Dualistic Christian sect that thrived in Bulgaria from the tenth to the seventeenth century and more widely in the Byzantine Empire in the 11th and 12th centuries. It was founded in Bulgaria in the mid-tenth century by a priest who took the name Bogomil. The sect can be described as a fusion of dualistic, neo-Manichaean doctrines imported from the Paulicians and a local Slavonic movement aimed at reforming the recently established Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The central belief was that humanity and the visible, material world were created by the devil. Bogomils were hostile to most aspects of the Orthodox church as well as to civil authorities. The sect advocated a rigorously ascetic lifestyle, rejecting sex, marriage, possessions, and the eating of meat. Bogomils influenced the later Cathari of Europe.