisu.

Ženske figure v čudnih namestitvah

Med najbolj čudne skice v Voynichevem rokopisu vsekakor sodijo namestitve golih ženskih figur v posode na različnih podstavkih.

Edino podobno sliko mi je uspelo najti v rokopisu Eggmana Le livre de Lancelot du Lac iz 13. stoletja. Nekateri srednjeveški umetniki so nekaj podobnega uporabljali tudi za ponazoritev krsta.

Eggman Le livre de Lancelot du Lac & other Arthurian Romances, Northern France ca. 1275-1300 Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, MS
Krst Clovisa, Grandes Chroniques De France
Sliki na desni predstavljata detajl pravoslavnih ikon, ki predstavljata Marijo kot vir življenja (Life giving spring)

Očitno je potrebno veliko metafizičnega znanja in modrosti, da bi lahko razložili zgornjo sliko.

Človek v roki drži jajce ali hostijo? Kot izgleda, moški s kuto predstavlja meniha, namestitev pa je podobna kokoši, ki vali jajca. Že sama namestitev sugerira, da gre za abstraktno filozofsko idejo, ki je mučila srednjeveške filozofe: je bilo najprej jajce in potem kokoš, ali je bila prej kokoš kot jajce? To vprašanje pa vodi v še bolj kočljivo vprašanje, ki ga do sedaj še nihče ni uspel zagotovo rešiti: je bil najprej Bog, ki je ustvaril svet in človeka, ali je koncept Boga izoblikoval človek? Podobno bi se lahko vprašali: je bila najprej vera, potem umetnost? 

Vera, kakor tudi umetnost, ustvarjata (valita) duhovne ljudi, ki se razlikujejo od živali. To delajo s povzdigovanjem (izpostavljanjem) posameznikov z izrednimi kvalitetami. Obe si prizadevata, da bi dajali ljudem pravo duhovno vodstvo, tolažbo ter kontinuiteto znanja in preroštva.

Številne podobne namestitve v VR sugerirajo, da je bil avtor obseden z idejo preroštva in duhovnega očiščevanja. V tem primeru so narisane gole figure ženske, kar lahko razumemo kot človeške duše, ali kot preroška inspiracija.

Tako kot vprašanje jajca in kokoši, tudi vprašanje kreativnosti še vedno ostaja skrivnost. Mistiki o njej govorijo v prispodobah iz fizične prokreacije.

Mistična vizija pogosto sproži kombinacijo idej in slik. V slovenski kulturi o mistiki govori veliko slovenskih ljudskih tradicij, ki jih povezuje s poletnim enakonočjem. Ker jih krščanstvo ni moglo zatreti, jih je prekrilo s praznikom sv. Janeza Krstnika.

Janez Krstnik je bil Jezusov predhodnik. Znan je po tem, da je krščeval ljudi v vodi in da je v reki Jordan krstil tudi Jezusa. Živel je kot puščavnik in pozival ljudi, naj se spokorijo. Ker je bil kritičen do nemoralnega življenja kralja, je bil obglavljen.

Nekaj let potem, ko sem zapisala moje razumevanje teh čudnih skic v VR, sem na spletu našla pravoslavno ikono Marije, ki sedi v podstavku, ki izgleda kot kelih. Razlaga teh ikon je povsem v skladu z mojo interpretacijo skic, če upoštevamo, da je Cerkev poganski preroški vir prekrila s krščansko simboliko.

V Kempfovem času (ki sovpada z nastankom VR) je bil v podobni situaciji Jan Huss, ki so ga zaradi javne kritike napak tedanje Cerkve sežgali na grmadi.

Iz VR je razvidno, da je avtor bral Plutarha in njegovo Moralio. Iz Kempfovih del vemo, da se je kot filozof, teolog, pesnik in mistik močno zavzemal za moralno in duhovno prenovo Cerkve, za feminizacijo cerkve in vero, ki bi bolj temeljila na izkustveni, to je mistični teologiji, kot na zastarelih cerkvenih dogmah in zakonih.

grška pravoslavna ikona (na levi) in ruska pravoslavna ikona (na desni)

Po odkritju teh ikon sem pomislila, da bi gole ženske figure lahko predstavljale aluzijo na ‘živi studenec’ oziroma ‘živi vodnjak’, ki je povezan z zgodovinsko cerkvijo zahodno od Konstantinopla. Tam je namreč že pred 6. stoletjem obstajal samostan poleg studenca z zdravilno vodo.

Po neki legendi naj bi studenec odkril Leon, preden je postal bizantinski cesar Leon I Tračan. Kot vojak je naletel na slepega moža, ki je bil grozno žejen. Ko je začel iskati studenec, je zaslišal ženski glas, ki mu je dal nasvet, kje ga bo našel. Ženski glas mu je tudi povedal, naj položi ilovico s tistega studenca slepemu možu na oči, da ga ozdravi. Nevidni glas mu je tudi ukazal, naj tam postavi svetišče. Ko je postal cesar, je tam zgradil cerkev in voda iz tistega izvira naj bi ozdravila mnoge romarje.

Drugo legendo o tem čudežnem izviru je zapisal Prokopij iz Cesareje v 6. stoletju. Po njegovem zapisu naj bi tamkajšnjo cerkev zgradil Cesar Justinijan v bližini studenca, kjer so lokalni prebivalci častili zdravilno vodo. Cerkev naj bi zgradil iz materiala, ki mu je ostal od gradnje svetišča Hagia Sophia.

Ikona Devica izvira (The Virgin of the Spring)  stoji v posodi, ki izgleda kot zlat kelih (na grški ikoni) oziroma kameni kelih (na ruski ikoni) in predstavlja izvir žive vode. V Marijinem naročju je dete Jezus, na vsaki strani pa sta angela. Pod tem ‘izvirom’  je večji bazen vode. Ortodoksna cerkev je v čast tej Mariji slavila poseben praznik na Veliki Petek. Ta praznik je povzela tudi ruska pravoslavna Cerkev. Ob tej priložnosti so prav tako blagoslavljali studence in potoke v bližini cerkva. Ikone Marije kot Svetega izvira so bile zelo priljubljene od 11. stoletja naprej. Simbolizirajo Mater Božjo kot univerzalno posrednico in Jezusa kot vir večnega življenja.

Delfični E

Pri iskanju alkimičnih simbolov, ki bi bili enaki skicam v VR, sem naletela na simbol, ki je podoben zaobrnjeni črki E. Alkimisti ga imenujejo delfični E.

To me je vodilo v raziskovanje grške zgodovine, delfičnih »orakljev« (svetišč). Beseda orakelj mi je nudila medlo associacijo s prerokovanjem, vendar nisem poprej nikoli opazila jezikovne asociacije. V dolenjskem dialektu izgovarjajo besedo »rekli« kot »rakl«. REKI so besede modrosti. REČI so stvari ali besede. REČI pomeni »izgovoriti besede«. Jezikovna povezava sicer ni tako presenetljiva, če upoštevamo zgodovinsko povezanost sedanjega slovenskega ozemlja z Grčijo.

Do srednjega veka je bila slovenska Cerkev pod grško cerkveno upravo Oglejskega patriarhata. Slovenski menihi so kopirali klasične grške knjige. Grščino so še do 2. sv. vojne poučevali na slovenskih univerzah.

Simbol »delfični E« je bil vklesan na vhodu v delfijski tempelj, poleg napisov »gnothi seauton« (poznaj sam sebe) in »meden agan« (nič preveč).

Zgodovinarji domnevajo, da delfično preročišče izhaja še iz časov antične Mikene (1400 pr. Kr.), viri pa ga potrjujejo vsaj od 8. stoletja pr. Kr., ko so duhovniki z otoka Delo prenesli češčenje Apolona v Delfe.

Apolon je bil posebej povezan z mestom Korintom v Korintskem zalivu. Jezikoslovcem do sedaj še ni uspelo najti indo-evropske etimologije grške besede Apollon, domnevajo pa, da izhaja iz hititske besede Appaliunaš. Obe besedi bi lahko razložili s pomočjo slovenskega jezika: POL pomeni POLOVICO, NA POL – na polovico. To bi vsekakor ustrezalo imenu sončnega boga, ki je polovico leta preživel na severu, drugo polovico pa na jugu. Prav tako bi ustrezalo mitu, da je imel Apolon sestro Artemis, ki je bila njegov dvojček – torej polovica.

Besedo “Appalianuš” bi lahko razložili s pomočjo besede OPALJEN (zagorel), kar bi ustrezalo Apolonovi asociaciji s soncem.

Apolon je bil po vsej verjetnosti božanstvo severnih prebivalcev, ki so se, podobno kot ptice, pozimi selili v toplejše kraje.

Preročišče v Delfiju je prvi omenil Homer okoli leta 580 v svoji Himni delfičnemu Apolonu. Prvi duhovniki so prišli iz mesta Knossos na Kreti (kot kažejo zgodovinski viri, so prvi prebivalci Krete prišli iz Liburnije na severnem Jadranu na Kreto. Na Kreto naj bi Zevs v podobi belega bika pripeljal ugrabljeno feničansko princeso Europo, kjer naj bi mu rodila tri sinove, med drugim tudi Kralja Minosa).

Diodorus Siculus razlaga izvor delfičnega preročišča v nadnaravni izkušnji, ki jo je doživel, ko je šel v jamo rešiti svojo kozo. Ta izkušnja mu je omogočala sposobnost videti preteklost in prihodnost.

Vest o tem dogodku je spremenila kraj v romarsko središče. Obiskovalci so doživljali mistične izkušnje, zaradi katerih so mnogi tudi umrli. To nekontrolirano norost so končali tako, da so vaščani določili eno samo žensko, ki je tam govorila v imenu bogov.

Kraj je bil najprej posvečen Gaji, pozneje pa Temi (Themis) in Fibi (Phoebe) in od 11. do 9. st. pr. Kr. Apolonu, bogu preroštva. Kot pravi mit, je Apolon izgnal dve kači boginje Gaje, ki sta varovali kraj, in jih ovil okoli palice, ki jo imenujejo kerikelj (caduceus).

Slika na strani 101 v Voynichevem rokopisu, ki predstavlja rožo s tremi vrhovi in z dolgimi listi, kačasto ovitimi okoli stebla, me spominja na kerikelj.

Martin Litchfield West pravi, da Pitija (Pythia), delfijska prerokinja, kaže številne centralno azijske verske prakse, čeprav zgodovinarji niso našli dokazov za povezavo teh dveh kultur v tistem času.

Menim, da njegova teorija podpira sodobno venetsko teorijo, še posebej glede na odkritja vinčarske kulture, kjer so uporabljali pisavo in obdelovali baker tisoč let poprej kot v Sumariji.

To bi razložilo, kako sta venetski jezik in kultura prišla z Balkana v Indijo (in ne obratno). Smer, ki so jo zgodovinarji začrtali, je iz Podonavja do Liburnije, iz Liburnije na Kreto, iz Krete pa v Perzijo. Po drugi strani bi lahko iz Podonavja pot vodila tudi ob Donavi in do Črnega morja. Seveda zgodovina govori tudi o prodoru Perzijcev v Evropo, toda številni narodi, ki so poselili Anatolijo in Babilonijo, kot Pelasgi, Dorijci, Brigijci so prišli z Balkana.

Pitija (Pythia) – prerokinja se je pojavila s kultom Dioniza v svetišču v Delfih. Po smrti ene prerokinje (duhovnice), so izbrali drugo, ki je morala biti dobro seznanjena z zemljepisom, politiko, zgodovino, filozofijo in umetnostjo.

Beseda prerok (prophet) pomeni ‘prevajalec’, ‘navdihnjen pridigar ali učitelj’ in izhaja iz starofrancoskega, ta pa iz grškega-doriškega »prophatas«. Prvi latinski prevajalci so besedo prevajali v ‘vates’.

Oba ta prevoda mi nudita associacijo s slovenskimi besedami. ‘Prophetas’ zveni kot ‘povedaš’, če predpostavljamo, da Grki niso imeli črke za glas V, in so ga nadomestili s ph (F). Beseda ‘vates’ pa zveni kot ‘vadeš’ (vedež).

Beseda PITIJA (PYTHIA) označuje poklic prerokinje v svetišču Delfi. Tudi to besedo bi lahko razložili s pomočjo slovenskega jezika. Že na prvi pogled se mi nudi asociacija s slovensko besedo “vpiti” (scream), in “opita” (drank). Druga možna asociacija pa bi bila s hrvaško in srbsko besedo “pitati” (vprašati).

Obred v delfijskem preročišču verjetno res izvira iz dejanske izkušnje v antičnem času, vendar so ga psihološko dopolnjevali in prilagajali potrebam ljudi, ki so tam iskali odgovore za svoje probleme.

Obred v delfijskem preročišču

Pitija se je morala najprej gola skopati v kastiljskem potoku (Castalian Spring) in piti sveto vodo, da se je tudi znotraj očistila. To ji je dalo magično moč. Po pisnih virih so najprej na oltarju žrtvovali kozo, potem so posadili Pitijo na trinožni stolček, tako da je lahko vdihavala hlape iz potoka Kerna, ki je tekel pod svetiščem. Tako je opisal ta ritual Plutarh, ki je bil višji duhovnik v Delfih. Poznejši raziskovalci tega mita so razlagali, da so iz potoka izhajali halucinogeni hlapi.

Alternativne teorije navajajo, da je Pitija dosegla ekstazo tako, da je žvečila liste oleandra ali vdihavala dim žganih listov. Spet druga teorija navaja, da bi lahko halucinacije dosegla s kačjim pikom.

Nekatere od teh teorij so razlagalci tega mita odločno zavrnili, ostaja pa dejstvo, da je Pitija prerokovala v nenormalnem duševnem stanju.

Preročišče v Delfiju je delovalo do leta 390 po Kr.

Razlaga mita

Plutarh, ki je deloval kot duhovnik v delfijskem svetišču v 1. st. pr. Kr., je napisal esej na temo delfijskega E v svojem delu Morelia (5. knjiga). Za njim so še mnogi drugi raziskovalci poskušali razumeti in interpretirati simbolični pomen črke E, vklesane v svetišču v Delfiju.

Tako je nastala vrsta različnih razlag.

E je bila peta črka grške abecede. Grško ime za boga je bilo EL. Druga dva pomena, ki jih omenja Plutarh, sta “če” in “ste”.

Plutarh je predlagal sedem različnih razlag za črko E.

Kot drugo razlago, ki je bila splošno sprejeta kot pravilna, Plutarh navaja, da je bila črka E drugi samoglasnik v grški abecedi, podobno kot je sonce drugi planet za mesecem. To razlago naj bi slišal od tujca iz Chaldeje.

V egipčanski abecedi je bilo sedem samoglasnikov in vsi skupaj na hitro izgovorjeni so predstavljali ‘neizgovorljivo’ ime boga  – JEHUOVAO.  To razlago bi lahko pripisali svečenicam, ki so prišle iz Egipta (Thebes) v Dadono in tam ustanovile prvo svetišče.

Zakaj naj bi v antični dobi posvetili črko E? Plutarh trdi, da to ni bilo naključno, ampak skrbno premišljeno namensko dejanje.

Plutarh pravi, da je Bog filozof in prerok obenem, in da je to razvidno že iz samih imen Pitije: Poizvedovalec (The Inquirerer), Čisti (Delian), Deloma razsvetljen (Phanaean), Veden (Ismenian), Bog razmišljanja (Leschenorian).

Atribut Boga kot Pitian (Poizvedovalec) me spominja na hrvaško besedo PITATI (vprašati), atribut ISMENIAN pa na slovensko besedo “zmenjen”.

Po drugi razlagi, ki jo je Plutarh dobil od duhovnika Nicendra, delfični E pomeni ČE, ki je osnovno vprašanje tistih, ki iščejo odgovore v preročišču (ČE zveni podobno kot E, posebno ker so v stari slovenščini imeli navado, da so pogosto izpuščali črke).

Zanimivo je, da v stari ilirščini, kot tudi v sodobni slovenščini, beseda AL (v dialektu AL lahko tudi EL) predstavlja veznik ALI, ki ima v nekaterih primerih isti pomen kot ČE. V stari ilirščini (po Vodopivčevem slovarju, objavljenem na internetu) beseda AL pomeni tudi Bog. V prekmurskem narečju se je še ohranila beseda ALDUVANJE (žrtvovanje Bogu).

Plutarh povezuje ta pogojni predlog ČE s preroštvom. Stvari je namreč mogoče napovedati, če so se določene stvari dogodile v preteklosti. Z drugimi besedami, nič se ne zgodi brez vzroka in nič ni mogoče vedeti v naprej brez razloga. Preroški dar dobijo tisti, ki znajo povezati vzroke in jih vključiti v naravni proces. Razumevanje posledic je pri tem zelo pomembno.

Tako so filozofi in umetniki že v srednjem veku razumeli preroško delovanje. Torej ne kot kakšno skrivnostno sporočilo, ki bi ga lahko dobil otrok brez razumevanja stvari, o katerih prerokuje.

To razumevanje prerokovanja je podobno arijski (adoptionistični) doktrini, da je Jezusa Bog »posvojil« v odrasli dobi, ko je prejel krst v reki Jordan, in da torej ni bil rojen na čudežen način od Device. To teorijo so deloma povzele protestantske verske ločine, ki ne priznavajo Marijinega brezmadežnega spočetja.

Plutarh navaja, da ima celo oblika črke E poseben pomen. Posebej se osredotoči na matematični pomen in pravi, da se parna števila začnejo z dve, in liha števila s tri ter da skupaj sešteti predstavljata številko pet, ki je sveto število.

Razlaga tudi, da parno število pomeni žensko, liho pa moškega, in da skupaj predstavljata zakonski par.

Tudi danes so umetniki in mistiki poznani kot predani individualci, ki iz dveh znanih možnosti iščejo tretjo, alternativno pot. Kreativnost nastane iz razpetosti med dvema nasprotujočima si možnostima.

Plutarh prav tako navaja, da je bilo v njegovem času Kozmos najbolj prepoznavno ime za Apolona, in da je bilo prvotno ime za Dioniza (Dionysus) Zagreus (tudi besedo Zagreus bi lahko razložili s pomočjo slovenskega jezika: ZAGREU pomeni »gori, goreč« v pomenu zagnan).

Kadar en narod uporablja religijo za opresijo drugega naroda, začnejo umetniki in filozofi iskati predstavo Boga, ki bi bila bolj inkluzivna kot sonce, ki sveti na vse ljudi enako. V antični dobi je grški filozof Aristotel predlagal »univerzalno dobro« kot najbolj pomembno človeško vrlino. Še posebej pomembno za razumevanje bibličnega pisanja je bilo delo grškega filozofa Platona, ki so ga v srednjem veku na veliko študirali neo-Platonisti.

Opažamo, da je v 20. stoletju vera v Boga, še zlasti v komunističnem svetu, zamenjala vera v kozmos, v univerzalno bratovščino in enakopravnost. To je v bistvu tudi novozavezni verski ideal, pa tudi ideal umetnikov, ki iščejo svetovni nazor, ki naj bi bil nad vsemi religijami.

Vračanje v stare grške in perzijske mite je postalo spet priljubljeno. Nekateri nanje gledajo z bolj univerzalno razgledanimi očmi, drugi se jih oprijemajo zgolj iz protesta. Navadno je tako, da kadar človeštvo pride v splošno duhovno krizo, začne gledati nazaj, da bi našlo pot za prihodnost.

Pa si poglejmo še, kako bi lahko interpretirali besedi Zagreus in Dionysus s pomočjo slovenskega jezika.

Zagreus je bil predhodnik Dionisa, grškega boga vina, verske ekstaze in ritualne norosti. Moje osebno razmišljanje, kako je človek zapadel v »noro«, ekstatično stanje, me pripelje do pojava telesne vročine, ko se telo zaradi bolezni ali alkoholične omame zagreje. Zato bi lahko bila slovenska beseda ZAGREU najbolj primerna etimologija za besedo Zagreus. Danes halucinacije razumemo drugače, kot so jih primitivni ljudje v antičnem času. Njim so pomenile bližino z božanstvom. Človeka, ki se je sam znal zamakniti v ekstazo, bi lahko okolica smatrala, da v sebi nosi boga. Tako je iz dilerične »blaznosti« nastal Bogonosec, če si drznemo predpostavljati, da DIO pomeni – bog v latinščini, NYSOS pa nosiš.

Plutarh prav tako navaja, da je bil Homer prvi, ki je svet razdelil na pet delov: tri dele v sredini in dva (skrajna) na vsako stran, Olimp in Zemlja, prvi zgoraj, drugi spodaj. Dvomim, da je Plutarh v tem primeru mislil na goro Olimp in da jo je zato uporabil kot simbol, ker predstavlja besedo VOLIM (ljubim, izberem). Ni zgolj naključje, da so se (in se še) versko-mistične izkušnje pogosto dogajale na vrhu gore.

Jezikoslovci tudi za to grško besedo nimajo etimologije. Predpostavljam, da je mitološki Olimp pomenil nekaj takega kot biblična gora Karmel, ki jo omenjajo številni mistiki, še posebej Janez od Križa (John of the Cross). Se pravi, gora Ljubezni. In prav to je pomen stare besede v slovenščini – VOLIM. Grki niso poznali črke V, zato so jo verjetno kar izpustili. V sodobni slovenščini se je bolj uveljavil izraz LJUBIM, Hrvatje pa še vedno uporabljajo besedo VOLIM (ljubim).

Plutarh omenja tudi Euripidovo teorijo, ki predpostavlja, da je številka štiri vzvišena, ker predstavlja osnovne elemente, ki sestavljajo telo, da pa je potreben še peti element – duša – ki omogoča gibanje in daje moč razmišljanja in človeško popolnost.

Plutarh razlaga napisa SPOZNAVAJ SAM SEBE in NIČ PREVEČ kot najbolj zagonetni izjavi.

Menim, da sta ti obe izjavi močno povezani s preroštvom in še posebej s Plutarhovim razumevanjem preroštva, ki temelji na poznavanju vzrokov in posledic. Človek, ki pozna samega sebe, pozna tudi druge (tako je zapisal tudi slovenski pisatelj Ivan Cankar). Duhovna pot mistika se navadno začne z introspekcijo, s premišljevanjem preteklih napak in razmišljanjem, kako bi se jih dalo izogniti v prihodnosti.

Izjavo NIČESAR PREVEČ v povezavi s preroštvom je prav gotovo povezana z zasvojenostjo, ki je eden najpogostejših duševnih problemov mistikov in umetnikov. Napis v delfijskem svetišču bi lahko pomenil, da tudi z versko ekstazo ni primerno pretiravati.

Plutarh smatra črko E za “popolno in samostojno besedo za nazivanje Boga”. Plutarh navaja, da Bog človeka nagovarja z besedo “Spoznaj samega sebe”, in človek mu odgovori: El  (Vi ste).

Živo naravo smatra za nekaj vmesnega med nastajanjem in prenehanjem. Ker je sama po sebi nestabilna, se nastajanje nikoli ne konča z bivanjem, ampak je ta proces večen – od semena do rastline, od rastline do semena in spet do nove rasti. Kar je večno, nikoli ne postane in nikoli ne preneha. Je nespremenljivo.

Predpostavlja, da je Bog brezčasen, da ni bilo ničesar pred njim in da ne bo ničesar za njim.

Zgornja razlaga alkimičnega simbola delfičnega E mi je omogočila, da sem začela drugače gledati na ilustracije v Voynichevem rokopisu. Zanimivo je, da so mi grške mitološke besede, za katere sami Grki ne poznajo etimologije, postale prepoznavne šele, ko sem jih prebrala v originalu.

Verjetno je nekaj podobnega doživel tudi avtor Voynichevega rokopisa, ki je za svoje pisanje uporabil prav slovenski jezik.

Ko sem ugotovila, da celotna kompozicija ustreza temi, ki sem jo prebrala v Plutarhovi Moraliji, sem bila še bolj prepričana, da je Voynichev rokopis delo zelo razgledanega meniha, ki se je kot mistik in pesnik zanimal za moralo in poslanstvo prave umetnosti. Tudi to me je pripeljalo do Nikolasa Kempfa.

Ne morem reči zagotovo, če je avtor Voynichevega rokopisa razumel svojo lastno vizijo in jo v besedilu razložil, ker se vizije lahko manifestirajo ne da bi jih mistik povsem razumel, toda ne pojavijo se brez vzroka in idej, s katerimi se je mistik ukvarjal. Prepričana sem, da je avtor VR bral Plutarha in da so njegove ideje vplivale na slikovna sporočila, s katerimi je hotel izraziti probleme svojega časa. Kot filozof je Nikolas Kempf, ki ga predlagam za avtorja VR, prav gotovo študiral Plutarhovo Morelio.

Številne skice razodevajo večno resnico. Mistični umetnik se lahko dokoplje do “večne resnice”, ne glede na to, kateri veri pripada. Po drugi strani pa je tudi res, da take mistične stopnje ne doseže vsak umetnik.

Delfični E

Kako naj razložimo risbo na strani 77, če predpostavljamo, da je nastala pod vplivom Plutarhovega dela in njegove razlage svete črke E?

Osrednja ideja pomeni, da se človek uči od narave. Tako kot imajo restline v svoji korenini ‘magične duhove’, ki omogočajo rast (od korenine do cvetov in sadežev), ima človek v sebi magično moč, da iz narave ‘vsrkava’ fizične dobrine za svoje preživetje in duhovne dobrine za postopno razumevanje samega sebe in sveta okoli sebe. Primitivni človek, ki je živel v harmoniji z naravo (čeprav to ni bilo vedno harmonično in idealno, a je bila edina možnost, ki mu je bila poznana), ni bil duhovno razdvojen. Skica na levi predstavlja kontinuiteto duhovne povezanosti z naravo (z Bogom, ali kakor koli je pač človek pojmoval naravne sile). Skica na levi predstavlja preroka, ki je bil od nekdaj duhovno razdvojen (dve korenini, dva vira duhovnosti (modra voda)). Izmed teh skrajnih možnosti se je izoblikovala tretja, združevalna možnost, ki je vir kreativnosti in napredka človeške civilizacije.

Recimo, da se črka E nanaša na besedo EL- Bog. Na desni strani sta dva ”sprejemnika” ki vskrkavata duh sedanjosti in preteklosti. Na levi strani pa so tri cevi, obrnjene proti goli, nekoliko noseči ženski figuri, ki drži eno roko v zgornji, drugo roko pa v spodnji cevi, s srednje cevi pa ji piha zrak (duh) v obraz. Napis poleg nje se glasi: OTCHDY, ki bi ga lahko v slovenščini prevedli kot O(T)ČEDI (clean!) ali OTČE DJ (OČE DAJ – Father give).

Tridelna cev v obliki črke E bi lahko pomenila tudi TROJICO, ki je bila poznana že v avestanski religiji in je postala center krščanske vere.

Izraz OČEDI je vsekakor najbolj primeren, če smatramo žensko figuro za Pitijo, ki se je morala pred prerokovanjem temeljito očistiti in je morala biti tudi sicer zelo učena, kot je zapisal Plutarh.

Naprava, v kateri stoji, predstavlja posodo na podstavku, v katero bi lahko od spodaj prihajali hlapi iz podzemnega potoka, ki bi jih med prerokovanjem vdihavala in dosegla hipnotično stanje, ali božansko moč in duhovno prerojenje. Da gre za mistično duhovno delovanje, nakazuje tudi slika na zgornjem delu lista, ki izgleda kot veja z »očesci«, ki lahko na novo požene, kot na primer veja oljke ali trte, ki sama iz sebe požene novo mladiko. Na podoben način preroške besede vplivajo na prihodnost, ker omogočajo duhovno prerojenje.

Napis nad žensko figuro na levi se glasi: DARČDAR. To bi lahko v slovenščini brali na več načinov. DA RČ DAR (da reči dar – give words gift), ali DAR Č DAR (dar če dari – gift if you give).

Podstavek, na katerem prerokinja stoji, se zgoraj razširi, kar pomeni duhovno rast in povezanost s črko E (Bogom) na eni strani, na drugi pa z naravnim, zemeljskim stikom.

Če tej interpretaciji dodamo še napis pod cevjo, dobimo še novo interpretacijo, vse pa se nanašajo na darovanje in zdravljenje.

DA RCH DAR – DA REČ DAR – give word gift – give gift of words

DAR CH DAR – DAR Č(E) DAR(I) – gift if (you) give

OLKCHS – OLKČS – olekčiš – olečiš (you heal)

Napis torej pomeni »zdravilni dar besed«, kar pravo preroštvo v bistvu pomeni. Take zdravilne besede prerok dobi ob premišljevanju svojega lastnega življenja, od svoje kulture in od univerzalnega koncepta Boga, tako da pravi prerok lahko govori v imenu Boga in daje ljudem v duševni stiski navodila in jim lajša anksioznost. Strah pred neznanim je najpogostejši vzrok anksioznosti.

Simbolično očiščenje prerokinje v delfijskem svetišču bi lahko pomenilo duhovno čiščenje – introspekcijo, tako da lahko sama svojo modrost, ki jo je nabrala iz raznih virov, preveri in aplicira na druge.

Na drugi strani veje, ki se kot lok razpenja na vrhu besedila sta spet dva napisa ob figuri suhega moškega. Vejo lahko interpretiramo kot »živo« vejo trte, ki še vsebuje rastlinski sok, kar nakazuje modra barva na koncu veje.

Zgornji napis na desni strani je torej povsem jasen in ga lahko preberemo samo kot DOTEDY – kar v slovenščini pomeni DOTEDAJ (until then); če bi besedo razdelili, pa bi lahko dobili D OTEDI – DA OTEDI (da otmi, da reši – that you save).

Pod vejo pa je napis S ORAL, kar ne bi mogli drugače prestaviti v latinske črke, v slovenščini pa bi to lahko prebrali in prevedli na več načinov:

S ORAL – SI ORAL – SI MOLIL (iz Lat. ORA – molitev, pridiga)
S je pogovorno za SI (you did).

Besedo ORAL bi lahko danes razumeli tudi kot oral (was ploughing), vendar je bil za to v narečnem govoru izraz ARAL, pozneje za časa Koseskega je bil v literaturi uporabljen izraz ORATAR, ki pa je pomenil orača na literarnem področju.

Torej je v tem primeru najbolj logičen prevod slovenska adaptacija latinske besede za molitev.

Če si zamišljam premišljujočega srednjeveškega meniha, mi je povsem razumljivo, zakaj bi molitev povezoval z grškimi preročišči. Namreč, v času duhovne razdvojenosti je bila v srednjem veku močno razgibana mistična dejavnost, ki se je manifestirala v pravi krščanski mistiki, pa tudi v različnih herezijah, proti katerim sta se borili tako vzhodna kot zahodna krščanska Cerkev in sta si s krutim zatiranjem »heretikov« obe kvarili ugled, ker so bili med preganjanimi »heretiki« tudi pravi mistiki.

Figura na zgornji levi strani izgleda kot suhljat moški, ki prejema življenjski sok iz trtine ali oljčne veje, pomeni simbolično umirjenost in prerojenje. Namreč, oljka in vinska trta sta znani po tem, da se sami razraščata in poganjata nove sadike, obenem pa lahko dosežeta tudi zelo veliko starost (trta v Mariboru je stara že več kot 400 let). Prav tako sta trta in oljka poznani kot ‘sveto drevo’, ker dajeta ‘zdravilen sok’ (vino, oljčno olje), ki se že od najstarejših časov uporablja za verske rituale. Tekočina, ki prihaja iz veje, predstavlja magični življenjski sok, ki daje rast drevesu in sadežem, in je torej osnova  vina (ali pa oljčnega olja).

Postava moškega nakazuje fizično šibkost in izmučenost, kar pri prerokih ni bila redkost, na kar je opozoril že Plutarh.

Celotna veja vsebuje tri sveta števila: sedem, pet in tri. Če ne štejemo skrajnih dveh, ki po Plutarhovi interpretaciji predstavljata neznano preteklost in neznano prihodnost, ima veja pet odrastkov, ki jim v slovenščini pravijo očesca.

Oglejmo si napise, vključno z napisi na skrajni levi in desni, ki sem jih že razložila:


OTEDY – OTMI (od OTETI) (save, protect)

Ti dve besedi izgledata, kot da predstavljata enak pomen: zdravi in rešuj.

OTORK – izgleda kot napačno zapisana beseda OTROK (child). Bolj verjetno pa predstavlja samostalnik iz besede TOR (trgati), kar bi lahko bil Voynichev izraz za utrgano vejo, ali tudi za obtrgati. V refleksiji na svetopisemske prispodobe, še zlasti pri gojenju trte, je obtrgavanje vej zelo pomembno, ker sicer trta »podivja«. Podobno je z vero. Če razumemo vero kot proizvod »božjih vinogradnikov« (prerokov, mistikov, ki jim je dana božja beseda), obdelava trte pomeni očiščevanje vere in odstranjevanje nerodovitnih, podivjanih vej (heretičnih in drugih idej, ki kvarijo kulturo in moralo, odpravljanje napak, ki vodijo v anarhijo). 

OTOL – od glagola OTETI (save, protect)

DCHDY  – D(A) Č(E) D(A)J – That if (you) give
V dolenjskem narečju je bila v uporabi ta čudna kombinacija besed še sredi 20. stoletja. Lahko bi bilo tudi DIČITI (slaviti).

SOROL – S 0ROL – (z molitvijo) – with prayer (ORA- Latin for »pray«)

Če veja predstavlja vejo trte, ali vejo oljke, gre v obeh primerih za magično moč soka – pri oljki za olje, pri trti za vino – ki je povezana s preroštvom.

Kot vsa živa bitja so ljudje del narave in jih je treba kultivirati, kot trto ali oljko.

Celotno sporočilo bi lahko razumeli kot moto mirovnikov, umetnikov in prerokov: zdravi, varuj in rešuj, obtrguj (izločaj, odstranjuj napake), tudi če ti daje bolečino.                   

Verjetno tudi ni naključje, da je avtor slike postavil kot nasprotje moškega in ženske ter da je narisal različno obliko posode. Tudi ta ilustracija me spominja na Kempfov izraz »noga ljubezni«. Ne vem, kako se je glasil latinski original, zato ne morem reči zagotovo, da je moj prevod pravilen. Lahko bi šlo tudi za stopalo, ki je po Kempfu »zasajeno« v zemljo in ga druga »noga ljubezni« lahko povleče za seboj. Le na ta način bi lahko razložili čudne posode, v katerih stojita človeški figuri. Moški na desni strani ima »dve  korenini, ki se pri njegovih nogah združita. Glede na barvo bi lahko predpostavljali, da gre za zemeljske korenine. Duhovno hrano (ki jo ponazarja modra barva), dobiva od ritualnega posvečenja.

Figura spodaj kaže modro tekočino, kar bi utegnilo pomeniti ritualno očiščevanje z vodo (krst), ki skupaj z duhovnim presvetljevanjem vodi v napredek civilizacije s pomočjo tistih, ki živijo za prihodnost, ne samo za sedanjost, ki je minljiva. Napis spodaj se glasi: OTOLAMO, ki izhaja iz glagola OTETI in pomeni OTMEMO (REŠIMO – we save). Besedo bi lahko prebrali tudi kot OTALAMO, kar v narečni slovenščini pomeni PODELIMO (we share). Luskinasti vzorec, ki ga najdemo v številnih Voynichevih risbah in izgleda, kot da predstavlja množičnost, bi lahko razumeli kot množičnost posameznih prerokov, ki skupno tvorijo seme za prihodnost.

Na levi strani je ženska figura, ki dobiva duhovnost od ritualnega posvečenja, pa tudi iz duhovnih korenin (modra barva), ki izhajajo iz ene same korenine materinske ljubezni, ki se v toku zgodovine dopolnjuje.

Posoda, v kateri stoji ženska, ima dve korenini in izgleda, kot da je razpolovljena in da druga polovica predstavlja čisto duhovnost, ki se razliva na množico (če vzorec smatramo za množino ljudi). To bi bilo poslanstvo materinsko-navdihnjenega preroka ali mistika.

Tudi v tem vidim Kempfove reformne ideje, da bi v Cerkev vpeljal več ženskega duha. Kartuzijanci so bili izredni častilci Marije. Kult Marije je bil za slovenski narod zelo pomemben. Prav tako je bil pomemben za slovenske pesnike in pisatelje, ki so v njej videli poosebljeno materinsko ljubezen.




English Articles

Reading minims ‘i’, ‘u’, ‘n’, w, and ‘m’ in the Voynich Manuscript

In my previous blog, I focused on the general description of the minims and illustrated how they can be read as different Latin leters. I explained one reading of the word known among the VM researchers ad EVA daiin. In this post, I will explain the reading of other minims and compare them to Slovenian grammatical endings. The ending -w for verbal forms cannot be found in Slovenian dictionaries, because the words were spelled with the endings -v or -l and pronounced as U. The letter W was replaced in Slovenian language before the first Slovenian books were written in the mid-16th century. 

Minims in the Stična Codex, mid-15th century, Slovenian language and Latin letters

Most of the minims in the VM appear at the end of the words, which means they represent grammatical ending.

In Slovenian language, the ending for the infinitive verbs is -TI (TY) which in the Middle Ages could also be spelled as DY, since T and D were often mixed up by foreign writers (Slovenian DOL, English DALE became German Thal).  For a foreigner, looking for the etymology of the words, would also make sense to spell DY rather than TI, since many Slovenian verbs are formed from the noun by adding the word DAJ (which would be spelled in the VM as DY). There are still some remnants of such forms, such as POGLED DATI which in 2. person singular, imperative mood would be POGLED DAJ (pogledy in the VM) and eventually evolved into POGLEJ.  The infinite form evolved to POGLEDDATI.

Besides different grammatical endings for number, gender, case, and tense, different groups of verbs can also have different vowel before minim ending for the first person singular, such as -am, -im, -em. In a similar way, the -al ending in the verbs for first person masculine past or future tense verbs can have a variation of -al, -el, -il ending. In some Slovenian dictionaries, the grammatical endings are indicated, including the accent. The examples below are taken from the Pravopis slovenskega jezika (the dictionary of Slovenian orthography).

In the VM, the ending -am is most frequent, which means that the text is written predominantly in the first person singular. I have already pointed out in my previous post that EVA-daiin stands for Slovenian word DAM, which can also be the ending for many words derived from the verb DATI (to give). EVA-aiin is Slovenian ending -am, used for first person singular present tense, for which the endings -im, or -em can also be used.

Several VM researchers, particularly J. K. Petersen, pointed out the slight difference in the way minims are written in the VM, but they did not explain what those differences means.

The difference between the minims is clearly visible in the above words, which I read as SAM.

SAM is one of the most frequently used words in the VM, because of its various meanings. The word SAM means I AM (in various dialects, although the proper Slovenian is SEM). It is also used to form a past tense for the 1. person singular. Example: (SAM) DAL – ‘I gave’.  Note that the SAM is a helping verb, and the main verb DAL has the ending -AL. Like in the word DAM, the personal pronoun I is implyed in the ending and is usually not written, unless the pronoun is stressed.

Besides interpreting the word as SAM, it is also important to explore the possible reading of S as Z or Ž.

EVA-dain – Slovenian DAM

Based on the Stična codex, as well as on contemporary Latin cursive writing, I read the VM glyphs IV as IV, N or W. To understand the distinction, some explanation of Slovenian phonetics is required.

How can the EVA-in be read as IV, W or N? Such reading could definitelly be concluded from various medieval European manuscripts. I suppose the similarity of the shapes of the letter could be the main reason. Although in some medieval manuscripts, the rounded  connecting lines between the minims for N and M were used, in most cursive writing, the diagonal connecting lines were used, and when the upward stroke is light and thin, the letters are hard to differentiate from U which has a rounded connecting line at the bottom. Although U with a rounded connecting line was used in the German Latin letters (such as in the Freising Manuscript in the 10th century), at some point the V was used for Latin U, and two Vs for W, both for the sound U – V in Latin, W in Germanic (where V was often used for F sound and W occasionally for B).

The explanation of the endings -l as – u, v, w,  could be based on phonetics. The pronunciation of the letter L was the subject of one of the first debates on phonetics among Slovenian linguists.

In the Freising Manuscript, the pronunciation of the -l endings is clear; it was written with double -ll, which some considered German pronunciation, foreign to Slavic phonetics.

The -l at the end, and in front of semi-vowel was pronounced as -u, but Germans pronounced it as L.

In 1883, Slovenian linguist Škrabec proposed that Slovenians should spell the words the way they are pronounced.  He pointed out that Slovenians did not accept the Polish ‘ł’ which was pronounced as W.

By the time the first Slovenian dictionaries were written, the W was already replaced with U or V. In the VM, the -l, -v and -w endings are used interchangeable. Most likely, certain words were pronounced the German way with the hard L, and some words with the Slavic L (u) or ilj.

An example of extensive use of -m endings could be found on f35r. The endings in green and red squares are verbal endings, while the endings in blue are non-verbal endings. The ending -m can also be used for declination of some nouns. It can also be found in the words such as KAM (where), TAM (there) and others.

The high frequency of EVA-dan, dain, daiin would require an entire book to explain. Although there could be other meanings, the most such words are related to the verbe DATI – to give.

The grammatical form, the proper reading, and the meaning of the VM words can best be determined from the context.

Some Slovenian verbs were formed by adding the word DATI (to give) to the noun. This is how the word ČOR + DAM  (I give magic) gradually became ČORAM (I make magic spell, incantation). Because of the flexible word order, the individual words can be reversed (DAM ČOR – ‘I give incantation), but the reversal does not work where the words are combined into one word. Another such word would be VM word RCHY DAM (RČI DAM – words I give) which has been used until the 20th century in the Prekmurje dialect for ‘I give sermon’, ‘I preach’. It originates from the expression DATI REČI – ‘to give a word’. This word evolved to RECHDY – (used in the VM) to REČI in contemporary Slovenian.

According to P. Currier, the word DAM (EVA-daiin) appears 268 times in the first 25 pages, and the word AM additional 149 times. In the next 25 pages, the word AM appears 137 times, and the word DAM only 76 times. This led him to assume that the words must be the same and that D in the word DAM must be a silent letter. Based partly on this grammatical peculiarity, he concluded that the two languages are not the same.

The word DAM is most frequently used word in the VM. Besides the word DAM (I give), which indicated the first person writing, various derivates of this word are used in the VM.  The prefix PO-  is used for the complete action; combined with DAM means ‘hand’, such as ‘give in hands’, or PODAM  ‘give one selves up’, ‘I surrender’. Where PO is separated from DAM, it could be related to ‘home’ (po dam – (longing) of home).

KALDAIIL – indicates repeated past tense action of ‘sprout’.  Like the word DAM, the repeated giving is made by adding -il, or -jil ending. The meaning is similar to DAL (grammatical form for past or future tense). It is used with a helping verb (sem, si, je, bom, boš, bo, and bi for the conditional mood – English was, will, or would).


Many VM researchers are wondering about the string of four minims in EVA-DAIIIN word. (There are more such strings of minims without the D letter.) Since the words are seldom used in the VM, some believe they must be a characteristic of a certain language. 

Is there an explanation for them in Slovenian language? According to Dr. Bax’s minim theory, the EVA-daiiin could be read as DAIIN, DAIIV, DANW, DAIM, DAWN, DAIIW. To transliterate them into Slovenian, we have to consider that the VM was written before the letter J came into use, and before Slovenians replaced  U with V, and W with V or U.

It would be reasonable to assume that the V was used for U, like in the Latin writing convention of the time.

A single minim as ‘I’

A single minim inside the word, stands for ‘i’, just like it is designated in the EVA-alphabet. In the VM, two minims are sometimes used for JI or IJ, since the letter Y is used only for the beginning or for the end of the words. They are frequently followed by R, L, IL.

In the example above, the words ending with -ilj (EVA-m) are mostly the strings of verbs related to the helping verb BUOS (dialectal phonetic spelling for BOŠ – you will be). The ending reflects the soft Slavic -ilj pronunciation of the letter ‘l’.  While the -il is most often found at the end, there are some rare exceptions in the VM (in light blue square). The word DAILO seems to be the dialectal phonetic spelling for DELO (work), and DAIILOL looks like DELOL (will be making).

Another example of different minim endings could be found in the table above. The word LEK is an old Slovenian word for healing remedy. Later, the ‘e’ replaced the semivowel. By adding the ending -am, the verbal form for the first person singular, present tense, is formed. LEKAW is alternative spelling of LEKAL (was healing), while LEKAN means a passive form (healed). LEKAIV seems to be the VM form of adjective – healing, since -iv (iw) ending is indicative for the adjectives. In this case, LEKAIV sounds strange, because Slovenian writers later adopted the word LEČILEN for ‘healing’.  The -ilj ending also sounds strange to contemporary Slovenians, who are more familiar with the word LEČIL.  

In general, minim endings account for almost half of all the endings in the VM. They are most often used for various verbal forms, as well as for adjectives and nouns.


The study of dialects and phonology is a  relatively young addition to Slovenian linguistics, however, it is gaining importance in the last decades. In the past, Slovenians who spoke in dialect, were frown upon as oldfashioned, as the linguists wanted to create a ‘pure’ litterary language. That never worked in practice. However, the generations of school children were forced to abandon their dialects. At the present time, the linguists are searching for the people who still speak in dialects, collecting the old no longer used words and studying phonology. There is very little research into Slovenian dialects and phonetics for the time period betweed the Freising Manuscript (10th century) and Stična Codex (mid-15th century), and between Stična Codex and the 1st known Slovenian books (mid-15th cenury), that is, before the Slovenian language was commited to written form.

Because of that, even the professional Slovenian linguists regard the VM as odd and unrecognizable at the first glance, because their mind set is focused on the two widely studied codices – (Freising manuscript and Stična Codex) and less on the phonetics of the peasant Slovenian language.  I am sure if they would focus on the unique Slovenian grammar, reflected in the VM, they would be better able to understand, that the spoken words the author of the VM heard and wrote down did not sound the same as the words Trubar used 100 years later.

When I tried to write a paragraph in the dialect spoken in my native village at the time of my youth, I could not do it with a simple alphabet. (Professional linguists do that better with a special alphabet that included marks for various accents and sounds.) I imagine this is what the author of the VM was up against. From a spoken language, he would also have difficulty knowing where one word ends and the another one starts. This is why some short words are often written together, and some longer words are separated by unnecessary space.

Because of the various reading of the strings of minims, the number of vowels and consonants changes drastically from the EVA transcription which is used for most computer analysis. Implementing changes makes VM more readable and more vowel-consonant balanced. Also, replacing the semivowels with vowels makes the VM language more syllabic.  The changes cannot be implemented with a replacement button on the computer, because each word has to be studied separately within the context. For this reason, knowing the language and grammar is very important. Although Slovenian is my native language, I am still having difficulty reading the minims in some VM words, particularly since the author was not that proficient in grammar, nor in spelling. Besides, I have no concrete example how the Slovenian language in the 15th cenury sounded, except for 3 pages of religious text.




English Articles


A minim is a short, vertical stroke for letters i, m, n, and u. They are connected to form different letters by a connecting stroke which was often so fine that it was hardly noticable. They were characteristic for the medieval Ghotic script which was very hard to read. To make it easier to read, the letters were inserted or dropped, and the dots were placed over ‘i’, and umlout over ‘u’, the leters j and v were also introduced.

Dr. Stephen Bax on Minims

Back in 2014, the late world renown linguist Dr. Stephen Bax pointed out that the minims are the greatest obstacles for properly analysing and interpreting the VM. He pointed out that one minim could stand for ‘i’ and ‘j’, two minims for ‘n’, ‘u’, and ‘v’, and three minims for ‘m’ and ‘w’.  He stated that when reading the Voynich manuscript “we need to be aware of possible multiple meanings for the same signs, and we need to accept that this was not unique in mediaeval practice.”

He pointed out how important it is to properly transcribe and translate the minims, as he wrote, unless you have the context and the word knowledge – which we don’t have with the Voynich script – it is a nightmare to tell if a letter is  ‘n’, ‘u’, ‘i i’, or in the case of three minims,  ‘i u’, u i’ , ‘m’ or even ‘w’ or ‘i v’.”

Most researchers referred to the VM minims as Eva ‘iin’ or ‘iiv’ (Currier). Bax pointed out that different combination of minims can generate 14 different sounds or letters, excluding V, as well as some Latin numerals.

Source: Dr. S. Bax

Dr. Bax also noticed the difference between the way the VM minims are connected: in some words, there is slight separation between the minims, and most of the time, the last minim ends with an upward flourish. He was wondering if the scribe did that with a specific purpose in mind. He believed the scribe intended to link some minims and separate others to indicate different sounds.

Most VM researchers even at the present time, would agree with Dr. Bax’s statement: “This analysis raises an important problem for Voynich studies, because so far we have treated all ii and iii clusters as only two ‘signs’, in our counting, in our statistics and in our thinking. Our transcriptions – and therefore all of our computer analyses, entropy, Zipf and all the rest – have been based on that assumption. If it is wrong, we need a major rethink, and a major recount.”

The untimely death of Dr. Bax prevented him from continuing his research in this area. All computer analysis of the VM text so far failed to produce any meaningful results, because they are all based on EVA alphabet which counts two minims as ‘in’, three minims as ‘iin’, and four minims as iiin. Perhaps, it would be time to re-interpret the minims and analyse the text based on new transcription.

I have updated EVA alphabet to take into account a new understanding of minims and replaced some letter designations that were most problematic for proper reading of VM text. I obtained very good results with my transcription alphabet.

As Dr. Bax pointed out, minims are characteristic for the Arabic script however they were often used in the medieval Gothic writing. Later, the minims were formed into the letters N, M, U, I and W.

Some Hystorical Appearance of Minims

The symbols with different number of lines have much older origin than the writing. They have been found on the artifacts from the 3rd millenium BC in present day Serbia. The signs with two and three minims have been used for sounds N and M in Proto-Sinaitic, Ancient Hebrew, Ancient Greek, Etruscan, Venetic and some other scripts.

The minims were used in Gothic script for M, N, U, I, V and W. The pictures below show different style of minims. Even in the Slovenian Carthusian manastery of Žiče (Slovenia), the minims were used in capital and cursive script.

The above tree samples of minims are quite different, but in all these scripts it is hard to read the letters comprised of mimims. The picture on the right already uses the letter ‘i’, but it still has the same ‘d’ as the VM. I would also like to point out to the slightly triangular loop in the letter L.

In the mid-15th century, the Carthusian monastery Žiče was one of the four monasteries that in 1415 formed the Fraternity of the Slovenian Carthusian monasteries. It had the second largest library in Europe at that time.

Minims in Stična Codex

In my previous posts, I have already explained that the language of the VM is medieval Slovenian. I pointed out to the similarity of some VM glyphs to the Stična Codex, written in Slovenian language and in Latin letters about the same time as the VM. The codex contains the formula for the general confession, which has been in use continuously with some modifications and was therefore easy to read and translate into modern Slovenian.

For the purpose of explaining the reading of minims, I will try to analise the Stična Codex. The first part was written by a Czech refugee around the year 1428, and the other two pages by his student in 1440. Since the Stična Codex was transcribed and translated by professional linguist, I cannot be accused of subjective reading.

This analysis will only include minims.

The text of the VM is less familiar to Slovenian speakers, because the author probably developed his alphabet independently from the Czech monk who wrote the Stična codex at the Cistercian monastery of Stična, Slovenia. Because the Stična codex uses German style of letters k, s, z, r, h, it is hard to get a word that could be spelled exactly the same as in the VM, however, when I substituted those letters with the Latin exquivalents of the VM glyphs, I got many exactly the same words, which indicates that the language is indeed Slovenian.

The Stična Codex already shows some solutions to the minim problems. The darker ink makes some connecting lines between minims more visible, so that in some places, it is quite possible to distinguish ‘u’ from ‘n’, but not always.

The words in the yellow square represent Slovenian word INU (and), which was used in the regions of Slovenia under German influence, while the letter ‘i’ (and) was used and a conjunction ‘and’ in the regions of OCS influence.  

The word I (and) was the remnant of the OCS language and was still used in Dolenjska region in the 16th century, however, since the author of the Stična Codex was a Czech Cistercian, he was influenced by the writing practice of Germanic priests and used the word INU. In the Stična Codex, it was also spelled as YNV, YNW or YNU, and even YNVO. In Slovenian, the word eventually evolved to IN, as Y was replaced with ‘i’, but in dialectal speech, it was often pronounced as JN or AN, which is similar to English, but with the dropped D. A similar explanation could be given to German UND: as Y was replaced with U, U was pronounced as U.

In the Stična Codex, the letters U, W and V are all pronounced as U, and since the grammatical rules were not established yet, they are used intercheangably throughout the text. ‘V’ comes from Latin writing convention which did not recognize W.  The German writers often used the letter W for V or B (In the Stična Codex, the word BUG (God) is written as WUG. The letter V in German writing practice was also often used for F (visch – fisch).

The letter W (marked with purple) was already abandoned and replaced with V or U in the Middle Ages, however it still appeared occasionally in the writing of the 16th century, particularly by German writers. It would take a scholar to recognize this confusion and try to improve the Slovenian alphabet so that it could be used by Slovenians living under Hungary, Austria or Italy.

Carthusian Nicholas Kempf was an educator and strong proponent of the use of vernacular language in liturgy. As a prior of Jurklošter and Pleterje (two of the carthusian monasteries who in 1415 formed the Fraternity of the Slovenian Carthusian monasteries, it would be feasible that he developed the Latin alphabet for Slovenian language.

In the first sample of the Stična Codex, the letters M and N have slightly rounded connecting line, while the second part the connecting line is pointy, and when pressed with a quail pen, it is usually lighter, sometimes almost invisible, like in the VM.

Some of those letters M or N appearing at the end of the words have  tails, turned downwards, however, this is not always the case. Exactly the same word, with the same Slovenian meaning, can have the letters N and M with a tail, or without it. Besides the fact that some have a flourish, there are only a few that seem perfectly written and can be correctly recognized by somebody who is not familiar with the Slovenian language. In some cases, there are four minims, that can be read as NU, UN, IM or MI. In the Stična codex they are easier to recognize, because the author put a dot over ‘i’. Also, in some Slovenian dialects, and particularly in Dalmatian Croatian, letter N was often used for M (san – sam – Dalmatian for I am, while in Slovenian, the same word meant ‘sleep’, ‘dream’). Because some regions in Slovenia used Glagolitza and Croatian liturgical books, the speech of the people in those reagions could have been influenced that dialect.

The  VM-v at the end of the words seems to be the mirror image of the Stična Codex-v, with a short slanted line with a flourish, sometimes almost rounded into O (equivalent of Stična Codex YNVO).

Frequency of letter  M

Compared to Stična Codex, M in the VM appears mostly at the end of the word. There can be several reasons for this: the M was so weakly pronounced that it was not noticed by a foreign writer; the choice of vocabulary the author used did not contain that letter; the words has an improper space after the letter M.

The frequency of the letter M at the end of the words definitelly reflects Slovenian grammar. The ending -am is still used as the verbal ending for the first person singular, present tense. This is indicated in some Slovenian dictionaries. The examples below are from the SSKJ (Slovar slovenskega knjižnega jezika).  You might also noticed the ending TI for the ending of the verbs in the infinite form. The German writers often spelled D for T. This can partly explain the high frequency of DY endings in the VM.

The letters ‘w’ (marked with purple) and ‘v’ (marked with orange) can also be found at the end of the words, just like in the VM.

The ‘-am’ ending is therefore one of the most frequents Slovenian endings, particularly in the text written in the first person. Since the text of the VM seems to contain poems, prayers or recipes (instructions), a lot of text would be expected to be written in the first person singular.

  Stična Codes – 1440

Stična Codex is written in the first person singular, which accounts for most -m endings. The manuscript is written in Latin, so I cannot analyze the minims in the same way as in the Stična Codex, but perhaps some Latin expert could figure out the meaning of the flourishes in this writing.

Unlike in the Stična Codex, where the flourishes are turned downwards, the final flourishes in this manuscript are turned upwards, although not all final minims end up with an upward flourish.

Minims in Tractatus Husite

Tractatus Husite was written in the Stična monastery (Slovenia) and partly by the same scribe that has written the Stična Codex, since this document was part of the Tractatus Husite.

J. K. Petersen rejects the idea that the upward turned flourish in the VM was used for embellishment. He claims that in the Middle Ages, in Latin, English, French, German, Italian, Czech, Spanish, and other languages, the back sweeping tail stood for whatever ending was appropriate for that language and could represent one or several missing letters. Petersen transliterates the EVA  – IIN as IIV, but I am proposing some additional readings, such as M, IN, IIW, MI, IM, IW, JIV, NV.

I agree with Petersen that a single minim at the end with a tail upwards could stand for the semivowel, which was later replaced with the vowel, and depending on the dialect, the vowel can be u, w, o, v or i (y).

Petersen pointed out that minims are most often preceded by the letter ‘a’. According to EVA and most other transcription alphabets, the letter ‘i’ is represented with one minim (s slanted line), except at the beginning and at the end of the word. It was also pointed out that the string of minims at the end of the words is most often proceeded by ‘a’ or by ‘da’, so much so that the VM researchers are referring to the EVA words DAIN and DAIIN.

The word DAM is one of the most frequently used Slovenian words, since it is used a lot in the ordinary conversation, as well as in the first-person writing.

DAM is the form of the verb DATI, 1. Person, sing. Present tense. As it is evident from the partial explanation in the Slovenian Etymology Dictionary, various prefixes and endings can be added to this word, however in the dictionary, only DATI would be listed.

dáti dám dov. lat.‛dare’ (10. stol.), dájati, dodáti, dodȃjati, dodȃtek, izdáti, izdȃjati, izdȃja, navdáti, navdȃjati, obdáti, obdȃjati, oddáti, oddȃjati, oddȃja, oddȃjnik, podáti, podȃjati, podȃja, predáti, predȃjati, predȃja, pridáti, pridȃjati, razdáti, razdȃjati, vdáti se (15. stol.), vdȃjati se, vdȃja, vdán, vdánost, zadáti, zavdáti, zavdȃjati idr  stcslovan. dati, sed. damь, hrv., srb. dȁti, sed. dȃm, dádēm, rus. dátь, sed. dám, češ. dát, sed. dám. Pslovan. *da̋ti, sed. *damь̏ ‛dati’ je dalje enako z lit. dúoti, sed. star. dúomi, danes dúodu, let. duôt ‛dati’, kar so vse tvorbe iz ide. korena *doh3- ‛dati’. (Copied from SSKJ)

The word dati was known in the Old Indian language as dádāti, Proto-Slavic as da̋ti, Greek dídōmi (dam), in Latin dare, in Old Church Slavonic. dati  (damь – 1. per., sing., present tense).

In the VM, the word DAM is used in various combination, one of the most revealing is the combination DAM DAR, which due to the flexible word order, can also be reversed (DAR DAM). Both of this combinations could be found in the VM.

The word DAM is not to be confussed with the Slovenian word DOM, which means ‘home’, however in some Slovenian dialects, the O in DOM is pronounced as A. This explains two exactly the same consecutive words in the VM: DAM DAM. The Slovenian speaking person would pronounce them differently (the first A has a long accent, the second one a short one). This is also recognizable as old Slovenian expression, litterally translated into English as HOME GIVE or GIVE HOME. The personal pronoun I is implied with the ending M. The proper meaningful English translation would be: I give (to take home).

The minims in VM f42r could easily be recognized as the 1st person writing because of the frequency of the ending -m, although the ending can also be for a noun. This text also reveals the frequency of the use of the word DAM.


Although Slovenian was my first language, and I am also familiar with Slovenian dialects, I still have difficulty correctly identifying the minims. Fortunately, in most cases, the misreading M for IW, and vice versa, represents only minor grammatical difference which I will explain in my next post.




English Articles


f 57  v

Because the picture contains individual VM glyph, not all of which were used in the VM text, I am assuming that this was one of the first pages. It seems out of place between the flower picture and a full text of writing. The pictures are very rough sketches. Various connecting lines are tried for the minim ‘I’ (on top, in the middle), but there is no combination of minims for ‘n’ or ‘m’, ‘u’ or ‘w’, as if it was taken for granted that combining minims forms these letters. The author used them in the words, though.

I suppose whoever combined the pages for the book was not aware of the fact that this picture represents the beginning of prophesy that evolved into the Christian liturgy. If author himself placed it in that order, he might have his own reasoning. According to Lisa Fagin Davis, it was written by scribe No. 1.

According to my first impression, this picture represents a Christian mass and four different aspects of it: communion, blessing, preaching, and healing. The Latin alphabet for Slovenian language was developed to enable Latin priest to say mass in vernacular, that is, in Slovenian language, and to teach lay brothers to read the bible and other books. Since I believe the service was perhaps more like Waldensian or Hussite, regarding communion as a symbolic, not actual transubstantiation, it would be reasonable to assume that there is no literature to describe it. I was not able to find any information on that on the internet, nor on the mass in Old Church Slavonic, nor on the Bogomil religious service.

The ritual might have been unique since Slovenians have a unique word for Communion bread – OBHAJILO.

The author would be motivated to learn the words associated with this religious ritual, because most religious groups, accused of being heretical, were calling for the use of vernacular language in liturgy.

Some Notes on Slovenian Medieval Grammar

Slovenian language is most archaic language and very difficult for a foreigner to understand. The language used in the mid-16th century, when the first Slovenian Protestant books were written, was even more complicated, because the Latin letters for Slovenian sounds were not consistently used. There were also other grammatical practices modern Slovenian readers are not familiar with.

The VM was written 100 years prior to any other larger text in Slovenian language and Latin letters, which means that the grammar was even more archaic and inconsistent.

It is evident that the author had a lot of difficulty writing down the word, because the vowels were not pronounced clearly. In the VM semivowels are not written down, so that the writing shows some likeness to abjad. Example: vьsь ‛ves, cel  – Since Latin had no equivalent for Slavonic ь, it was often dropped. This has been a common occurance in the earliest Slovenian writing so that the Protestant Slovenian writers of the 15th century, the authors of the first Slovenian books, insisted the vowel should be inserted. In most cases this has been done by 17th century, however due to various dialects, it has not been done consistently. This is the reason some words with the same meaning are spelled differently. There are also many words with different meaning that are spelled the same, because the accent is not shown. Only a few accent marks could be found in the VM text. 

Slovenian and Croatian linguists also pointed out that in Dolenjska dialect of Slovenian language, the vowels and consonants were often dropped in  speech, and consequently in a written form, like ‘ladati’, instead of ‘vladati’. I noticed this might be the case in the VM words, such as OKA – ROKA (hand, arm) and OZA – ROŽA.   

My insertion of the missing vowels is based on medieval Slovenian writing, and on dialectical pronunciation.

I also noticed that the author, being a foreigner, occasionally used te wrong word, such as the word ‘taste’ for ‘smell’.

Slovenian grammatical forms are often weird and inconsistent with the 16th century Slovenian writing. The author could have created a word he had not heard, using the wrong word for example, or add a foreign ending to Slovenian word, or Slovenian ending to a foreign word. In many cases, the Slovenian endings had changed later,  like SVETEC  to SVETNIK, or ŠKODAIV to ŠKODLJIV, DARAV – DARIL, DARAIV to DAREŽLJIV. These changes could be assumed from the way such words are used in different 16th century texts.

I had chosen f57v for detailed analysis since it contains visual images, VM letters and represent the central message of the entire book.

I am not claiming that the translation is 100 percent correct, since different division of the words can generate words with different meaning, and some words can have better meaning in some other language. For my translation, I used the words that I was able to find in the Slovenian and Croatian writing of the 16th century, adjusted to the grammatical form (and even a grammatical form the foreign author might have used).

Holy Offering – Holy Sacrifice

I am assuming the label in the top left corner of the outside circle is the title because it has a meaning that seem to be relevant to the central picture. I read the word as DAIROL.

According to EVA alphabet, as well as other transcription alphabets, this word could only be transcribed as DAIROL.  In the Slovenian language, this could only be translated into the word related to giving.  DA  IR is often used in the VM to mean GIVE GIFT. The form DAIROL would be the word that eventually evolved into DAROVAL (made offering) and DAROVANJE (offering). In Slovenian, the mass is called Holy Offering, which is equivalent of English Holy Sacrifice. The word DAROVANJE is part of the Catholic Mass, which in Slovenian is called SVETA DARITEV (Holy Giving, Holy Sacrifice).

The Central Picture

At the first glance, we notice the four concentrical circles around the central circle in the middle which is the focal point.

Looking at the picture, the eye focusses on the central circle with the dot. This has been one of the oldest written symbols that has been continuously used on the Balkans and had a mystical meaning.

According to the ancient interpretation, it represents God. The symbol was accepted by the Rosicrucians for their symbol for God.

In Slovenian, this symbol was called RIS (sounds like RES – Slovenian for ‘truth’). In Slovenian pagan tradition, this symbol was drawn at intersections for protection against the evil spirits.

I suppose we can interpret this as God’s infinity in the smallest dimension, and the progressive larger circles as the extension towards the infinity of the other extreme.

God is in the infinitely small things and in the infinite big things, but humans are limited in time and place. By way of their creativity, they show likeness to God – the ultimate Creator. In Jesus, human and divine tendencies are crossing and overlapping.

Religion was created to help men orient themselves in time and place. It consists of magic of words and rituals. It has developed from the primitive magic which eventually was rejected as the institutionalized religions introduced their magic. From the primitive religions, based on superstition and rituals, the more advanced religions were formed based on transmission of wisdom, and past experiences, by way of written words.

Image of the VM compared to the images from the 16. century paintings

This circle is surrounded by a square, the sides of which seem to be three half-circles, offering an allusion to the Trinity. From the middle of the circle, a line of writing is arranged in such a way that the words form a cross in a shape of X.  In between the cracks of this cross, there are four male figures (just the upper body) forming another cross.  Their outstretched hands are suggestive of talking. The one on the right looks like he is lifting-up the communion bread, the one on the left, looks like he is giving the blessing with his hand.

From this middle picture, it is evident that the man is holding a host in his hand. The poses of the other three men are also suggestive of talking, preaching, blessing.

The majority of Voynich researchers believe that this page represents the basics of the alphabet and language. I also agree with that. We need to remember that the medieval writers, especially the mystical writers, were focused on Jesus as the Word of God and rejected other images of Jesus. A lot of philosophical-theological debates and disagreements were also around the question how God’s Word became flesh.

Writing on + Cross

Top:  OTARDALY – OTARDALI – a verb from TRD (hard, strong), which is often used in Slovenian religious terminology for ‘strengthen’.

OTAR DALY – O(L)TAR DALI  (place on the altar) – a person with two outstretched hands (an allusion for preaching). Preaching the Word of God means strengthening one’s character. Also, the Holy Words (the Bible) is placed on the altar.

These two Slovenian words in a way compliment each other. In the medieval times, the critics of the Church were mostly preachers who sacrificed their own happiness for the sake of the Truth (God), following the example of Jesus who sacrificed his life. The prophets place themselves on the altar (as sacrificial lambs), and the Church often ‘place them on the altar’ as saints to strengthen the faith.

Bottom: OSVARAIR DLY – the words SVAR and OSVAR are very frequently used in the VM. They stand for the imperative singular verb SVARITI – to warn, to give warning, as well as ‘to scold’, ‘to criticize’.  While the verb “svariti” was often used in a peasant speech, the noun was uncommon. We can imagine that the author of the VM, coming from a different linguistic background, formed the noun from the verb by dropping the ending -ty/dy and replaced it with -air.  The word DLY could stand for D(E)L(A)J (make), if we consider that in phonetic speech, the semivowel was pronounced (but not written; the vowels were inserted later).

The root word here is SVAR (give warning). It sounds similar as STVAR (to make, to create).  The similarity of the expressions is also complimentary, meaning: a prophet (genuine artist) is giving the warning about what is wrong in society and at the same time, he is creating alternatives for improvement. He is warning and creating at the same time. ‘O’ is Slovenian prefix, indicating finished action.

The artists, who only criticize, are basically just healing their own anxiety. This idea was beautifully expressed by Slovenian writer Ivan Cankar, when he said that ‘heavenly Creator makes a casket and a cradle at the same time’.

A priest, or a preacher is imitating Christ by criticizing people’s bad habits and warning them about the consequences, while at the same time proposing a better way to create better life for the individuals and for the society (communion of people).

The Writing on the X Cross

Top left: ARKALDY – This word is pointing at the man with outstretched arms. Depending where we break the word, we can get two different words, which could be remotely associated.

ARKAL + DY – AREKAL DAJ – govori, prerokuj – (you) give a prophesy! This form seems associated with the word REČI (govoriti), which originates from the Latin/Italian spelled word REC for Slavic REČ.  In Slovenian language, two grammatical forms evolved from this root: REČI which means ‘to say’, ‘(you) say!’, or ‘words’, ‘things’.  The remnant of REC can be found in Slovenian words REKOČ (while saying), OBREKATI (gossip, saying about), PREREKATI (argue), NAREK (dictation). If we drop the letter B (as it was often the case with the prefix OB-) and replace K with C (as in Latin spelling), we get the word OREKATI. The grammatical form for the 3rd person (singular, masculine, past tense) would be spelled ORECAL. The linguistic trail could go as far back as Greek ORACLES, where “oracle” is a prophetic saying as well as a temple.

ARKA LDY – (B)ARKA LDI – boat + people – this could be the word used for the part of the church. In Slovenian language, the large part of a church is called “barka” (now: ladja) which was separated from the altar with a low decorative gate. This place in the church was reserved for ordinary people, while only the priest and his assistant were allowed near the altar.

ARK in the Bible was a ship, built by Noah, to save his family and animals from the flood. In the bible we read that the Noah’s ark landed on Mount Ararat in Armenia.  The search for the physical boat on Mount Ararat is still going on by those who take biblical writing literally. 

Ark of Covenant is a reference to the Hebrew chest of stone tablets with the Ten Commandments. It is much more likely that this ‘ark’ landed on Mount Ararat.

I would also like to explain the work ‘arka’. At the first glance, the word reminds me of Slovenian swear words ARKADIO, ARKAMADONA and AKRADUŠ. The Venetologists are explaining the word ARKA as a magic word of the ancient Veneti. Since DIO means God in Latin, it could be assumed that the word ARKA means swearing to God.  This meaning is clearly understood from the last swearword, where ARKA is combined with the Slovenian word DUŠ (soul). Unlike English, who swear on the Bible, Slovenians were known to swear on their soul.

The word arka originates from Greek god Arcas, the son of Zeus and Callisto. He was a hunter who became king of Arcadia.  He taught people weaving and baking bread. Callisto was associated with goddess Artemis. Arcadia in Greek mythology was the home of god Pan (depicted as half goat, half man).  In European Renaissance art, Arcadia was celebrated as an ideal land, like heaven. In Slovenian literature, Simon Gregorčič wrote a poem Veseli Pastir (Happy Shepherd) expressing the happy, worry-free life of a shepherd on the mountain, comparing him to more enlightened people in the valley who were faced with constant wars, and with worries and burdens of conscience as well, if they did not conform to the Church’s rules.

Since it is highly unlikely that the flood would carry a boat adrift to an elevation of  3,896 m (12,782 ft), it could be presumed that the biblical story was told in the figurative language, which means that “new wisdom”, such as the one in the Ark of Covenant, was brought with the peace-loving people who fled from the general degradation of the materialistic and immoral culture, which was creating slavery, wars, and moral degradation.

Considering all these alternative meanings, I am quite convinced the correct translation would be preach!, prophesize!

Top right: ORALARAR – assuming ORA means pray or preach (Latin: orator – speaker, preacher), oralarar could be a Slovenicized word for a prayerbook, pulpit, or some other word related to preaching. According to Texas University Language site, RAR was Illyrian word for heaven. In Slovenian, it evolved to RAJ. There is also a possibility that ORALAR is a combined word, comprised of Latin ORA + LAR. The word LAR is explained in 1592 dictionary as ‘house god’, ‘idol’.

Bottom left: OLKCHDAL – OLKČDAL – from the root LEK (healing remedy) – verb LEČITI – LEK DATI – healing give, heal. It is possible that the strange spelling could be a result of authors attempt to relate to the etymology of this word.

The spelling is somewhat strange since more familiar word would be OLEKAL or OLEČIL. However, a foreign writer could easily spell it as OLKCHDAL, since the grammar rules were not established yet and no marks for the pronunciation were used.  The possibility that this long word could also be a combination of short word further complicates the proper translation.

This VM expression, related to a man with outstretched arm, could be compared to a final Catholic blessing ‘Peace be with you’. The olive branch was an ancient symbol of peace and the expression ‘giving olive branch’ is still used in Christian terminology.

This label is located next the person with one outstretched hand, an allusion for blessing.  The original meaning of blessing was ‘to say good things about’, but eventually became to mean “making holy”, “bestowal of divine favour”, which in essence is healing.

We need to understand that the ancient writers were aware of the healing power of words, particularly prayers, which offer people hope and reinforce their believes and expectations. For this reason, various magical remedies were usually administered with magical words. The Christian sacrament of Communion replaced pagan magical healing remedies and incantations with specific words and substances that have transformative and healing power. Even the prayer before the communion is focused on the “healing of a soul” and “protection from anxiety”.

OL K CH DAL (OL K Č DAL – oil that if I would give) is the phrase obtained by different division of the above VM word. It could be related to the anointing with the Holy Oil. It might have origin in ancient common meaning related to olives.  The Olive branch was offered as a sign of peace and respect in the ancient civilizations. The olive branch is still a symbol of peace.

The olive oil was also recognized as a healing remedy in the ancient times.  Infused with various herbs, it became used in religions for anointing kings and prophets. The holy chrism was made of olive oil and up to 70 different plants. The olive oil also became the base for making various herbal remedies. In Slovenia, people still make their natural remedies at home by infusing healing herbs in olive oil. The symbolic meaning of the Olive branch in religion was beautifully described in the poem Oljki (To the Olive Tree) by Slovenian poet Simon Gregorčič.

DAL – is a form of the word DATI (give) which eventually evolved in a suffix -DAL for the words that could be associated with giving, such as POGLED-DAL – POGLEDAL – (he) looked.

Bottom right: OKALI – OKALITI means ‘splitting the seed and sprouting a plant’, making plant grow. KALINA in Prekmurje dialect means plant. Many Slovenian words also had symbolic meaning, so that the “preacher” could also be regarded as the one who magically enables the words to grow. Since the word is pointing to the host, this could be understood as invisible mystical initiation, like germination of the seed that is invisible and incomprehensible for a simple mind. The seed produces plants, and they produce the multitude of seeds.  This analogy is quite suitable for Communion, for which Slovenians have unique word OBHAJILO. 

According to the Slovenian Etymological Dictionary, the word OBHAJILO originates from the word ‘visiting’, ‘walking around’. The expression ‘Misel me obhaja’ is used as an example. The connection to communion is made via Latin ‘celebrare’ (visiting) and Slovenian ‘praznovati’ (often visiting).

I believe the word ‘hajati’, which I was not able to find in the Slovenian Etymological Dictionary, would make much better etymology for OBHAJILO. The word ‘hajati’ is not only an old Slovenian word, still in use, but also the word used in the Bible to express growth, expansion. In Slovenian, the word was used mostly for the ‘rising of bread’, ‘the expansion of bread dough’.

It is true that the word SHAJATI also means ‘getting together’, which could also be related to the early Christian community getting together and expanding.

The words KALITI (to germinate, to grow) and HAJATI were taken from the natural, agricultural world to be applied to abstract ideas.

Bottom left: OSVČOR OKEAR –OSVČOR seems to be related to something holy, such as a person who performs holy incantation, or distributes the communion bread or wine.  If the word was not followed by OKEAR, I would be tempted to say it means ‘a person doing blessing’, SVEČENIK or SVEČAR in Slovenian, but the word OKEAR sounds like ODKER, which in dialect means ‘uncover’. It was a customary in the religious ritual that the chalice was covered so that the ‘mystical transformation’ was hidden under the vail. In the Orthodox religion, such veil was called AIR, because it was made from very light material, most likely silk. The word OSVEČAR is related to SVETITI which means ‘to bless’, but also ‘to enlighten’. In Slovenian language, it evolved to POSVETITI, POSVEČATI.

Concentrical Circles

The central composition is encircled with perfectly rounded concentrical circles which form four bands of writing.

The first concentrical circle contains individual glyphs, mostly used as letters in the VM text. Among them are also some that were not used in the VM.  Some also form meaningful words.

The First Circle (from the inside)

It is not clear whether the author intended to write coherent text with separate letters, or individual letters and ligatures. Towards the end of the circular writing, there are some words that could be meaningfully translated into Slovenian language. Even the individual glyphs could be divided into Slovenian words.

I am having some difficulty with some glyphs, such as the one I identified as q, hv; it looks like VM glyph V, topped with Latin T. Slovenian language does not have letters Q and X; instead KV, HV and TV are used (to a foreigner, they would all sound like Q). In some 16th century writing, the letter Q was still occasionally used. The letter X was used in some medieval writing as H.

* This could be an experimental word, a shortcut for Creator. In Slovenian 16th century writing, I had seen a few of the letters that look like the first part of this glyph. They stood for CH (Č).

Assuming that the first letter is Č, we get the word ČDLO, if we put the ligature apart. By adding R on the left and AR on the right side, we get the word that reads RČDLOAR, which could be a word a foreigner might create for the ‘one who makes words’ – a writer, a preacher.

The first band of writing could be understood as an illustration how symbols became letter, and letters the words that were spreading outward, as illustrated with the concentrical circles. The second circle is already comprised of words. The glyphs are also suggestive of the author’s various attempts to combine simple letters.

The Second Circle

The second circle is comprised of complete words. In the table below, I have copied the VM words (the left column), followed by transliteration into medieval Latin letters (as they were written and as they sounded), the evolution of those words and translation into Slovenian language, and in the third column, I copied partial etymology from the Slovenian Etymology Dictionary. The words might not match exactly, because they change with the grammatical form. I added my remarks to explain this.

The third band of writing

The third circle is again comprised of individual letters, as if the author wanted to emphasize that the nation already had its writing system that was no longer in use and had to learn it again. At the same time, it reflects the author’s intention to collect the symbols (letters) that could be used for the unique Slovenian language (and invent some new one for this purpose). It seems he was experimenting with connecting them in the cursive writing and forming ligatures for certain sounds taken from the OCS Glagolitic alphabet.

The most peculiar among the letters are four glyphs that look like ligature and are spread evenly (in the first circle, there is only one sign, like these, but not equal).

I would not speculate what these glyphs represent. The first glyph looks like the Glagolitic Č, which is connected to VM letter D, but the last letter is unclear; it might be o or reversed VM glyph Y.

On the outside circle, there is one more band of writing with a similar theme, focused on spiritual things.


The Bogomils that left their mark in Slovenian liturgy were interpreting the biblical writing and religious rituals as symbolic. To explain this to the simple-minded Slovenian people, they used the analogies from nature.

Because these words are so closely related to the lives of ordinary, peasant people, they were suitable for analogies for the abstract, spiritual things. For the primitive people, words were the greatest gift of God, so much so that St. John started his episle with, ‘At the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. Many medieval theologians and philosophers meditated on these words, which were particularly meaningful for those who believed that the Son of God was the Divine Logos. Most of the genuine prophets and mystics came to this understanding. A mystical prophet has to suffer inner division (individual search for what is right and what is wrong), and die to his old self (experience spiritual transformation by abandoning wrong teaching or wrong understanding, and embrace a universal and eternal Truth. He had ‘sprouted’ out of the faith community, becomes critical of that same community, and proposes improvement, and eventually becomes ‘seeds’ for the new spiritual growth.

This analogy can explain the majority of the VM plant/floral imagery.

The signs representing letters are not just imaginary glyphs; most of them are letters from different alphabets (see my post of Voynich grammar). This is indicative of carefully laid down plan to devise a written form of a language.  If strange pictures in the biological pages give the impression the author was a mystic, this page is suggestive of the author being a scholar and educator. This, too, led me to believe that the author might be Nicholas Kempf, who spent years teaching at Vienna University before entering the monastery. As a prior, he served in two Carthusian houses in Slovenian speaking region. He was a strong proponent for the use of vernacular language in liturgy. As a prior, he had to learn Slovenian language to be able to teach lay brothers how to read and understand the Bible.  From Kempf’s writing, it is clear he understood the Biblical writing as symbolic esoteric writing, which means that the stories could not always be interpreted literally and that they needed to be studied carefully in order to arrive at the meaning. In Slovenian, KARATI (to scold, to criticize) and SVARITI (to warn, to give warning) seem to be synonymous, yet there is a fine distinction: KARATI pertains to accusations of one’s mistakes, bad habit, while SVARITI pertains to approaching danger or to harmful consequences of one’s actions.

It is clear the author of the VM, like Nicholas Kempf, understood the ideas behind the Christian sacrament of Communion, and the incarnation of Christ in his followers, particularly in genuine mystical prophets who speak on His behalf.  




English Articles


In 2016, when I first discovered the internet site about the VM, I was impressed by the strange looking flowers and my first impression was that the text represents poems or short legends. Some looked familiar, like the twin-bells, hemp, pansy, but the pictures with strange roots definitelly do not belong in the plant world.

The VM researchers at the time worked on the assumption that the first word of the text is the name of the plant, and the rest of the text a description of the plant, including its healing property.

As soon as I recognized that the EVA transcription alphabet generated some simple words in Slovenian language, I examined a book Icones Plantarum Rariorum, edied by Nicolao Josepho Jacquin, printed in Vienna (Vindbonae, 1781) hoping I would find some likeness of the flowers and the Latin names for them. Neither in this book, nor in the book about the plants in Carniola did I find any clues as to the name of the plants.

I began concentrating on the possibility that the text contains the description of the plant, but I could not find consistent use of certain words that could indicate the description, such as roots, leaves, stem.

I abandoned searching for clues in the plant section, although I felt strongly that the flowers might in some way be related to the heavy use of floral imagery in Slovenian literature.

Flowers in European Medieval Literature

The floral symbolism was widely used in the medieval art, however the VM researchers were mostly focused on identifying the flowers and plants and only recently, the focused has also shifted on the religious mystical interpretation of some VM images.

Coming from the culture where floral images were widely used in poetry and prose, my first intuition was that the text next to the flower in the VM pictures represented poems. I was also aware that some medieval Carinthian and Bavarian poets, dedicating their poems to Lady, were using a symbol of red rose for their emblems.

I came to better understanding of floral symbolism, after I came across an interesting You Tube video in which the author suggested that the VM was written in ‘Gentle language of flowers’. He admitted he had no clue what he was talking about, except that he found the phrase ‘gentile language of flowers’ in the mid-18th century book of Gabriel Rosetti, and that the language seems to be connected to flowers. The following quotation was offered:

»In the Hundred Tales of the Gentle Language, written for those of noble heart and subtle intellect, in which language flowers are mixed with other words (preface of the author), we read as follows: »Prester John once sent the Emperor Frederic II. who was very fond of gentle language, a present of three very valuable stones; but that monarch had no how to make use of them. Prester John’s lapidary addressed Frederic one day as follows: Sire, this stone (the first) is worth your best city; this one (the second) is worth your finest province, and this last  is worth more than your whole empire.’  Thus saying, he took hold of the three stones; and the virtue of the last concealed him from the view of the emperor and the people. So the lapidary vanished from their sigh, and carried back the stones to Prester John, because Frederic II. did not know how to make a proper use of them.« (p169)

This legend was allegedly written by John of Florence in 1378, during the reign of Charles IV, Emperor of the Romans. The first half of his book contains novels, and the second part contains details of the wars between the Guelphs and Ghibellines and the dissensions between the Emperors and the Popes.

Since I have quite a bit of knowledge about European languages and history, some statements were quite familiar to me, so I decided to check out the Rossetti’s book. I was not able to find any information about the Hundred Tales of the Gentle Language, however the ‘language in which flowers are mixed with other words’ sounds like Slavic, therefore also Slovenian. To word CVET sounds like SVET, which also means ‘world, advice, warning, shine, light’.

In the VM, two tall glyphs are used interchangable in the above words and in different words derived from them, as well as for different grammatical forms.

Rossetti also suggested this language was used in sectarian writing aimed at hiding ideas that could be offensive to the Church. This is also pointing at Slavic language, since the Slavs were the originators of the Bogomilism and supplied the Slavic translation of the Books to Patereni and Cathars and other rebelious sects throughout Europe, where they were translated into their vernacular languages. Since Emperor Charles IV ordered the sons of the Prince Palatine to learn Slovenian, it could be assumed that there were intellectuals able to translate the material from the Old Church Slavonic to vernacular languages, particularly Ochitan.

The legend about Frederick II, referrs to the Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperor in the first half of the 13th century, who was also King of Italy and King of Jerusalem. He was the Son of Henry VI and Constance, heiress of the Norman kings of Sicily.

Dante was contemporary of Frederick II and was excited for Frederick II to ‘liberate’ Italy.

The statement that Emperor Frederic was fond of Gentle language suggests that he was fond of a particular Slavic language, spoken in Carinthia and Carnilola. If he was not that fond of the language, he was sure fond of the Slovenian lands in Carinthia. The Slovenian language was used in the installation of Carinthian dukes up to the mid-1440s.

The legendary Prester John, frequently encountered in the medieval writing and illustrations, is described as a native of Tartary, or Cathari, ‘a countryman of that Angelica, the daughter of the king of the Cathari’ who had a stone with which she could vanish’ when she puts it in her mouth. The Cathari are said to come from Greece to Italy and were first discovered in Milano in the 11th century. They were called Albigenses, Patarini, Paulicians, and Puritans.  Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and hundred more were said to belong to this movent.

It is also explained that this miraculous stone is the Word of God, and the stone is Christ. It is also mentioned that the ancient word of God is preserved among some people of eastern Tartary. From this clue, we can assume that the ancient word for God was Bog (Slovenian and Slavic for God).

Rossetti explains how the mystical poets, inspired by the Bible, came to fuller understanding of the Biblical style of writing and can transform it by way of symbolic language in such a way that it seemed like they were praising the Church while they were criticizing it. 

Rossetti attributes this language to Tartarians, that is, to Cathars, Paterens, Albigensian, and other sectarians originating from these religious movements. Surprisingly, the Bogomils, who are the originators, are not mentioned. It is possible that Rossetti was unaware of that, or perhaps, he was associating Bogomils with Tartarians. The Tartary sounds like ‘tastari’ which in Slavic would be ‘the old ones’, ‘the ancients’. The Bogomils originate from the St. Methodius’ Moravian Church, later known as Old Church Slavonic, since it appeared in the same region of Macedonia (at the time under Bulgaria) where the expelled Methodius’ students had established the cultural and religious centre. They could be an off shoot of the Methodius’ church who later refused to accept Latin liturgy, and Latin priests.

Although the history is vague about the Bogomils in the former Yugoslavia, it is a documented fact that a branch of Bogomil Church existed for four hundred years in Bosnia, against which several crusades were directed. They were known as Bosnian krstjani and represented an independent Bosnian Church, separated from Rome. Many Cathar from France and Germany found refuge there.

The Bogomils were iconoclasts, and their bibles were decorated with geometrical patterns and flowers, rather than religious pictures. They regarded biblical stories as symbolic, rather than literal.

Being persecuted by both the Roman and Orthodox Churches, they were most critical of the Church’s materialistic tendencies and its feudal system that made lower cleargy exploited as serfs.

Some of their critical and gnostic ideas were promoted also by great humanistic minds of that time, particularly artists.

It is not clear which sect Dante belonged to, but his attitude towards the Slavs can be assumed from his affection towards Frederic II and Charles IV. According to some sources, the patriarch Pagano della Torre hosted the poet Dante Alighieri in Tolmin and showed him the near-by Zadlaz cave, where he found the inspiration for the Hell in his poem Divine Comedy. The cave was later renamed to Dante’s cave.

Rosetti also mentions that Dante allegorically regarded himself three white flowers, and not just three, but three times three. This might also be an explanation of Dante’s idea being multiplied exponentially.

Such exponential growth of ideas seems to be expressed in the VM picture. There is an interesting legend that could explain this picture, but I cannot get ahead of myself, and I will live this for some future post.

The image of this picture made a strange impression on me: it could have been the illustration of one of the Slovenian legends circulating in the vicinity of Pleterje Charterhouse and deals with the magical power of the fern seeds on St. John’s the Baptist day (follow my blog for the rest of the legend!).

When Dante referred to nature as ‘God’s garden’, he talks of spiritual Garden – “… that beautiful garden Blossoming beneath the rays of Christ”. For Dante, the rose was the centre of his religion and faith, the symbol taken from the Songs of Solomon. He used symbolism of flowers for their symbolic colors, for their emblematical significance, and for their association with the saints or with pagan mythology.

The Songs of Solomon were widely read in the Middle Ages, as the poets and mystics tried to understand the nature of divine inspiration. Since the ancient writers lived close to nature, they had taken the words from the nature and applied them to spiritual things.

The divine inspiration does not come out of nothing; it comes from the subconscious memory where all the ideas from one’s past experiences, the books, history, oral stories, are stored. The artistic inspiration – in many religions called God – applies them to the time and place and rearranges them into a new artistic vision or works of art.

For this reason, the genuine prophet often compares himself to a flower, that was planted by others (by way of family values, books he read, religious and social conditioning, arts, and science he was exposed…). These ideas grow in him as he matures, and blossom into poetry or whatever form of art he pursues, and eventually his work become a seed for other artists.

There is no doubt that the flowers in the VM have strong symbolic meaning and that the author was influenced by great poets before him, and in turn, influenced great poets after him.

Nicholas Kempf would have the access to classical works of art, since the Žiče Charterhouse, one of the four Slovenian Carthusian monasteries that formed the brotherhood had the second largest library at the time. It is also known that he was meditating of the Songs of Solomon, since he wrote a commentary on them. His poems are symbolic to a degree that it is often hard to tell when ROŽA is a flower or a poem, or when LECHILO is medicine or his consoling words. But he does not describe the illustrations to decode their language. For one thing, the artist normally doesn’t do that, because they want to keep the secret veiled to make it understood only to like-minded people who will continue using the symbolism for similar situations. For Example: for the prophet Daniel, the Babylon was the beast, for Christians, the beast of Revelation was Rome. Only those who knew the Old Testament would understand that.

Knowing what happen to the works of other artists who openly criticized the Church and State, the author probably wanted to preserve his work by hiding his most radical ideas into pictures, while the text is rather simple, aimed at people for whom the alphabet was just developed so that they could learn to read and write in their own national language (Glagolitic priests were using Croatian OCS language).

Flowers in Slovenian Literature

Although the Slavic language was recognized as the fourth Sacred language, its use in literature did not start before the Protestantism, and even then, only for religious songs. While the Slavic Bogomilism raised the importance of vernacular language, and for this purpose the schools where people could learn to read and write, were established, the movement itself and its schools were suppressed. Historians are vague about what happened to the ancient Slovenian families in Carinthia and Carniola, where peasant population was mostly Slovenian, and the ruling nobility was mostly German.

The monks, who were the first teachers of literacy, were mostly foreign, and although there were some poets among them, they did not write in Slovenian. If there were any poets and other nobles of Slovenian descent, they would be regarded German because to get their message across, they had to write in German.

Even the powerful Slovenian dynasty of the Count’s of Celje spoke German. The reason for the Germanization of the upper classes were the intermarriages among the ruling dynasties.

Except for a few pages of the Freising Manuscript (10th century), and Stična Codex (15th century) there is no written record of Slovenian language before 1550. Protestantism raised national awareness for Slovenians. By then, the Slovenian speaking territory has been greatly reduced. Like the Slavic Church of St. Methodius in the 9th century, Protestants felt their religion could help preserve Slovenian language and national identity. The first books in Slovenian were written and printed, however before long, they were collected and burned by the Counter-Reformation, except for the Slovenian translation of the Bible which had been used by the Catholics. Some copies were hidden in the Vatican archives.

Some poems and legends were preserved in oral form and written down in the 19th and 20th century. They seem to be written in the two layers where on the surface, the poems are religious or make-believe legends, but they reveal some secret historical, theological, or philosophical truth that only certain people who were familiar with classical literature were able to understand.

The geographical separation of Slovenians among the Kingdoms of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, and Italy caused the formation of strong dialects that could account for the Slovenian language of the VM being so different from the old Slovenian manuscript of the 10th century, and the Protestant writing in the 16th century. Although Trubar comes from the Carniolian region, he was influenced by German language, since he studied at Tubingen.

Source: Wikipedia

At the time the VM was written, Slovenian religious and secular rulers were shifting their alliance between the popes in Rome and popes in Avignon. During that time, Žiče Charterhouse served as the Motherhouse of Carthusians.

The Voynich Manuscript is written in the language as it was spoken in Slovenia in the 15th century. I suppose the peasant language did not change drastically, but the written language has undergone several standardizations in effort to develop the written language that all Slovenians, regardless in which kingdom they lived, could understand. I suppose this was the intention of the Carthusians of the 15th century, particularly the author(s) of the Voynich Manuscript.

Although it seems the VM was written by a monk, it lacks the recognizable Catholic and Christian language. Most of the religious terminology is original Slavic.

Connection to Alchemy

The VM is very spiritual, yet more universal. The imagery is taken from the nature. The images taken from the Bible are transformed back to the natural images. The author is lamenting over the past, but he is more peaceful, more hopeful, and joyful. There are no scenes of violence in the VM illustrations, and no images of God’s punishment.  This indicated that the author, although focused on spiritual purity, was not fearful of God, but rather grateful for God’s generosity in providing healing plants and healing words to help people on their earthly journey. He feels he is part of this divine provision, by being alchemist and a poet.

From his writing and illustrations, it is obvious the author had higher illumination, or mystical experience, which revealed to him higher knowledge (gnosis) and the power of words that could transform the world, if the plan is kept secret and gradually revealed according to people’s preparedness. Like most mystics, he felt compelled to keep the SECRET, while at the same time transcend it by way of metaphoric language for which he mostly used FLOWERS. Slovenian language was perfectly suited for this because of the similarity of the words SVET (world), SVET (holy), SVETL (bright, illuminated) and CVET (flower blossom), CVETJE (flowers) and (R)OZE (flowers).

The Rosicrucian movement that came out of hiding in Europe in the early 17th century has inspired many artists to resort to the secret esoteric language, particularly in the Catholic countries where any criticism of the Church or any new ideas were supressed.

The history of the Rosicrucians is vailed in mystery. According to their manifesto, the information about the founder had been hidden for 120 years to protect the brotherhood of four fraters who were engaged in alchemy, pledged to remain celibate, heal people, and share their wisdom and knowledge free of charge for the betterment of humanity. The legend about their founder states he was a Cathari orphan from Rhineland, saved by Carthusian monks. After acquiring the Arabic wisdom, he remained the leader of the Rosicrucian brotherhood until he died at the age over 100 years. According to the legend, each Rosicrucian had to find a replacement for himself.

The work that seems like a description of a mystical experience, contains a date 1454 twice, and a signature Fr. C. R. The book was published in Strasburg anonymously, but Andreas Valentinus later claimed the authorship.

The word Rosenkreuz is German and means ‘flowery cross’.  The Rosicrucian movement in the 17th century adopted cross with red rose as its symbol.

Rosicrucian Ideas in Slovenian Literature

The science and alchemy made great advances as Emperor Rudolph (1552-1612) was great supporter of arts. Unfortunately, the English mystics John Dee and Edward Kelly brought their superstition and occult practices to Prague. Calling on the spirits of dead people was foreign to the Slavs; they were afraid if they did appear in their altered states of mind.  Slovenian poet Aškerc explained that the spiritual manifestations are produced by guilty conscience. 

I suppose at some point in the 18th century, Slovenian artist discovered the uniqueness of the Slovenian language and culture, and began building a carefully-laid plan to liberate Slovenians from the foreign powers and re-established their own state which had been lost, when Carinthia, the cradle of Slovenian culture, has become Austrian German State, while Pannonian Slovenians had lost their independence under the Hungarian rulers, and a large part of Slovenians was living under Italy rulers.

The short-lived French occupation and creation of the Illyrian Provinces, with Ljubljana as their capitol, had triggered the national awareness and a way to use genuine Christianity to achieve their liberation.

Valentin Vodnik (1758-1819) was first to recognize the unique position of Slovenia between the Greek Latin and Germanic world.  France Prešeren (1800 – 1849) was for Slovenians what Dante was for Italians. His references to the Bogomils and Cathars are more than obvious, yet Slovenian literary critics never made that connection. He refers to Slovenia as a ‘twin country of Jerusalem’ and compares the suffering of Slovenians and the loss of their independence to that of ancient Jews. He is proposing a similar solution that the medieval Bogomils were proposing: to embrace religion that teaches that a true God is God of Love, not the God of Revange and Punishment which was very skillfully used by the medieval Church for controlling people. Like Jewish Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel in the 20th century, Prešeren regarded his prophetic writing as divine calling, as self-chosen priesthood and witnessing for the God who loves all people on earth. He is pointing at the Old Church Slavonic/Bogomil religion by the names of the heroes Staroslav (Old Slav) and Bogomila (Favoured by God, Bogomil woman).
Although there was no known Rosicrucian or Freemason movement is Slovenia, nor other secret Societies, Slovenians who studied at Vienna or Prague, could easily have been acquainted with them, but they recognized how they were corrupted from the original humanistic alchemist’s ideas. 
The influences of Bogomils, Patareni, Cathars, Rosicrucians can be clearly noticed in the works of Gregorčič, Prešeren, Trdina and others. Simon Gregorčič, influenced by Prešeren and Petrarch, made clear references to Rosicrucian by claiming in one of his poems that his Catholic critics had stolen his God made of flowers (flowers being a code-word for poetry). He also used many words that can be found in the VM, such as LEK, LEČILNE TRAVE, ZOR.

Being a writer and a poet, I instantly recognized the symbolic meaning of flowers in the VM, because flowers were often used in Slovenian poetry. Slomšek wrote about the powerful aroma of violets which grow in hiding (as a symbol of advanced Slovenian spirituality), unnoticed by the powerful neighbours. Gregorčič wrote a poem about olive tree and its symbolic meaning of peace. Župančič wrote a collection of poems, titled Zimzelen pod snegom (The Evergreen Under the Snow), alluding to the importance of Slovenian literature, which had a late start, but has a power to withstand the worldly temptation of money and glory, and remain faithful to the role the genuine prophets of all times, places and religions has played in effort to guide humanity towards common ethical and moral norms.  In his novel Bela krizantema (White Chrysanthemum), Ivan Cankar wrote about the importance of Slovenian culture, art, and literature. 

Irma Ozbalt, recognized Slovenian Canadian author, published a book titled MATERINA DUŠICA (Mother’s Soul – the name of the plant – origano) about the spiritual imagery of some of Slovenia healing plants. At the time of Cold War in America and Canada, Canadian Slovenian painter Andy Stritof used the flower imagery to illustrate how world was divided. In Picasso’s style, he painted a flower that looks like the “universal mother” with two large breasts, like two spheres that at the same time look like a nuclear bombs.

Andy Stritof: Metamorphosis, 1960

These are just a few examples of the use of flowers in Slovenian poetic imagery, not to mention the use of flowers in the traditional Slovenian songs.

I didn’t think much of my own poems, inspired by various flowers. In a short poem about primarosas, I speak about the childhood joy of playing music with the tiny yellow primarosa trumpets. In Slovenian, the plant was called trobentice (little trumpets). In my poem, I pointed out that although the blossoms looked the same, each had a different sound, alluding to common objective and purpose of art. In my poem Snowdrops, I explorfed the magic of this early spring flower, making its way through a sheet of snow or ice towards the sunlight, just like genuine artist can overcome his or her obstacles in his search for the Truth.

My poem Sunflower was even more metaphysical. I mentioned its large flowerhead and its characteristic property of daily turning its head towards sun, and the fact that it can provide the shade to other flowers growing underneath. The interpretation came to me much later, when I realized that many great artists, particularly painters, were meditating on Sunflower.

In one of my poems, I refer to Slovenian literature and poetry as buquet of flowers, before I learned that in the 19th century the almanach of Slovenian literature was called CVETNIK.

CVETNIK was also a folk-legend Janez Trdina had heard in the Gorjanci region of Slovenia, along with many other legends he collected and published in his book Bajke in povesti o Gorjancih (Legends and Stories About Gorjanci Mountains).

The Legend Cvetnik

On the Gorjanci mountain, there was a beautiful garden hidden in a deep forest, encircled with big boulders. Whoever found himself in this garden is so taken in by its beauty and by the fragrance of flowers, that he forgets to eat and drink, to sleep and to return; despite a prolonged awakening and lack of food, he feels no pain. Blessed is he who by luck or coincidence gets a blossom of these beautiful flowers, for he no longer feels any anger and sadness, and he could not be defeated by any enemy, neither could he be killed by any bullet. (Excerpt from the legend)

This is highly suggestive of Christian mysticism and Gnosticism, something the Rosicrucians were advocating, such as peaceful invisible esoteric work for the spiritual conversion through religious art and through the eternal Word.

According to the legend, Vlah Ilija (Elijah the Vlach) retired to Gorjanci Mountain to live as a hermit in a place that was overgrown by thorny bushes and weeds. The shack he had built, was just big enough for him and his goat. His only provisions were goat’s milk, plants, and roots, and fresh spring water. He was content with his solitary life. Three times a year, he was visited by his son who brought him a bottle of vine from Vivodina.

Elijah’s goat is undoubtedly the reference to prince Kozel (Kozel means male goat in English) who is credited to promote Slavic Christianity by receiving St. Methodius, when he was persecuted by the German bishops for using Slavic language in liturgy.

The legend is suggesting that because of the refuge the Pannonian Slovenians were given to Slavic missionaries God rewarded them with secret wisdom (in a legend, the over-grown shack turned into a chapel and weeds into beautiful garden).

This legend was being passed down without any attempt to interpret it. However, it served as an esoteric vehicle used by many Slovenian artists who used flowers to hide the secret message in their creative writing. Prešeren’s Sonetni venec (The Wreath of Sonets) is full of biblical imagery and comparison of Slovenians to Jews. Slovenian poetic imagination was filled with the magic Slovenian language contains, like the magical words buh and buk (the book and God), or the words svet and cvet (holy and flower).

With his legend Cvetnik, Trdina transmitted some gnostic ideas which would not be otherwise acceptable for publishing in the Catholic controlled society. He lost his teaching job because of his progressive ideas.

Trdina collected his legends in the valley at the foothills of the Gorjanci Mountains, where the Carthusian monastery Pleterje was located. It is the only Carthusian monastery still active in Slovenia.

It is obvious that the garden is not a physical place, but a region with high mystical spirituality. Slovenians are a nation of poets and writers; their independence was accomplished in 1991 with pen, not with guns, as they say.

Trdina’s legend Cvetnik could have been originally composed by some anonyms Carthusian monk from the nearby Pleterje Carthusian monastery, where Nicholas Kempf was prior in 1460 and where he most likely wrote his book on Mystical theology. It is possible that he withdrew to the top of the mountain and lived there as a hermit during his spiritual torments. The Pleterje Carthusians were taking care of the Church of St. Gertrude, known in Slovenian as Sveta Jera. The church of St. Jera was first mentioned in 1447 when Frideric II. of Celje and His son Ulric II awarded the stewardship of the Church to the Carthusian monastery of Pleterje.

Whatever the case, a new church dedicated to St. Nicholas was built on top of Gorjanci mountain before before the 1526, when it was first mentioned. It is possible that the Church was built to preserve the memory of Nicholas Kempf who became the forgotten ‘saint’, because he dared to criticize the Church of his time.

Thinking about these three churches reminds me of Fr. C.R. in the Alchemical Wedding who was going on the mountain where three churches on the top were standing.

I was not able to determine when the church of St. Ilija (Eliyah) was built next to St. Gertrude. It is believed that the church was built by the Bosnian refugees who had to converted to the Serbian Orthodox religion in Serbian occupied Bosnia. St. Ilija is a patron saint of Bosnia and is specially worshipped by the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Although Trdina stated that he heard the legend from the people at the foothills of Gorjanci mountain, the legend has a mark of Trdina’s great creative mind, and his understanding of art and history. By the time Trdina visited those places and heard the legend, the memory of Nicholas Kempf was probably forgotten. Because of the Protestant ideas embraced by the Carthusians, they were expelled by the Counter-Reformation and their monasteries were taken over by the Jesuits. The only explanation how Trdina could have gotten this legend would be that the Old Believers kept it in circulation as a Catholic tale.

From Trdina’s story we can assume that he was familiar with the Rosicrucian Brotherhood whose ideas by then were not acceptable to him.

Slovenian writers and prophets had a literary plan and they faithfully followed it in their effort to spiritually enlighten Slovenian people, rather then seeking fame and glory by writing in foreign language.

Slovenian literature was a unique flower from the Garden that many powerful nations, such as Germans, Italians, Hungarians, occupied, but they were not able to suppress Slovenian language and the aspiration of Slovenian people to re-gain their freedom.

Flowers in Slovenian Folk Culture

Our distant pre-christian Slovenian ancestors had great regard for flowers. They used them for healing and also in various religious rituals. Not even Christianity was able to extinguish some pagan customs. In his book Praznično leto Slovencev, Nik Kuret explained that many pagan custums were incorporated into religious rituals and practiced in Slovenia up to the 20th century. Some of the  plants were incorporated into a Palm Sunday bunch, consisting of hazelnut branches, ivy, branches of pussy willow. In Corpus Christi processions, the young girls dressed in white were tossing rose pettals. This religious holiday is called Telovo and might be associated with the ancient Venetic godess Telo (telo in Slovenian means »body«). On summer solstice, special flowers, called »kresnice« were placed in fields to ward of hail. The name of the flowers is associated with Slavic god of fire »Kresnik«. There were many other plants that were used in spells in variuous rituals.

Our distant Slovenian ancestors believed both summer and winter solstice had magical power. The summer solstice represented the longest day of the year, which meant the most sunlight. In the abstract spiritual analogy, it represents the highest sence of awareness, a peack creative experience, or the union with the devine (in the language of mystics).

The use of plants for medicinal uses has also been widely practiced in Slovenia.  They were regarded as gifts of God. In the monasteries that began to be established in the region of today’s Slovenia since the beginning of the 2nd millennium AD, the monks practiced herbal healing. They also copied the classical Greek books on healing plants. In Olimlje, Slovenia, the third oldest apothecary was founded by the Paulician monks.

Carthusian Parallel Religion

Carthusians are known for their artistic works. Besides copying books, they were also writing theological and philosophical works, and particularly poetry. Out of humility, they did not sign their work, and if they did, they used pseudonyms.

From some of the medieval poetry that has been preserved in Slovenian language, it can be assumed that they were composed by monks who had different understanding of the biblical writing than the Church was explaining. Such as the poem about Jesus’ birth and Mary’s virginity.  The analogy of sunlight going through glass is used to explain the birth of Jesus. As a spiritual being, Jesus is like a light, and as such, He can incarnate in any human body, or in many human bodies at the same time. Jesus is pure Love, born out of Love.

Besides spiritual work, the Carthusians also engaged in practical matters. They are known for their vineyards, orchards, animal husbandry. They cultivated fields and ran hospitals and public baths and distributed herbal medicine. At the time of my youth, they still shared their grafts for fruit trees, and wisdom with the nearby peasants, and they still distributed herbal remedies free of charge.  The Carthusians of Pleterje were not involved in politics, but they were not shy away to stand up for the Truth when it counted most.

Judging by the words I can read in the VM, and by the illustrations, I believe the author was focusing on the Love of God, rather than on the fear of God, which was characteristic for the Protestant writers, not to mention the Catholics. Perhaps, the author had experienced the fear of God during his mystical experience and realized that the fear of God was manipulative tool of those who wanted to have power over people. It also reflects the influence of the Pauline theology, since St. Paul, more than other biblical writers, placed great emphasis on Love and forgiveness.  

Blessings of Flowers

Besides Palm Sunday’s blessing of the greenery, the blessing of the flowers became part of the Christian tradition at least since 10th century on. For this purpose, special blessings were prescribed to make the healing properties of the plants more potent. The name of the plant being blessed had to be mentioned two times. The ritual included 64th psalm and three longer prayers. The blessed plants were than taken home and stored for the protection against fire, lightning, in the barn to protect farm animals, and for protection against illness and harmful magic spells. They were also used as incense for blessing, particularly for sick children and animals.

In the monastery in Metz, a special blessing form was used in the 15th century for rue (useseful for exorcising the devil), mandrake and other plants. In this way, the litterate people were teaching the peasants in the 14th and 15th century about plants.

Some monasteries were blessing the healing plants every month, since they were not ready to be picked all at the same time.

The prescribed prayer a priest used for blessing the plant, mentiones the name of the plant and the desired affects, such as “to avert evil spirits and spells, and any connection with the satanic works from person’s body from any direction it might come, so that the blessed plants will not possess any evil power, but rather the powers of Jesus, St. Ubald and St. Antony of Padua, whome I implore over this plant, ordering the devils to be shamed and cursed and go into the abis with all their pagan works, so that the holy angels could obide in these flowers.”

For an intellectual priest who believed neither in devils nor in angels (as is evident from the pictures in the VM), and from the works of Nicholas Kempf, it was probably problematic to utter those words.

Yet, the Churches continued with this practice until they were no longer able to control superstition.

Not all Slovenian traditions involving plants were taken over by Christianity. Some pagan rituals kept being practiced just to keep the tradition going, without even understanding the origin, like belief in the magical power of the seeds of the fern on St. John the Baptist Day.


The language of the VM might very well be written in the language of flowers. The manuscript contains strange looking flowers that speak in their own secret language, while at the same time keep us guessing which flower they actually represent. There are no flowers with roots like lions, or with blossoms like chalice, as Koen Gheuhus had pointed out in his blog. He recognized the spiritual significance, but the pictures speak different to him than to me, because we come from different cultures. Being nurtured by the Catholic religion and Slovenian Christian art enables me to understand the secret language of Flowers.

I believe this secret language lingered in Slovenian folk culture until Slovenian literary artists made a conscious decission to write in Slovenian language with a secret plan in mind.

I firmly believe the author of the VM was Nicholas Kempf, a son of a gardener from Strasbourg, a Carthusian monk who wrote his most famous book Mystical Theology at the Pleterhe Charterhouse. He wrote over 30 books, but only a few have survived, and even those are copies, not originals. Others were lost or destroyed. The Voynich Manuscript might be one of his lost books.