Revista Studii Teologice


JA slide show

Noi date despre moşiile de la Dunăre ale Mănăstirii Radu-Vodă din Bucureşti

New data concerning the estates near the Danube River which belonged to the Radu-Vodă Monastery in Bucharest

Autor(i): Oana-Mădălina POPESCU

In a previous article, entitled “Fragments of the economic history of Radu-Vodă Monastery; documents dating back from the XVIIIth century” we presented, analyzed and published two important documents, dating from mid-18th century, revealing the economic relations established between the hegumens of the Radu-Vodă Monastery in Bucharest and some Turkish officials from Silistra town, then part of the Ottoman Empire. We underlined on that occasion, that the two documents – a letter and a deed – written by two Muslim officials of Silistra, Hassan and Mehmed, in 1729 and 1750 and addressed to the hegumens of the monastery, showed that the two zones were in contact, despite their political, juridical and religious statute. The documents attested that the hegumens of Radu-Vodă Monastery had allowed the officials of Silistra to use some estates in Ialomiţa district (Cuneşti, Rizeşti, Crăceni), for a fee paid to the monastery, as the Turks had only the right to use estates in Wallachia, not to own them. Thus, in our opinion, these two acts were very important not only for the history of that monastic community, but also for the un-derstanding the relations established between Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire.
By means of unpublished historical sources, held by the Central National Ar-chives in Bucharest and also with the help of edited Ottoman documents, dating from the 18th century, we can provide in this paper further information about the estates, near the Danube River, of the Radu-Vodă Monastery in Bucharest. The documents are of outstanding value, as they confirm the fact that Wallachia always kept the autonomy and its domestic institutions and estates and it was not turned into a pachalik nor included in the Ottoman Empire. So, the Muslims were not al-lowed to own estates and lands in Wallachia, but only to use them, as stipulated the old acts and agreements named Ahidname, which established and regulated the political, juridical, religious and economic relations between Wallachia and the Otto-man Empire. The documents also illustrate periods of international tension in connec-tion with the attempts of the officials of Silistra to extend the bounderies of their pachalik (a territory subject to the Ottoman Empire) to the detriment of the Romani-an territory. As it was an act of injustice, the ruler of Wallachia and also the Sultan took action against the guilty persons. The documents presented the steps followed by the Romanian and Turkish authorities in order to stop the injustice and the methods of the investigation of this case. The guiding principle of the investigation was the observance of the law, of the ancient customs and agreements.
Thus, in 1764, Ştefan Mihai Racoviţă, the ruler of Wallachia, ordered an in-vestigation in Rizeşti and Crăceni villages, near the Danube River, two estates be-longing to Radu-Vodă Monastery, because the territory had been invaded by the Turks of Silistra. He appointed a court of inquiry, formed by Romanian boyars and Turkish officials, in order to ascertain the borders of these two estates. On 6 of April 1764, the officials investigated the territory, on the spot, and decided in favour of the Romanian side. The Romanian boyars who participated in the investigation were Nicolae Obedeanu, the great cavalry commander (serdar) and Mihalache, the porter (portar). From the Turkish side were sent the turnahi-başî (who commanded a part of the janissary), the hoge (a Muslim professor) and cadi-effendi (a Muslin judge). The Romanian documents mentioned that the Ottoman part issued a royal decree (hatişerif, Hatt-î-humayun) to stop the transgression. The conclusion drawn by the board of inquiry was that the officials of Silistra had to observe the stipulations of the previous decrees, which established the political and juridical relations between the Ottoman Empire and Wallachia. The decision of the court of inquiry was in favour of the Radu-Vodă monastery and of the hegumen Athanasie, who was allowed to keep Rizeanca and Cuneasca estates. The document also mentioned the borders of these estates and specified that they reached the Danube River. The borders of Crăceni village were also investigated, on 8 of April 1764 and the verdict was also in favour of the Romanian side. The legal proceedings were similar in both cases.
So, the boyars went to the respective villages, Cuneşti, Rizeşti and Crăceni, explored the region carefully and examined their geographical limits. Then, they set their boundaries and mentioned the names of the neighboring villages and also their owners. The boyars also noted the relief and some geographical elements, such as the banks of the Danube River, the valleys, the lakes, the aits and the streams nearby. These Romanian documents have not been published so far. But some Ottoman documents regarding the problem of the boundaries between the Ottoman Empire and Wallachia, in the region of the Danube River, where the Romanian frontier was invaded, were edited by H. Dj. Siruni. Thus they complete the image of this episode in the relations between the two areas and they also certify that the Romanian acts were authentic. On the other hand, they attest that the Turks had not the right to invade the territory of Wallachia. The Ottoman documents, issued in 1763 and 1764 and published by H. Dj. Siruni, reinforced the ancient Romanian right on these terri-tories, which had been invaded by the high-official of Silistra town (nazâr), but with no permission of the Sultan. The Sultan forbade the injustice and stopped the trans-gression, the overrunning of the frontier of the Romanian territory.
The Ottoman acts attested that the invasion was committed by the high-official and commander of Silistra town (nazâr), who wanted to extend the territory of his region, invoking a false and untrue custom, the so-called custom of the 40 steps. The Ottoman documents told us that the high-official of Silistra usurped the Romanian rights and broke the ancient custom. So, the lands should remain in the possession of the Romanian side, as they were in the past. These documents also attested that the conflict was solved with the help of the Muslim witnesses living in the region, by an investigation on the spot and also by checking the ancient charters issued in the past, in favour of the Romanian monasteries. Some other documents allowed us to ascertain the moment when the Radu-Vodă Monastery obtained Crăce-ni village (one of the villages invaded by the Turks). Two deeds, issued on July 9, 1689 and April 3, 1690, respectively, attested that the estate was in possession of a boyar, Ivaşco Bălăceanu, and, after his death and according to his desire, his wife, Maria Bălăceanu, donated the willage to the monastery. The village had been bought by Ivaşco from his cousins and then, he decided to donate it to the monastery. But he died, so the village was given to the monastery by his wife in his stead.
Cuneşti village was in possession of the monastery before the year 1729, when Hassan bimbaşa, a military commander of Silistra, was writing to the hegumen Athanasie about his problems, as we have seen. A document issued on April12, 1724, by the order of Nicolae Alexandru Mavrocordat the voivode of Wallachia, revealed that the villages belonged to the monastery and recorded a conflict between the monastery and the people living in Cuneşti, near the Turkish sheepfold, as they refused to give the owed tithe (a part of the cropping), for using the estate of the monastery. The voivode ordered them to give the due part of the cropping, because they used a property of the monastery. Our document mentioned the syntagm Turk-ish sheepfold (the Turkish term is odaie). So, the act confirmed that the economic relations between the monastery and the Turks had been established before 1729. The Radu-Vodă Monastery in Bucharest was one of the richest and most prosperous religious communities in Wallachia and most of its properties had been donated by the Christians, for their commemoration, as the Diptych of the monastery tells us.
The villages invaded by the Turks and then investigated by the court of in-quiery were Cuneşti, Rizeşti and Crăceni, villages situated near the Danube River, in Ialomiţa county and they belonged, as we have seen, to Radu-Vodă Monastery. But the monastery had some more estates in this region, as the place was favourable for grazing animals and standing sheepfolds. Thus we can also mention some more es-tates of the monastery in the region: Chiseleţ, Murgeni, Cioara, Cornăţel, Găunoşi, Marotin, Nenciuleşti, Obileşti villages, which were located in Ialomiţa and Ilfov coun-ties, not far from the Dabube River and also, we can count Cornăţel and Ialomiţa lakes.
So, all these documents stated that Wallachia had kept its domestic institu-tions, estates and lands and the Turks had not the right to own estates within the Romanian territory, but only to use them, for a fee paid to the owner. The episode we have presented in this paper showed a local conflict, started by official of Silistra, but not initiated by the Sultan. On the contrary, the Sultan interfered in the dispute, to stop it, and reinforced the ancient right in favour of Wallachia. As we have ob-served, the Ottoman acts harshly incriminated the violation of the frontier and the transgression by the official of Silistra and they intended to stop the oppression (zu-lum) and enforce the ancient customs and rights of the Romanians on these territo-ries north of the Danube River.
The verdict of the Sultan, in favour of the Romanian side also underlined that the old acts named Ahiname were still valid in the second half of the XVIII th centu-ry, in the so-called Phanariot period, as they were in the past. For a better under-standing of this episode, we added, at the end of our study, the facsimile and the transcription, in Latin script, of the Romanian documents, as they had been written in Cyrillic script.

Pagini: 137-160