Jesus Christ (obviously the Turks are meant) respect and admire the splendour of the virtues of the holy monks. One reason for this was the kindly way in which the monks received all those, whether they were Greeks, barbarians or infidels, who sought asylum on Mount Athos or were washed up on its shores after shipwreck. The patriarch describes what the monks unstintingly offered to their enforced visitors: food and clothes and shelter; they also helped them with repairs to their ships, or, if their ships were lost, the monks put at their disposal their own ships, full of provisions.14 The inclusion of Turks among those succoured by the monks of Athos points once again to the existence of friendly relations between Mount Athos and the Ottomans in the days of Sultan Orkhan. A likely mediator between the monks and the Ottoman ruler was the emperor John VI Kantakouzenos (1347-54). Not only did he have very close ties with Mount Athos; he was also to become Orkhan's father-in-law.15
Another factor was the triumph of hesychasm, confirmed in 1351 under the auspices of John Kantakouzenos at the council of Blakhernai. It reinforced the spiritual ascendancy of Mount Athos both in Byzantium and among the different Orthodox peoples. One consequence was a spate of new foundations, which attracted monks from all over the Orthodox world. Though the motives behind these new foundations were largely spiritual, material considerations also entered into the reckoning. Mount Athos's comparative safety from Turkish raiding became increasingly attractive to donors. Mount Athos's spiritual eminence equally appealed to Ottoman rulers. As we have seen, protection of holy men and monasteries was part of their Islamic duty, but it cannot have escaped them that it might also be a way of reconciling their Christian subjects to their new masters. The quietism of the hesychasts meant that monasticism never became a focus for Orthodox resistance to the Ottoman advance into the southern Balkans. The tone was set by the hesychast leader Gregory Palamas, who fell into Ottoman hands in 1354. His courteous treatment at the Ottoman court left an excellent impression, even if Palamas never advocated collaboration, as his enemies insinuated.16
It has been important to establish how early close relations were established between the monasteries of Mount Athos and the Ottomans because these guaranteed the continued existence of this revered religious centre. At a time
14 Philotheos Kokkinos, Aoyiianxa "Epya, ed. D. Kaimakes (Thessalonike: Centre of Byzantine Studies, 1983), part 1, 482.104-12, 484.160-78.
15 A. Bryer, 'Greek historians on the Turks: the case of the first Byzantine-Ottoman marriage', in The writing ofhistory in the middle ages: essays presented toRichard William Southern, ed. R. H. C. Davis and J. M. Wallace-Hadrill (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), 471-93.
16 A. Philippidis-Braat, 'La captivité de Palamas chez les Turcs: dossier et commentaire', TM 7 (1979), 109-222.
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