The Status of the Greek Orthodox Patriark Under the Ottomans

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Halil INALCIK THE STATUS OF THE GREEK ORTHODOX PATRIARCH UNDER THE OTTOMANS It dius has been assumed that the document issued originally for Gennain 1454 was a kind of pact, similar to capitulations given to non- Muslim foreigners in Islamic territory, granting to them certain privileges and guarantees under oath 1. The Eame document was also interpreted as a charter, organizing the Orthodox Christian community under Ottoman rule inio an autonomous body under the Patriarch. N.J. Pentazopculo
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  Halil INALCIK THE STATUS OF THE GREEKORTHODOX PATRIARCH UNDER THEOTTOMANS It has been assumed that the document issued srcinally for Genna-dius in 1454 was a kind of pact, similar to capitulations given to non- Muslim foreigners in Islamic territory, granting to them certain privi- leges and guarantees under oath1. The Eame documentwasalso inter-preted as a charter,organizing the OrthodoxChristian community under Ottoman rule inio anautonomous body under thePatriarch. N.J. Pentazopculos, the distinguished Greek legalhistorian2, said that Mehmet II <recognized notonly the ancientreligiousprivileges of the Patriarch, but, beyond these, he grantedthem considerable politicalauthority as well>.Thegrant of such privileges, he added, carried with it jus singulare and extraterritoriality, as hadexisted in all the empires founded in the Mediterranean world since ancient times. Under the Ottomans, Pdntazopoulos continued,thePatriarch's authority <<was not only extended over all the Orthodox Christians of the empire, but this 1For S. Sidarouss , Les patriarchats dans L'Empire Ottoman et spicialentent en Egypte, Paris, 1906, p. 5, berdts given to the patriarchs were simply<bilateral contractsconcluded between Christian nations and Islamicgovernments>. Accordingto TheodoreH.Papadopoullos, Studies snd Documents Relatingto the Historyof the Greck Church und Pecple underTurkish Dominution,Bibliotheca Graeca Aevi Posterioris-1,Brussels, 1952, pp.?-10, the berdtgiven to Gennadiuswas a (constitutivechart and madethe Patriarcl' miltet-bashi or'nationalchiel>.It invested in him, Papadopoullosadds, <beside his spiritual jurisdiction witha civiljurisdiction extending overthe whole nation of the Christians>. This interpretationis basically shared by Byzantinists, most recently by G. Hering,<Das islamische recht und die Investitur des GennadiosScholarios (1454)r, Bslkan Studies (Salonica), II, l96l , pp,249'251; also see S. Runciman, The Grest Church inCapriviry,Cambridge,1968,pp. t67, l?0, l8l.J.Kabrda, ksystimeFiscaldeL'Eglise Orthodoxedans I'EmpireOuoman, Brno, 1969, pp. l4-15, notes (la position pr66minente des m6tropolitesdansles 6parchies aupoint de vue politique>which resultedlrom extensive jurisdic:'rr of the ecclesiastical courts over civil matters as well as spiritual. 2 Church and Lew in the Balkan Peninsula during theOttonan r?r/e, Thessaloniki:Institute for BalkanStudies, 1967, pp.7-10, 19, 23, 86.  408 HALILINALcIK authority was further expanded by newly acquired <<politico-religious jurisdiction)) over all theorthodox reaya. Pentazopoulos agreed,how-ever, that such powerand<status ofauthority> was achieved only over timeby the <tolerance or concession of the Turkish authorities>3, or byencroachment upontheprivilegesgranted them. Pentazopoulosempha- sized the pointthat,by stylinghimself in theecclesiasticaldocuments as <theleader ol the eminent race of the Romdns>> with the titles of the Byzantinerulers, Afentis, and Desp.otis, and by using the imperial emblem of the two-headed eagle,the Patriarch appeared as theembodi- ment of the<Byzantine political ideal> undertheOttomans. It should be made clear at the outset that theOttoman system by whichthe state's relations with the religious communities were governed followed closely the pertinent stipulations of Islamic law and tradition,both in its basic structure and inits details. As far as the ahlal-fuimma is concerned, in dealing with organization andpracticalmatters, one has first to look at the authorities of theHanali school of law, a methodwhich M. d'Ohssonwiselypursued in his Tableau General de I'Entpire Otromon. On theother hand, duringtheformativeperiod of the empire, the Ottomansintroducedan independent body of practical rules and regulations based on the ruler's judgement of what the situation actuallyrequired. Thesewere usuallyinterpreted as temporary measures, based on Sharf'aprinciples asapplied to particular situa- tions. Sometimes, it is true, these practical regulationswere hard toaccomodate with the principles of the Sharr'a;for example,the main-tenance of an organized Christiancommunity in Istanbul was againstthe Sharr'a inprinciple since the city had been taken by force (kahran)aswas the takingof pishke,sft, actuallya disguised tax upon the clergy. In dealing withthe so-called millet system in theOttomanEmpire, a primary taskis to uncoverand tofind a historicalexplanation for those Ottoman practices and institutions which were actualinnovations vis-d- vis the Sharf'aa.Furthermore,those institutions introduced by the Ottomans changed, even thoughtheir srcinal names were retained, through the transformation of the empireitself and its policies. Four principalperiodsare t0 bedistinguished in thestudy of the conditionsunder which the non-Muslim communitiesand theirinstitu'tions survived in the Ottoman Empire. r lhid. p. 10. a See <Kdni,n>>, Encyclopaedia of Islant, second edition, IV, pp. 558-562. THE STATUSOF THECREEKORTHODOX PATRTARCH 409 It isnow a commonplace that in theearly period of their expansion, the Ottomanspursued, primarily in order to facilitate conquest, or tomake the indigenous popuration favorably disposed, a policy called istimdlet. It wasintended to win overthepopulation, peasantsand townspeople,as well as military andclerics, by generous promisesand concessions, sometimes going beyondthe .limits of the well-known, tolerant stipulations of IslamicLaw concerning non-Muslimswho hadsubmitted without resistance. Within this poliryof isrimdlel, the otto- mans' especially during the firsttransition period,maintained intact thelawsandcustoms, the status andprivileges, that had existed in the pre_ conquesttimes, andwhat is more unusual, they incorporated the existing militaryand clericalgroups into theirown administrative system withoutdiscrimination,so that in many cases former pronoia- holders and seigneurs in theBalkans were left o; their fiefs as ottoman fimar-holderss- But the mostfundamental and perhaps thetnost effectivecomponent of the istimdler policy was, from thebeginning, therecogni_ tion of theorthodox church as part of theottoman state. TheOttomans didnot merelyextend theprotectionstipulated by Islamic Law and practice to thechurch, but they integrated it into their administrative system. The leaders of the OrthodoxChurch, the Metro- politans, wereassigned timdrs in the frontier provinces, a practicewhichmeant their inch.rsion in the ruting class. Wehaverecords of thisfrom as early as thettrndr register of Albaniadated 14326, well before theconquest of Istanbul, theseat of the Patriarchate.There iseveryreason to believe thatthrough such a policytowards the orthodox clergy andmonasteriesthe Ottomans establishedcloseties with the patriarchate in Istanbulbefore 1453. The factthat the ottomans favoredopenly the orthodoxchurch, restoring it everywhere they went to its former position of superiorityvis-ii-vis the Latin church,is a clear indication of the politicalintent of their attitude. In a recent article,Nicolas oikonomides has shown?, oo the basis of Byzantinesources, that, uponthe ottoman conquest in I3g3, themonasteries ofMount Athos were left in possession of their properties, to which wereevenadded new ones. what is more interesting, a 5 See H. Inalcik, <ottoman Methods of conquesr>, in studia Islamica,lll (r954),pp. 103-129. 6H. Inalcik (ed,), sr?rer-i Defter-i sancak-i Arvanid,Ankara: T.T.K., 1954. 7 <Monastdres etmoineslorsde laconqu,ite ottomane)), Sijdo.sr_Forschungen, XXXV (1976), pp. l-t0.  4IO HALIL INALCIK tradition survived on themountainclaiming that the monasteries had recognized the suzerainty of the Ottoman Sultansevenbefore the conquest of thearea8. A similarsituation for the monastery of Saint John Prodrome near Serres is attested to by a documentdated some- where between 27 December, I 372 and5 January, 1373, when thecity was still underByzantinerulee. Before the Sultan'sconquest' asserts Oikonomides (p. 6),<ils lui offraientune grande victoire morale et s'assuraienten 6change la s6curit6 de leursmonastdres et I'inviolabilit6 deleurs privileges>. Evidently, theOttoman government was takingadvantage of the presence of Greek Metropolitans already within their domain to establish relations, within the policy of istimdlet, with churches and monasteries beyond Ottoman state boundaries. The second period of the so-called millet system began with the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. In accordance with his concept of an universal empire, the Conqueror re-organized the Ottoman state, publishedSultanic codes of laws, and made his capitalthe seat of the heads of the three recognized non-Muslim communities, OrthodoxGreek, Armenianand Jewish, who represented a large number of his dhinunr subjects. Considering thefact thatno other Muslim state had hadnon-Muslim subjects in solarge a number, and that the Conque- ror's concept of Sultanic law and authority wasso comprehensive, itmay be appropriate to regard his reign as ushering in anew age for the non-Muslimcommunities in Ottomanhistory, perhaps even for the whole of Islamichistory.Theimperialstructure asestablished by the Conqueror,andthe historicalposition of the non-Muslim communities 8 lbid.,p.5. eThe controversy about whether or not the document or its date is authentic and correct (see P. Lemerle, Phitippe et la MactdoineOrientale, Paris' 1945' pp' 215'217; G.Ostrogorskij, <La Pnsede Serres par les Turcs>,Byzantion, xxxv (1965)' pp' 302' 319; I. g-.toi..unu-Steinherr, <La prise de Serres etle firman de 1372 en faveur du monastdrede Saint-Jean-Prodrome >>, Acta Hisrorica, Societas Academica Dacoromana: IV, Munich, 1965, pp. 15-24; E.A. Zachariadou, <<Early ottoman Documents of the prodromos Vonurt ry (Serresjrr, Siidost-Forschungen, XXVIII (Munich, 1969, pp. l-12)stems fromamisunderitanding. After the Ottomanvictory at Chermanon in l37l' the fronrier ghazisunderEvrenos(Evrenuz) Beg invaded the Serres plain, but the city itself continued to resist,Evrenosplacedthere for thecontinuousblockade of the city, DeliiBalaban (ldrrs Bidlls\, Hesht Behi&t, MS Topkapt SaraytMuseum,Section Murad l.). The monastery, apparently in the area fallen under Ottoman control already in 1372, obtained from the SultanMurad I thedocument granting taxexemptionandprotection' E. Zachariadou(iDid., p.9) showed that the document is authentic and I' Beldiceanu' Steinherr'sargumentsare not acceptable. THE STATUS OFTHE GREEK ORTHODOX PATRIARCH4I I within it, developed in what we calrthe classicar age of the ottoman Empire, until the seventeenth centurywhenthe first iign, of decentrali-zationappeared. when, with the rise of the a,ydns in the eighteenth century,decentralization 10became a general feature of the Orro-un administration, the churchorganizations also partook in this trend.The Greek orthodoxchurch in particular, cornciously taking advantage oI rhenew conditions,moved toward aut'nom'us 'rganizations in the capital and in the Metropolitanates in the provinces. In fact, themovement in the non-Muslim communities during this century was the rise of a newbourgeois crass, whichtried to dominate the church andwhich led to, alongside the church, the development of certain civirorganizations with acertain degree of actual autonomyll. While these developments prepared theway for the emergence of the christian states in the Barkans in thenineteenth century, within theEmpire the Tanzimat and especially rhe Khatt-i Humayan of lg56 brought in absolutely newlegal concepts for the rd-orgunization of thenon-Mus-lim communities. Special niiamndmes,regulations,were drawn up for the non-Muslim communities during this period,which came to aclose withthetreaty of Lausanne in lgl3Lz. Periodizations of this typeare not only convenient for thestudy of the non-Muslim communities in theottoman Empire but are arso historically necessary in order to avoidcontroversy about generaliza-tionsmade through the studies of conditions in a particularperiod.In each of the periodsdefinedabove,thecircumstances of theindividual member of the non-Muslim communities differed, in actuality and sometimes also in jure. In arranging their relations with non-Muslims whohad submitted without resistance the ottomans were careful to follow the prescrip-tions of Islamic Law, in which these matters were governed by long tradition and precise rules going back to thetime of theprophet. The 10 H. Inalcik' <Military and Fiscal Transformation in the Ottoman Administration>r, Archivum Onomanicwn, VI,pp.3ll-337. -tl N' Iorga, Byzance apris Byzonce, ed. AssociationInternationale desEtudes du SucJ- Est Europeen, comireNational Roumain, lucarest, 1971, pp, 226241:rh, napaoopullos,ibid.,pp.122-158; Runciman, ibid.,pp.j06-406; for changes in a provincial conrexr see J. Hu:lt' A Historyof the orthodoxchurch in cyprus, LJndon, r90r. 12 For the Niidmndme(constitutiveregulation) of 1862see R. Davison,Refornt in the ottomonEmpire, Princeton, 1963; the turtistr tert in Dtisrir,ll, g02-g3g; cf. also vartanH' Artinian, A study of Historical Development of the Armenian constitutional sysrenr in the ottoman Empire, unlubrrshsd phD Dissertarion,Brandeis u r ..riir.T;;;. ''   412 HALIL INALCIK earliestcontracts of this type were of such a nature as couldonly be classified as 'uhild, compacts,concludedbetween the non-Muslimcornmunities and the prophet or the first caliphs13. During the Pro- phet,stime the term amdnwasused as a synonym of 'ahd, dhimma and ihe pre-lslamic term diiwdrLa. In theearlyperiod securitypacts were generallycalled 'ahtl, agreement underooth.Later,whenlarge numbers of non-MuslimscameunderIslamic rule, a specialStatusas ahl al' dhintma was recognized for them, andthe concept of amdn was differenciated fromthatof fuimma.Eventually, it was establishedin IslamicLawthat amdnwasthetemporary pledge of securityand safe- conduct to non-Muslims of the Ddr al'Harb, Abode of War, the conditions of which were usuallydefined inan 'ahd, while fuimma was a permanent pledge of security to non-Muslimswhohadsubmitted and become the subjects of Islamic state. Theconditions of this pledge were pre,determined by IslamicLaw. Some Muslimjurists also accepted an intermediate territory between the Ddr al-Islam and the Dar al'Harb' This was called Ihe Dar al-'Ahdandincluded those non-Muslim states which had submitted by treaty to an Islamic state but had not been incorporated into itrs. Upon submission and pledge of ayearlytribute'suchcountrieswere granted 'ahcl wa amdn, under which the Caliph or Sultan pledged peace, protection from internal and external enemies'no colonization by Muslim peoples, and no interference by Muslim of- ficials in internal affairs. Thus, both the earliest Muslim pacts con- cluded with the non-Muslim communitiesas well as the amdn docu- rncntsgivep to people from the Ddr al-Harh and to autonomous princes accepted into iheDar al-lsldnr are called 'ahd, 'uhfrcl or sometimes' S!]uriir, or in Ottoman usage 'ahdname. The distinctivecharacter of an 'ahdname is that it is guaranteed by oath, 'ahd,which bindsthe Muslims before God to respec; theprovisions specified in thedocument' Obser- vance of such a covenant is ordered byGod asrevealed in the Koran (XVI, 93 and 94). An 'ahd is o,ri of thequestion for theaht al-&imma, swbjects of an Islanric state. when certain special privileges were to be granted to the rr M. Flamidullah, Dttcunvnts sur lu DiplomatieMusulmane i l'ipoqueduProphite etdes KhatiJ'cs orthodoxes, paris, 1935;idenr, Medintu'a al-llasu'il5 al'Si1'asi1'v'a, Beyrouth' 1969, N; Khadduri, Warand Peoce in the LawiTltlo^,2nd edition, t969; A' Faltal' k statutt ligaldes non'musulmans en Pays d'lslam'Beyrouth' 1958' ra J. Schacht, uAmenr, Encycllopaedia of Islam,2nd edition'pp' 429-430' r5 see <lmtiydzat>r, Epl, uph*.u, ibid., and <Dir alAhd),, ibid. THE STATUSOF THE GREEK ORTHODOX PATRIARCH4I3 ahl al-&imma, individually or collectively, the document by which this was done was calledan amr or hukm,an imperialorder from the ruler tothe ruled. Special terms for such anorderestablishing privileges weremanshfrr, milhdl and beril. ottoman usage also includednishan and bitiL6. The documenrgiven by rhe Abbasid caliphMuktali II (llj6-1160) to the Nestorian Parriarch, Abdisho III (ll3g-1147), in ll3g1?, is worthyof note for purposes of comparison with the Ottoman diplomas to the Patriarchs. It is called a milhal, or diploma. It first ratifies the election of the catholicos by the community, and established his authority over all the Nestorians as theirCatholicos, ind also establishes his positionas head (zaTm) of the tawd'if, communities of Greeks,Jacobites and Melchites living in the lands of the Caliphate. It thenenumeratesthe rights'granted (en'dm) tohim and to the members of his milla,promisingprotection of their livesand property, of their churches andmonasteries, all in conformity with'the conduct of the orthodox Caliphsand their successors. TheCaliph also guarantees to ensure bythreat of punishment respect for the authority of theCatholicos on the part of his subordinateclerics, and promises to intervene for theenforcement of judicial decisions. In returntheCaliph demandsobei- sance and full payment of theQjizya, and,again at theend,compliance with what had been orderedtherein.Thisdocumentandthe onesgivenby the Muslim rulers in Egypt to the heads of thereligiouscommunities before the arrival of the ottomans can beclassified simply as diplomas granted by the sovereign. The diplomas given to the monks of Sinai by Al-Matik al:Attil, the Ayyubidruler of Egypt, in 119518, and by Selim Iin l5l7 hotd a special interest for us. In Al-'Adil's diploma, which in the documentitselfis entitleda manthilr, mifidl, and amr, themonks are considered to be among the Sultan's re'dyd.lt is stated that <theSultan appoinred as their superior those whom they(themonks)preferred>. It is further 16 Sec belownote 44. r 7 A. Mingana, <A charter of Protectiongranted to the NestorianChurch in A.H. I I3 by Muktafi II, caliph of Baghdad >, Bulletin of lohn Rylands Lihrur|, Manchester, X (1926),126'13-l:E. Tisserant,uNestorienne (Eglise)>>, Dit'rionnairt, tle rhtologiecutholiqut, Xll;also see E.Khedoori, Churterso.l'Privileges granted h1, the Fatinridsand Ilantluks ru St. Catherine's Monastery of Tur Sinui (ca. 5A0 rc 900), Dissertation, University of Manchester, 1958. rs S.M. Stern, <Two Ayyubid Decrees from Sinair>, Documents from Islantic Chan-ceries, ed. S.M. Stern, Cambridge, Mass., 1965, pp. l0-25.
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