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Category: History

To a question of adoption of Christianity by ancestors of modern Gagauz

UDK 94 (478)


© 2010 A. Kolosov

Rostov branch of the Russian customs academy, Rostov Branch of Russian Customs Academy,

Budennovsky Ave., 20, Rostov-on-Don, 344001, Budennovskiy Ave, 20, Rostov-on-Don, 344001,

Ethnogenesis of the Gagauz people is considered. Special attention is paid to Christianity as an important factor of ethnogenesis of the Gagauz people, the attempt of establishment of start date of process of Christianization of ancestors of Gagauz, medieval Turkic-speaking nomadic people of Northern Black Sea Coast becomes.

In this article the author considers the ethnogenesis Gagauz people. The author pays special attention to Christianity, as an important factor ethnogenesis Gagauz people, trying to ascertain the date of Christianization ancestors Gagauzians, middle ages Turkic-speaking nomads of the northern Black Sea.

History of the Gagauz people still remains insufficiently studied and to some extent politized. The question of origin of Gagauz caused much controversy and continues to cause. At the beginning of the 20th century the Bulgarian historian Mr. Dimitrov, generalizing the literary information about Gagauz, pointed to existence of 19 various opinions on origin of these people, and M. Guboglo - 21 [1].

Hypotheses of origin of Gagauz are extremely various also mnogovariantna. Special attention versions deserve: "Slavic" (Bulgarian) and their "Turkic" origin.

The first that Gagauz are the Bulgarians who apprehended Turkish arose in the middle of the 19th century. It was divided by V. Marinov, I.I. Meshcheryuk, etc.

Supporters of the second version were divided into four groups. Some consider Gagauz descendants Turkic Koeman (V.I. Grigorovich, K. Irechek, A. Ishire-kov, I.D. Shishmanov, etc.). Others - descendants of uz (K. Bayev, N.A. Baskakov, A. Manov, V.A. Moshkov, etc.). The third were sure that Gagauz are Turkic peoples, but did not try to prove what (T. Kovalsky, N. Nicko-lau, S. Romanski, etc.). The fourth assumed that Gagauz conduct the origin from the Turkish Seljuks

(G. Balaschev, I.K. Dimitrov, R. Vulp, V. Zayonchkov-sky, P.N. Nikov, E.M. Hopp, etc.) [2].

The prominent researcher of history of the Gagauz people M.N. Guboglo on the basis of the careful analysis of scientific data came to a conclusion that modern Gagauz resulted from mixture of many ethnic elements, but in their formation nomadic Turkic peoples of the southern Russian steppes are high [3].

The complexity of a research of early history of the Gagauz people and also existence of multiple hypotheses of its origin results from availability only of the fractional and fragmentary information on Gagauz and their ancestors in the Bulgarian, Romanian, east Slavic, Turkish written sources. It should be noted that even the genetics cannot put the final end to this scientific dispute. In 2008 the group of scientists of the Munich university under the leadership of V. Stepanov carried out the analysis of the U-chromosome of 89 Gagauz from two populations in the south of the Republic of Moldova more than three dozen genetic markers. But even such small sample showed signs of considerable genetic heterogeneity [4].

The purpose of this article is consideration with attraction of materials of the Russian chronicles of a question of time and circumstances of adoption of Christianity by ancestors of modern Gagauz which is, undoubtedly, one of the most important and difficult in the history of Gagauz. The relevance of this question is extremely high, moreover, perhaps, any researcher will not begin to challenge a role of orthodox Christianity in ethnogenesis of the Gagauz people. The unique combination of Turkic language and orthodox religion allowed to be created and remain national identity of the Gagauz people which were under constant assimilatory pressure from Bulgarians and Turks.

From notes of the Turkish traveler of the 17th century Evliya Chelebi it is known that the population of the country of uz - "Uzi-eyalet" who he called "chitak" (ancestors of Gagauz) were orthodox Christians [tsit. on: 3]. A. Manov in the works proved that in the 13th century the ancestors of modern Gagauz making most of the population of the so-called Oguzsky power professed Christianity and had own exarchate with the center in Kavarna. Thus, it is possible to say that in the 13th century and furthermore in the 17th century the ancestors of the Gagauz people were orthodox Christians.

Christianization is not the one-stage act, but process which took a long time, having played, undoubtedly, a noticeable role in ethnogenesis of Gagauz. Researchers still should define the beginning and content of process of Christianization of ancestors of modern Gagauz which are meant as the nomadic Turkic-speaking people of the Black Sea steppes: bonds (in the Russian chronicles of Torquay), berende, Pechenegs, Cumans (Cumana, a kipchaka).

East Slavic written sources, in particular the Russian chronicles, it is rather avaricious also from -

ryvochno speak about the nomadic people, mentioning them, as a rule, in the context of the narration about domestic and foreign policy of Russia. It is possible to draw a conclusion on circumstances of Christianization of the Turkic-speaking nomadic people of the southern Russian steppes only on the basis of generalization, the analysis and comparison of indirect evidence of written sources all in many respects.

In the Russian chronicles two facts of a baptism of Pecheneg princes are recorded. The Patriarchal chronicle under 988 g contains the certificate: "Then to a priida the Pecheneg prince of Mietigai k to Volodimer and having believed be christened in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" [5, t. 9, page 57]. The same chronicle demonstrates that in 991 g "... to a priida the Pecheneg prince Kuchyug, the Izh Izmaili-te, k to Volodimer, v by Kiyev, and priat belief Greek naritsatsya, and be christened in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and a sluzhasha to Vladimir chistym by heart." [5, t. 9, page 64].

Light on questions of Christianization of Pechenegs is shed also by Bruno Kverfurtsky's message to the German king Henry II written probably in the fall of 1008 to Bruno wrote about Pechenegs: "Truly, the whole year was executed for months and days since we abandoned Hungarians where we in vain spent much time, and went to Pechenegs (Pezenegi), the most cruel of all pagans. The sovereign of Russia (senior Ruzorum), great the power (regnum) and riches, within a month held me against [my] will as though I on own initiative wanted to ruin myself, and constantly convinced me not to go to so mad people where, according to him, I would not find new souls, but only one death and that the most shameful. When he was unable already [to hold me further] and is frightened certain about me, unworthy, by vision, with team two days saw me to extreme borders of the power he because of hostility with which nomads enclosed with the strongest and longest fencing from all directions.... On Sunday when we reached places, more manned, we were left in live to term until all people on call of messengers gather for a meeting. So, in the ninth hour of the next Sunday our names are on a meeting, castigating as if horses. The uncountable crowd ran together; with bloodshot eyes, they lifted terrible shout; thousands of naked swords and thousands of axes [brought] over our heads, threatened to chop up us in pieces. Till the night tormented us, dragging in different directions until us pulled out from their hands of the elder (maiores) of [that] earth which, being judicious, having heard our speeches, understood that we with good were to their earth. As that was necessary for the inscrutable Lord and the most honest Pyotr, we spent five months among these people, having bypassed three of its parts, not coming into the fourth from which to us there came ambassadors from elders (raeliores). Having converted to Christianity about thirty dos, we, on God's wave, suited the world which, according to them, nobody except us could suit. & #34; This world, - they said, - by you it is arranged. If it is strong, then all of us as you learn, willingly will become Christians; if the sovereign of Russia changes an arrangement, we should think only of war, but not

about христианстве". With that I also came to the sovereign of Russia who for the sake of God's [success] [business] approved it, having given in the son's hostages. We devoted in bishops of [one] of ours whom then the sovereign together with the son placed in the middle of the earth [Pechenegs]. Also was established, to greater glory of the Lord, [our] Christ Redeemer, the Christian law among the worst and the most cruel of all pagans living on the earth" [6].

Proceeding from the text of the message, it is possible to draw a conclusion that adoption of Christianity by Pechenegs was a peculiar pledge of the world and the union with Russia. It should be noted that peace-making with Russia and adoption of Christianity affected the Pechenegs wandering on the right coast of Dnieper as Bruno writes nothing about a crossing through Dnieper. From the treatise by Konstantin VII Bagryanorodny "About management of the empire" the science knows of four "districts" of Pechenegs on a left bank of Dnieper and four - on a right bank which probably and were visited by Bruno. It is known that Svyatopolk, having become in 1015 the Kiev prince, inherited the union with Pechenegs who battled on its party in fights against Yaroslav Vladimirovich in 1016 and 1019. Thus, it is possible to assume that the union between Russia and Pechenegs was effective, and Christianization process thereof continued.

The Byzantine sources demonstrate that at the beginning of the 40th of the 11th century about 20 thousand Pechenegs, under leadership of the khan Kegen came to Byzantium. The emperor Konstantin Monomakh employed Kegen and christened him, having provided to Pechenegs of the earth in at - the Danube Bulgaria. His tribespeople followed the example of the khan. The Greek monk Evfimy who arrived to Danube together with the khan Kegen without effort converted to Christianity or at least christened in the Danube water the whole thousands of Pechenegs [7, page 11]. Is slightly later, in the winter of 1048 the Pechenegs of a horde of the khan Tirakh taken prisoner were employed by Konstantin Monomakh. Tirakh and hundred forty notable Pechenegs were taken away to the capital where Konstantin Monomakh ordered to christen them and then gave them appropriate ranks and titles Byzantine tables of ranks [7, page 14].

For the first time are mentioned by Torquay in "The story of temporary years", under 985 g when Vladimir Svyatoslavich with the uncle Dobrynya went against the Volga Bulgarians. "And Torquay beregom the drive on konikh". O. Su-leymenov assumed what the terms "Torquay", "tor-chin" which in the Russian chronicles are meant as bonds comes from distorted Turkic "торкин" - the people to which the wife belongs. Having assumed on the basis of it that bonds consisted not only in the military alliance (making guard of the Kiev princes), but willows relationship with the Russian princes. There are numerous proofs to the fact that Torquay was strongly settled on the territory of the Kiev state. It is clear say data of toponymics about it. The city of Torchesk which is often mentioned in the Russian chronicles played a role of the center of torksky settlements in Porosye in Russia. Torquay probably made a considerable element in the mixed population of many southern Russian cities and settlements [8].

Allows to assume wide circulation among Christianity torok their relationship with the Russian princes, a long time of accommodation in Russia and also the certificate of the lavrentyevsky chronicle for 1093. "Cumans did some fighting much and came back to Torchesku, and people in the city were exhausted from hunger, and gave up to enemies. Cumans, having taken the city, kindled it fire, both people divided, and a lot of Christian people led in knit to the families and the srodnik..." [5, t. 1, page 225]. Moreover, Torchesk was near the city of Yuryev which was located on the old ancient settlement near Bila Tserkva [9]. In Yuryev during rule of the metropolitan Feopempt (1035 - the 1040th), the fifth Russian episkopiya is based [10]. Creation it, undoubtedly, aimed at conducting vigorous missionary activity among the allied Turkic peoples inhabiting the southern boundaries of the Kiev principality which if to trust the Lavrentyevsky chronicle, bore certain fruits.

Concerning Christianization of Cumans the East Slavic written sources report much in more detail and more in details. Distribution of Orthodoxy among Cumans is demonstrated by written sources of the 12th century. "Life of chernorizets of Nikon Sukhy" [11], "Legend on the prisoner to half-sheepskin" [12] and "Kirikova's Askings" [13].

In the Patriarchal chronicle under 1132 it is reported about a baptism in Ryazan of the Polovtsian prince Amurat "... be christened v Ryazan the Polovetsky prince Amurat" [5, t. 9, page 158], belongs to 1168 the message about a baptism of the Polovtsian prince Aydar ". v Kiyev Polovtsian prince Aydar k to the grand duke Mstislav Izyaslavich you serve a .priida, the same potom a little pre-byv be christened." [5, t. 9, page 236]. In 1223 report about a baptism of the Polovtsian prince Bastyya Ipatyevskaya [5, t. 2, page 741] and Patriarchal [5, t. 10, page 90] of the chronicle.

By the end of XII - the beginning of the 13th century the orthodox Christianity already quite widely extended among Cumans, the indirect evidence of it is the mention in the Ipatyevsky chronicle by Cumans (mainly khans) with Christian names, undoubtedly, received by them after the baptism, for example: Gyurgevich, Roman Kzich and Laurus's Mikhalko under 1185, Yury Konchakovich - under 1223

Proceeding from the above, it is possible to draw a conclusion that process of Christianization of the Turkic-speaking nomadic people of the Black Sea steppes began at the end of the 10th century, proceeded quite intensively and it was caused mainly by the developed political situation. Pechenegs, Torquay, and then and Cumans, having appeared in an environment of the Christian states and inevitably entering interaction with them (making the peace or the union, resorting to protection, arriving on service, etc.), were forced to adopt Christianity to confirm gravity of the intentions and to reach equality within the developed interaction mechanism.

As the above-stated Turkic-speaking nomad tribes accepted the most direct learning -

stiye in ethnogenesis of the Gagauz people, it is possible to claim that process of Christianization of the Gagauz people went in parallel and was one of factors of ethnogenesis of modern Gagauz, and the orthodox religion became one of factors of maintaining national identity in the environment of closely related Turkic tribes, for example Ottoman Turks.


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2. M.N. Guboglo. Ethnic origin of Gagauz (problem historiography)//Soviet ethnography. 1967. No. 3. Page 163.
3. Gubogl.H. Gagauz//Science and life. 1969. No. 10. Page 103.
4. Gagauz are Europeans//Uniform Gagauzia: network version, 2009. URL: (date of the address: 14.01.2009).
5. Complete collection of the Russian chronicles. M, 2000.
6. Ancient Russia in the light of foreign sources / under the editorship of E.A. Melnikova. M, 1999. Page 314 - 315.
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8. O. Suleymenov Az and I. Book by the well-intentioned reader. Alma-Ata, 1975. URL: plt_2000plt_US/azia/(date of the address: 04.11.2008).
9. V.B. Antonovich. Archaeological map of the Kiev province. M, 1895. Page 52.
10. Metropolitans Kiev and vseya Russia (988 — 1305) of URL: mitropolit/(date of the address: 04.11.2008).
11. Life of the venerable father our Nikon Sukhy / Patericon Pechersky. Kiev, 1998. URL: http://www. (date of the address: 04.11.2008).
12. Sources of the Russian history. Pre-Pertine Russia: grant. T. 1 / sost. M. S.V. Farforovsky, 1913. Page 53 - 54.
13. K.F. Kalaydovich. Monuments of the Russian literature of the 12th century. M, 1821. Page 181.

Came to edition On March 18, 2009

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