Ivan II

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Ivan II

or

Ivan Asen

(ē`vän ä`sən), d. 1241, czar of Bulgaria (1218–41). On the death (1207) of his father, Kaloyan, founder of the second Bulgarian empire, the throne was usurped by Ivan's cousin Boril. Ivan fled to the duchy of Halych (see GaliciaGalicia
, Pol. Galicja, Ukr. Halychyna, Rus. Galitsiya, historic region (32,332 sq mi/83,740 sq km), SE Poland and W Ukraine, covering the slopes of the N Carpathians and plains to the north and bordering on Slovakia in the south.
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, historic region, Poland and Ukraine) and secured its aid. Returning in 1218, he captured Trnovo, had Boril blinded, and was crowned czar. Under Ivan II the Bulgarian empire reached its zenith, becoming the strongest power in the Balkans; he added Macedonia, Epirus, and much of Albania and Serbia to his lands. He campaigned (1235) with John IIIJohn III
(John Ducas Vatatzes) , d. 1254, Byzantine emperor of Nicaea (1222–54), successor and son-in-law of Theodore I. He extended his territory in Asia Minor and the Aegean islands but failed (1235) to take Constantinople from the Latins, although he was aided by Ivan
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 of Nicaea against the Latin Empire of Constantinople, but later helped the Latins oppose John. Ivan's generally mild conduct and sincere faith endeared him even to his foes. He restored the autonomy of the Bulgarian church, established a central administration, and encouraged the settlement of Ragusan merchants. For his repudiation (1232) of the union with Rome and his support of the heretic BogomilsBogomils
, members of Europe's first great dualist church, which flourished in Bulgaria and the Balkans from the 10th to the 15th cent. Their creed, adapted from the Paulicians and modified by other Gnostic and Manichaean sources, is attributed to Theophilus or Bogomil, a
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, he was excommunicated (1236) by Pope Gregory IX. Ivan II was succeeded by his sons Kaliman I, who reigned 1241–46, and Michael, who reigned 1246–57. With Michael's death the direct Asen line became extinct.