Sevko Kadrić was born in Bosnia and Hercegovina. He is a Bosnian – Swedish author who writes in Bosnian and translates from Swedish. He has published around 10 books. Torday, he is living in Sweden for 15 years. Previously, he taught for 12 years at the University of Sarajevo. His scientific specialization involve social conflicts between different groups of people and the environment.
He enjoys nature, and he was for several years alpinist (mountaineers) and instructor, climbed on many European mountain (Mont Blanc, Mount Olympus, Musala, etc.) He has actively started an environmental movement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1990 he was the editor of the first environmental magazine EKO OKO and had its own environment heading in the daily newspaper ”Oslobodjenje”.
Bosnian Patarens or Bogomils are a historical, cultural and sociological phenomenon barely known to the European cultural public.Great connoisseurs of the Bosnian Bogomil phenomenon, fascinated by the cultural track which they left behind them on their tombstones, these scholars give them an epochal place in European and even in world culture and history.
Swedish historian Hans Furuhagen claimed that Bogomils inspired Protestantism in Europe, thinking of Martin Luther and the Reformation of early 16th century which was based on the Bogomil principle of addressing God in one’s own mother tongue. Croatian writer, Miroslav Krleza wrote that “Europe has no other cultural monuments but the Bosnian Bogomils’ tombstones”.
English archaeologist Arthur Evans, who discovered the Minos Palace at Knossos on Crete, with his research work and a book about the tombstones/stecci introduced them and the Bogumils/Patarens to the European public. Professor Dzemal Sokolovic named the Bosnian Bogomils: “The first European Protestants”.
A whole range of artists such as Tin Ujevic, Lazar Drljaca and Mak Dizdar whose art was inspired by the Bogomil creative work can be added to this story.Mak Dizdar used to say for the Bogomils’ tombstones “A Bogomil tombstone is something special for me that is not for others, something that others could neither see on it nor in it. It’s a stone and at the same time it’s not, it is the earth but it is also the sky, it’s a substance but it’s also a ghost, it’s a scream, but it’s also a song, it’s death but also life, it’s past but it’s also future.The biggest contribution to the story about the Bogomils was provided by the Bogomils themselves, as they left a great number of tombstones with epitaphs on them. From the eighth century till today, some 66 478 tombstone monoliths have survived, with the largest number, over 80%, in the area of today’s recognized state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
While conquering the land populated by Bogomils (Patarens) and persecuting them as heretics both the catholic and the orthodox churches destroyed the remnants of their culture and used their solid tombstones as building material for their churches or fortresses.
The unique phenomenon of these Bogomil epitaphs carved into stone is the fact that the messages speaking out of these epitaphs stem from those who are not among the living anymore and who speak on the basis of their own unique experience:
“If only I could have risen from under this tombstone, each new day would be one real life for me”.
Their messages contain everything that makes up the essence of a man: love, fear, joy, sorrow and doubt. The tombstone (stecak) itself is seen as the link, the eyes, between two worlds: “Do not turn this stone over because it is my eyes through which I still watch the stars and Sipara”.
And, as according to a rule, we realize their sorrow for separation from and a wish for reunion with the dear ones: “… in this endless silence I feel a premonition of your presence and indication of your, not God’s, steps. If this is God’s punishment in addition , my foolish heart is looking forward to that punishment.”
This is the first time that English speaking readers are offered a part of the story about the Bogomils’ tombstones and about messages through the epitaphs, a short story about them and a whole range of photographs of the tombstones.For this story about Bogomils I owe my immense gratitude to the track left by Arthur Evans, Miroslav Krleza, Hans Furuhagen, Mak Dizdar, Nenad Tanovic and many others who used to warm themselves by the same Bogomil fire.
… vidim Sumiju, drži me za ruku, ljubi…
O Gospode ako sanjam nedaj mi da se budim
Ako sam budan, nedaj mi da zaspim.
Pusti da u ljubavi vjetčnost nađem.
1395 godine kad je naša kraljica bila Gruba
… I see Sumija holding my hand and kissing me….
O Lord if I am dreaming don’t let me wake up
If I am awaken don’t let me fall asleep.
Let me find love in the eternity.
In 1395 A. D. when Gruba was our Queen
We point out doubt, because we meet it on the tomstones in relation to life and the Lord for the whole 6 centuries before the French Revolution in 1789. The basic driving idea of the French Revolution was doubt itself, as a replacement for the religious principle of faith (excluding doubt in church and God). ”And doubt was born in my soul, that you may be waiting somewhere for salvation from me as I was waiting for salvation from you.”