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near Edessa, together with its villages, churches and other properties, to the monastery of St Paul. Fear of the Turks had a part to play because Edessa was to fall in that year to Sultan Murad I. This will explain why Baldouin expressed the wish that future lords, be they Christians or Muslims, respect his act of donation, while at the same time revealing his state of uncertainty. It is obvious that he was surrendering Mesonesiotissa and its properties to his brother on Mount Athos in a desperate bid to protect the monastery against present circumstances. The same strategy can be seen at a lower social level, where some of the few surviving peasant freeholders sold or donated their property to the Athonite houses.

Some individuals donated properties or sums of money - often of around one hundred hyperpyra - to the Athonite monasteries, on condition that they would receive an annual income in exchange. Such an arrangement involved the long-established institution of adelphata, which acquired new features in this period. For example, it became an investment, which could be made for a third party, be it a sister or a son.20 The monasteries were offering what we would call nowadays an annuity. Often being paid in kind, it was even more advantageous to the monastery, because it provided a lucrative way of disposing of its agricultural surplus.

The number of the monks increased in Mount Athos as many settled there to save themselves from the tribulations of continual warfare. The father of St Nektarios took his two sons and retreated to a monastery after a devastating Turkish raid; St Philotheos and his brother, recruited as janissaries but then miraculously liberated, took refuge in a monastery.21 Monks came to Mount Athos from all parts of the Balkans under threat from Ottoman conquest; they spoke different languages, but mostly a variant of Slavonic. This reinforced Athos's popular and cosmopolitan character.22 With Stefan Dusan the Serbian presence on the Holy Mountain became more marked and challenged the Greek dominance. Between 1356 and 1371 Mount Athos was administered by Serbians, known as Servoprotoi.23 However, Serbian influence declined

20 N. Oikonomides, 'Monastères et moines lors de la conquête ottomane', SüdostForschungen 35 (1976), 6-8; Laiou, 'Economic activities of Vatopedi in the fourteenth century', 66-9.

21 E. A. Zachariadou, 'A safe and holy mountain: early Ottoman Athos', in Mount Athos and Byzantine monasticism, 128-9; B. Papoulia, 'Die Vita des Heiligen Philotheos vom Athos', Südost-Forschungen 22 (1963), 274-80.

22 Oikonomides, 'Monastères et moines lors de la conquête ottomane', 8-10.

23 C. Pavlikianof, ZAaßoi lovaxoi uro 'Ayiov Opos âvo rov I' à>s rov IZ'alœva (Thessalonike: University Studio Press, 2002), 141-50; R. Radic, "H Movq Baro^eSiou Kai ^ üepßia urov IE' aîrâva', in Monastery of Vatopedi, 87-96.

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