Gost Milutn was one of the dedicated members of the “Bosnian church” which was one of the autonomous Christian church organizations which existed in Middle age in Kotromanić state, together with Serbian Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church. Historians are unable to form a common opinion on the religious character of the “Bosnian church”, so one claim it was a creation of Bogomilism, others say it was closer to Catholicism, third place it closer to Orthodoxy while forth insist it was a particular sort of a Christian church. What can be claimed with certainty is that it was an independent church, first time mentioned during reign of ban Stefan II Kotromanić, that it was supported by the Bosnian and Zachlumia nobility and ruling dynasty of Kotromanić and that it used ecclesiastical books belonging to the Eastern church which were written on Old Serbian language, many of which were later on used in Serbian churches and monasteries during the Ottoman occupation. Inscription on the stećak of gost Milutin can help us, up to a point, in understanding of the religious character of the “Bosnian church”. Term gost (guest) was, besides terms: djed (grandfather), krstjanin (Christian), starac (elderly), strojnik, was one of the ranks in “Bosnian church”.
Out of 363 inscriptions which have been recorded from stećci, only four inscriptions are related to dedicated members of the “Bosnian church”. Inscription of gost Milutin, written in Cyrillic writing on Old Serbian language, begins in the true believing Christian spirit: “in your name holy Trinity”. This religious formula was used and is still used in Serbian Orthodox church. Another part of the gost Milutin inscription is interesting and it goes: “I received gifts from high lords…and from Greek lords”. This reveals two things, first that gost Milutin was receiving gifts from domestic and foreign elite, which is against teaching of Bogomilism who despised wealth; second thing is that although he belonged to separate church organization, he had contacts with Orthodox people because Greeks are Orhodox, as some other members of the Bosnian church had contacts and dealing with Catholic Dubrovnik or Orthodox Serbia.
Monument of gost Milutin originates from Humsko near Foča and can be found today in the garden of the National museum in Sarajevo. Gost Milutin died in the first half of the XIV century. One side of the monument holds the figure of the gost depicted as a teacher – in one hand he holds a cane as symbol of dignity while in the other, he holds a book as sign of his function.
TRANSCRIPTION OF INSCRIPTION OF GOST MILUTIN TAKEN FROM BOOK OF MAK DIZDAR – “OLD BOSNIAN TEXTS”
Life of gost Milutin
In your name –
Grave of sir gost Milutin,
from family of Crničan’.
Died there –
for grace of God…
I lived in time of Bosnian lords.
from high lords…
from Greek lords…
And we see all!
Source: Mak Dizdar, Old Bosnian texts, Sarajevo 1969.
Prepared: Boris Radaković