La reforme 
monastique du prince Mathieu Basarab Cover Image
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Reforma monastică a domnului Matei Basarab
La reforme monastique du prince Mathieu Basarab

Author(s): Gheorghe Lazăr, Violeta Barbu, Ovidiu Olar
Subject(s): History
Published by: Institutul de Istorie Nicolae Iorga

Summary/Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature and the meaning of what seems to be a radical change in the ecclesial policy of the ruling princes of Wallachia. In 1639-1640, Matthew Basarab (Wallachian voivode from 1632 to 1654) issued in his council three acts that enfranchised the dependent monasteries all around the country (monasteries whose estates were given by the founders and donors to various historic establishments on Mount Athos, Jerusalem and the like and which were by consequence administered from afar). The comparative analysis of the texts of these acts of the prince-in-council unveils an unprecedented awareness of the “common good” expressed on a tone of “patriotic propaganda”. Our reading uses the paradox in order to capture the full meaning of these pieces of legislation. The aim of the prince was not as much simply to enfranchise a series of monasteries governed by foreigners, but rather to enforce new regulations as to how monasteries could be submitted to foreign religious establishment. Based on the princely patronage, these new regulations emphasized the authority of the prince, entitled to discipline bad legal habits and to eradicate corruption. In so doing, the prince goes even further and takes this opportunity in order to legislate, in a more generic vein, on the “custom of the monasteries” as such, be them dependent or free. He triggers this way, by means of a patriotic discourse which roots are to be found at the end of the 16th century, a general reform of the monastic life in Wallachia that he will pursue constantly for the next decade. Two of the three documents, from 1640, are edited in the annex of the paper.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: XXX
  • Page Range: 9-54
  • Page Count: 45
  • Language: Romanian