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Emet m'Tsiyon

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Neophytos the Greek monk attached to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, was especially upset by the news that the top leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church in Constantinople had been executed as part of suppression of the Greek revolt. What is noteworthy is that when later news came that the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Polycarpos (who regularly lived in Constantinople), was still alive, the local Muslims became angry with the Greek Orthodox in Jerusalem. When a Muslim populace becomes angry at a group of dhimmis, an opportunity is opened up --so it seems-- for the Muslim notables to extort money from the dhimmis, supposedly in order to keep their fellow Muslims calmed down, as probably occurred in this case, among other pretexts.

On May 27 [1821] came the bitter news which quickly spread throughout Jerusalem, that on Easter Sunday, April 10, all the Archbishops and the Patriarchs, Gregory of Constantinople and Polycarpos of Jerusalem, had been hanged in Constantinople. This was a source of great grief and sorrow to us, but of great joy and happiness to our enemies. About two weeks later we were assured that Polycarpos, by the mercy of God, was still alive. At this news the Turkish populace [= the local Arab Muslims, Neophytos sometimes uses the term Turk for Muslims generally] grew rabid against the Christians. The notables were growing audacious and found excuse and pretexts for wringing large sums of money from us.
Those extorting money included the mutesellim (governor), Suleiman Effendi, and his assistant, Musa Bey of Gaza.

The wicked deeds done by these two accursed against us, the Community of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Christians of Jerusalem, in order to extort money. For want of time to write everything in detail, I write the following only in order that you may know their wickedness . . . This infamous Musa Bey seized a Christian porter [load carrier] and threatened to hang him if he refused to do what he was told. He then ordered him to declare to the judge in the Law Courts that one night the monks hired him to carry twelve barrels of explosives and as many barrels of lead. Fearing death the porter promised to make this statement. On going to the court Musa Bey declared before the judge and the rest of the ench that the Greeks (Romei) had in their monasteries powder magazines, guns, etc., and he called the porter as a witness. But, by the providence of God, the judge guessed the slander and asked the porter in Turkish how many barrels of explosives he had transported. The Porter, terrified at the Judge, forgot the correct number and gave the number as fifty-two (elliki) instead of twelve (oniki). Again the Judge asked him how many barrels, and he replied twenty-two (ghirmiki). The judge thereupon, sent him away saying to those who were seated by him: "Yilan soyler, iftirader." ("He lies, it is slander"). Then he warned the Tufekgi Bashi and the rest not to try such a thing again, nor to spread stories to excite the Moslem populace against the Rayahs, for such things might cause great trouble and loss to the Government.

The above happened on June 12 [1821].

Here a Muslim judge protected the Greek Orthodox, seeing through the manipulation of the city governor's assistant. Note that the judge gave as a reason for not harassing the Greek Orthodox that way that "such things might cause great trouble and loss to the Government." He did not say that it was wrong in principle, although maybe he did think so.

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NeoPhytos' account of repercussions in Israel of the Greek Revolt will continue.

We are going to soon try to put up photos of the bas-reliefs on the Arch of Titus in Rome, physical testimony to the Great Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire.


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