that other houses would follow its example. The patriarch's initiative had only limited success.43

Selim II's confiscation of the Athonite estates marks a watershed in the history of the Holy Mountain. It brought to an end the prosperity and prestige that it had enjoyed for more than two centuries. There were to be no more major foundations after Stavroniketa in 1541. Thereafter the monks of Mount Athos owed much to the generosity of the Orthodox voevody of Moldavia and Wallachia, who had supplied most of the money needed to redeem the properties of the monasteries from the Ottoman state. Another important patron of the Holy Mountain was the tsar of Moscow. Closer cultural relations developed in the early sixteenth century, which intensified with the establishment of the Russian patriarchate in 1589.44 This support from Orthodox rulers represented an enduring legacy of the 'Byzantine Commonwealth', of which Mount Athos had been so vital a focus.

43 J. P. Mamalakes, To Ayiov "Opos (A6a>ç) Sià jéaou twv alœvœv [MaKeSoviK-q BipAioO-K- 33] (Thessalonike: Hetaireia Makedonikon Spoudon, 1971), 254-5.

44 I. Smolitsch, 'Le Mont Athos et la Russie', Le Millénaire du Mont Athos, i, 285-8. Cf. O. Alexandropoulou, O Aiovvaios 'iprp'T-S Kai to spyo tou 'laTopia Tfs Pœaias (Heraklion: Bikelaia Demotike Bibliotheke, 1994).

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