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By John Philip Thomas, Angela Constantinides Hero

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Additional info for Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents: A Complete Translation of the Surviving Founders' Typika and Testaments (Dumbarton Oaks Studies)

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After the flurry of reform in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the real independence of monasteries tended to diminish, and the ephoroi, like the advocates in the West, increasingly exercised a variety of powers in their own names. 62 These were known as exkousseia; in the West they were called immunities when they involved the exclusion of royal officials from monastic lands and called exemptions when they applied to episcopal authority. (19) Attaleiates for the almshouse at Rhaidestos and the monastery of Panoiktirmon in Constantinople, which dates from 1077, included a privilege of emperor Michael VII Doukas exempting the monks from an elaborate list of obligations, including the billeting of officers and soldiers, various types of provisioning, forced sales and purchases, compulsory services, and any number of payments, levies, and taxes of which the precise nature is uncertain [INV10].

In some houses, the principal role was played by the elder or more preeminent monks, as on Mt. Athos, where Manuel II Palaiologos, in (59) Manuel II, established in 1406 that superiors should be chosen by fifteen councillors and some monks who lived outside the monastery [3]. In most houses the superiors were elected either by all or a majority of the members of the community. In the case of disagreement, in (32) Mamas [1], the superior was chosen by lot, and in (37) Auxentios, the superior of the monastery of the archangel Michael was appointed by the emperor [3].

This fellowship enabled me to complete the word processing of the translations, the corpus of which had by then become quite formidable, and most important of all, provided me with an opportunity to read them at leisure so I could lay the necessary groundwork for the planned commentary. Whatever Angela Hero and I have been able to contribute to this project, its heart and soul was made up of translations contributed by our 14 able and dedicated translators. A word about each of their contributions, therefore, does not seem out of place here.

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