michael mills wrote:[...] The dominant school of thought, the "characteristic expression of Rumanian identity in the 1920s" (Hitchins) was Orthodoxism, i.e., a fusion of (Eastern) Orthodox spirituality and the values of the Romanian village life, strongly influenced by (Oriental) Patristics, Kierkegaard, and Berdyaev. The most influential school of thought was Nichifor Crainic's Gândirea; Crainic (originally a student of theology and head of propaganda under Antonescu) sought to lead "a return to the 'authentic values' of the Rumanian spirit, that is, to the teachings of Eastern Orthodoxy" (Hitchins, 1994). Another extremely influential thinker, Nae Ionescu (mentor of later luminaries like Cioran or Eliade), was broadly in agreement -- "To be Romanian means to be Orthodox", he wrote. Their influence on Romanian nationalism, especially on the younger generation, was decisive.[...]
What is your interpretation of the origin of the fierce ethnic conflict between Romanian nationalists and Bulgars, given that the Vlachs who settled in Wallachia and Moldavia derived their entire culture from Bulgaria, including the use of Old Bulgarian as a liturgical language, the cyrillic alphabet etc.? I had though it was because Romanian nationalists in the 19th century wished to re-define Romanian identity as "Latin", and to deny any relationship to Orthodox Slavic peoples such as the Bulgarians and Ukrainians.
By the way, this question of mine is not a challenge to a fight, but a request for information.
The basic problem here is one of question framing.
(a) "Bulgar" and "Bulgarian" are not synonymous; the former is commonly used as a synonym of "proto-Bulgarian", i.e., a non-Slavic people.
(b) "Vlachs" may have different meaning in different contexts. In this context, it is imprecise and confusing. Keep in mind that Vlachs most commonly speak Aromanian (Macedo-Romanian) which, depending on your linguistic stance, is either a different dialect of Romanian, or a different language from standard Romanian (Daco-Romanian). Vlachs, in relatively small numbers, did settle in Wallachia and Moldavia, but it was a pre-modern and modern phenomenon.
(c) "Old Church Slavonic", rather than "Old Bulgarian" (Altbulgarisch), is nowadays the preferred term for the liturgical language (except, of course, in Bulgaria). The two terms are not entirely interchangeable.
(d) Finally, to communicate meaningfully, we must agree on what "ethnic conflict" (let alone a "fierce" one) means; and I'm not sure I quite understand what it means for you.
Your question assumes a number of more or less controversial items.
(a) The existence of an ethnic conflict between Romanians and Bulgarians in the 19th c. (Note that "nationalism" is not an ethnic attribute, hence "Romanian nationalists" cannot be an ethnic group.) I'm not aware of such a conflict; perhaps because we mean different things by "ethnic conflict".
(b) That Old Bulgarian or Old Church Slavonic was the liturgical language in what is now Romania. That is incorrect; the liturgical and chancellery language was Church Slavonic in its Middle Bulgarian redaction. (There were also minor Serbian and Russian influences.)
(c) That Wallachia and Moldavia "derived their entire culture" from Bulgaria. First, I believe that cultures which are derived entirely from a single source are quite rare, and neither of the two can be thus described. Second, while the 13th c–17th c Wallachian/Moldavian "high culture" was no doubt to a large extent derived from Middle Bulgarian sources, the latter were not specifically Bulgarian, but translations of Byzantine models. IOW, by adopting Slavonic, the Romanians gained droit de cité in the "Byzantine Commonwealth" (Obolensky; cf. also Iorga's "Byzance après Byzance"), not in a Bulgarian cultural sphere. The influence of Middle Bulgarian translations of Byzantine originals (e.g., John Zonaras, George the Monk, Constantine Manasses) is overwhelming in such works as the Moldavian chronicles; likewise notable is the influence of Byzantine sources (e.g., St John Klimakos' "Ladder" [Lestvica]) on the most important original Slavo-Romanian work, Învățăturile lui Neagoe Basarab….
(d) The original issue was Romanian nationalism in the interbellum; but the mention of the 19th c suggests that you assume constancy in the character and aims of Romanian nationalists. There was no doubt continuity, but the differences are more important.
Romanian nationalism originated among the late 18th c Romanian Uniate élites of Transylvania. Their aim was to gain recognition and political equality for the majority excluded by the Unio and by the edicts of religious tolerance. The Latin (hence, aristocratic) descent was a major supporting argument; Slavic and Orthodox connexions were de-emphasised because they would not have helped.
When nationalism crossed the Transylvanian Alps, it became not anti-Bulgarian nor anti-Slavic, but anti-Greek, as a reaction to a thoroughly Hellenised élite. Subsequently, the Romanian nationalist programme, that of the Pașoptiști (Fortyeighters), aimed at modernisation and independence from Russia (who displayed a marked inclination to occupy these nominally Ottoman dependencies and an equally marked reluctance to leave). The Latin origin was, again, used to elicit Western (primarily French) support for this programme, which would not have been helped by stressing either the Orthodox or the Slavic elements. But the programme was not anti-Bulgarian and even less anti-Orthodox; the religious issue under Alexander John Cuza was neither Kulturkampf nor French-style anticléricalisme, but an effort to secure a national base for the Orthodox Church.
The pașoptist modernising programme came under criticism towards the end of the 19th c from numerous quarters, conservative (Maiorescu) as well as populist (sămănătorism) and radical (Iorga). By the end of the WW1, it had been completely abandoned by the radical and even moderate right, who firmly rejected the urban, bourgeois, capitalist and liberal Western values, in favour of Orthodoxy and ethnic nativism (Crainic's "ethnocracy"), or, for the moderates, corporatism (Manoilescu) or Zeletin's "neoliberalism". As Prof Radu Florescu put it,
[…] the intellectuals of the inter-war years […] looked at the problem of nationalism almost exclusively in religious terms. Substituting 'Orthodoxy' for 'Latinism', they claimed that adherence to the Orthodox Church was the one true badge of Rumanian nationality. By an extraordinary process of oversimplification, countless school children during the inter-war years were instructed that Rumanianism and Orthodoxy were inseparable terms, and that the nation 'born in Orthodoxy' owed its national survival to 'Orthodoxy'. This was no mere historical accident, since Orthodoxy was the religion most suited to the nation's soul. To be a Rumanian Catholic or Jew was simply inconceivable. […] Nor were such views circulated in the classroom alone; they formed the theme of a bewildering array of publicists, theologians and politicians, ranging in their views from extreme monarchists to members of the Iron Guard. […]