No. XXVII (1996)

Конфискација и продаја манастира (цркава) у доба Селима II (проблем црквених вакуфа)

Aleksandar Fotić
Institute for Balkan Studies, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Published 01.12.1996


  • Ottoman Empire,
  • Selim II,
  • confiscation of church property,
  • fetwa,
  • Christian monasteries

How to Cite

Fotić, A. (1996). Конфискација и продаја манастира (цркава) у доба Селима II (проблем црквених вакуфа). Balcanica - Annual of the Institute for Balkan Studies, (XXVII), 45–77. Retrieved from


With the help of newly found documents the author has tried to shed some more light on the problem of the 'sale of churches' during the rule of Selim II. At that time, the central Ottoman authorities decided to confiscate monasteries/churches and their estates, and to sell them afterwards, leaving the monasteries the priority of buying everything back if they had the necessary funds. According to the legal explanations for this measure contained in the fetwas of Seyh ül-Islam Ebussuud, the 'sale' fully fitted in the years-long efforts by Ottoman law-makers to define, standardize and coordinate with the sharia relations on state lands, and on the other hand it was 'discovered' (after almost two centuries of Turkish rule!), that the 'necessary' sharia formula for bequeathal had not been respected. Due to such an explanations, this measure managed to cover almost every unit of immovable property of monasteries and churches. This second formal explanation concerning the incorrectly bequeathed property and full private possession (mülk), suggests that this measure was not only the result of need for regulating legal relations, but also of the need of the imperial treasury to obtain additional financial means. This was a heavy blow to the already quite impoverished Christian church in the Balkans. By pawning valuables and with the help of new donors, the bigger and richer monasteries somehow managed to collect the necessary funds. Small and poor monasteries and the already abandoned ones fared the worst. Some of them were sold, while others, even if they found ways to by their property back, struggled for decades to pay back their debts.


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