Contribution to the history of the Sinai Metochion of St Matthew in Candia
ΤΗΕ MONASTERY of St. Catherine's οn Mt Sinai, having already long roots in Crete, played a very important role in the religious and social life of the island after the Ottoman conquest. When Candia was conquered, Koprulu Fazil Ahmed Pasa's interpeter Panayiotis Nikoussios bought the Church of St Matthew and dedicated it to the Sinaite monks. The Sinaite metochion dominated Church life in the town for over sixty years, as it was in a constant conflict with the bishops of the island over ecclesiastical power. The paper presents a survey of the Ottoman archive of this metochion, which contains 36 documents dating from 1573 up to 1849, complemented by documents preserved in the Candia court records and in the Monastery of Sinai. Their content varies; they include copies of the original Sinaite ahdname, allegedly written by the Prophet Muhammad, title deeds for the church of St Matthew, title deeds and dedication documents for Sinaite properties in Crete, documents οn tax-exemptions and other arrangements for this and the other three metochia of the monastery situated in Crete, documents οn disputes between the metochion and the bishops of Crete, etc. The archive sheds light upon various issues of the ecclesiastical history of Crete during the Ottoman period.
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