Letter from Pope St. Nicholas I to the King of Bulgaria


An anticatholic trying to persuade me that the Popes are genocidal tyrants posted my this quote from a letter that Pope Nicholas I allegedly sent to the King of Bulgaria.

“A king need not fear to command massacres, when those will retain his subjects in obedience… We ORDER you, in the name of religion, to invade his states, burn his cities, and MASSACRE his PEOPLE.” – Pope Nicholas I (800? – 867 A.D.; Pope: 858-867) (860 A.D. letter to the King of Bulgaria)

Does anyone know anything about this letter? (if it really exists)

I’m having a hard time finding any references to it at all on the internet; I’m starting to think it might not even be a real letter and just another false quote for anticatholic propaganda.


I don’t have any references but it’s not YOUR job to prove this “letter” wrong. It’s the accuser’s job to prove that it is what he says it is by giving you the reliable source that it came from.

Ask him to give the resource it came from so you may read it in it’s entirety. Then you can comment on it. Chances are it’s something taken out of context and he will not be able to produce the source.


yes, it exists. It was sent to try to pull the Bulgarians out of the influence of Constantinople (the background of other topics in the letter).

I don’t recall if the phrase that you cite is in it, and I don’t have the time right now to puruse it (I vaguely remember something on that, but it’s been a while) I did skim through and find this:
Yet, violence should by no means be inflicted upon them to make them believe. For everything which is not voluntary, cannot be good; for it is written: Willingly shall I sacrifice to you,[Ps. 53:8] and again: Make all the commands of my mouth your will,[Ps. 118:108] and again, And by my own will I shall confess to Him.[Ps. 27:7]


And when he has responded to you (if) do feel free to compare it to the actual letter which I believe I have found at the site below, the lletter written by Pope St. Nicholas to the King of Bulgaria (Khan Boris). I skimmed through it and I don’t find that ‘quote’ your ‘friend’ gave; what I do find seems remarkably–and most thoroughly–Christian in its messages for peace, forgiveness, mercy, etc.

Here is the link: fordham.edu/halsall/basis/866nicholas-bulgar.html

I have found the Internet Medieval Sourcebook to be fairly reliable.


Isa, great minds think alike! :smiley:

I skimmed it too and didn’t find the purported ‘quote’, but instead those (and other similar such as 'forgiving seventy times seven" etc. such as you gave. )

I guess that Alan’s “friends” banked on him being so shocked by the accusation that he wouldn’t even bother to check on its accuracy. They got the date wrong, too. . .

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. I grieve at anticatholicism but I most especially grieve at SLOPPY anticatholicism.



I’ll have a mosey through that.:coffeeread:

(I basically just wanted to make sure it was actually a real letter.)

I’ll ask him to tell me what chapter it’s from, I bet he’s just copy-&-pasted it from an anticatholic website!
(He did that before and I found the same exact message he sent me on a catholic website that proved that it was all lied anyway!)


There is another letter from St. Photius to the Khan/Czar, but I don’t think the quote is from there either.


He did that before?! Tell him it’s time for him to get his facts straight because you don’t have time to waste disproving false accusations. If you don’t put him on the spot he will just come up with another false accusation. If he really wants to discuss the Catholic Church he would do it in a more mature way.


##Here is the whole thing - in Latin :o - at this link, in PDF form:
*]documentacatholicaomnia.eu/01p/0858-0867,_SS_Nicholaus_I_Magnus,_Epistolae_Et_Decreta,_MLT.pdf[/LIST]It can be read on pages 112 to 132 of the 422-page file. :slight_smile:


It’s easy to verify…simply go to the link and the hit Ctrl f and then c&p the line “A king need not fear to command massacres” and watch what happens.

Nothing…because it’s not there.

The guy’s talking through his hat.

Here’s the book that the quote supposedly comes from. It’s on page (244) where he makes this claim, but as we can all see, he makes this allegation without proof, and in fact, since we have copies of the document in question, we can easily see that this is nothing more than lying anti-Catholic propaganda.

If you look at the title page of this edition you’ll see that he refers to “The Great Reformers”, which I guess tells us why he would publish such misinformation.

The author appears to have been very active in the French Revolution, and although one of his other works appears to have been well received, this particular work is obscure at best, and perhaps we know why. :shrug:


If it was in there it wouldn’t even be relevent to the Catholic Church.

That’s what I’ve done now.

[/LIST]It can be read on pages 112 to 132 of the 422-page file. :slight_smile:

If I could read latin that would be really helpfull!


Even if this quote were true, it would only show that a Pope was wrong and sinful. It is very possible for popes to be sinful and wrong about things, and this has happened many times in history. The Petrine office is what we are in communion with, not the individual who occupies that office.


Wouldn’t that contradict Papal Infalability?

  1. Protestants, especially of the Chick publications variety, don’t make the distinction.
  2. On these type of issues, we are in the same boat.
  3. Since, I assume, you claim that the Orthodox Church didn’t exist until 1054, which one did St. Photios belong to?
  4. Photius is a canonized saint, recognized by the Vatican.


Yes, I forgot about the date when I wrote that. :blush: What I meant was the Papacy, this anticatholic was claiming the Popes are genocidal maniacs.

I don’t claim that the Orthodox church didn’t exist untill 1054, but before then it was the same church, it was all on catholic Church. Although by 866 there were already big divides, that’s why there were separate letters from the Pope and the Patriarch, they both wanted the Kahn’s allegiance.


That is very helpful :smiley:

The alleged quotation appears to be put together from bits & pieces of sections 17-18, 56-7, 68.

Section 41 forbids the use of violence against men that they may believe.

My only comment on this kind of inaccuracy: :eek:


No. A homicidal maniac can be an authority on US history - he would just not be a very safe person to be around. That would not make him any less of an authority. The “hero” of “Silence of the Lambs”, though a fictional character, makes the point. :wink:

A thoroughly repulsive human being can be Pope - he would not be canonisable, but he could be Pope even so. The protection from leading the Church astray by teaching falsely, that is infallibility, is annexed to his office as Pope: it is for the good of the Church, not for the glory of the Pope.


It seems these anticatholic have no shame!

He was probably just expecting me to except it without trying to verify it at all.

Found it!

I may send that quote back to him. :thumbsup:

closed #19

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