Sigillion issued by the Ecumenical Patriarch
Jeremiah II the Tranos. 1583.
The archive, which for the greater
part of the monastery’s history has been kept in the tower, contains
670 Greek documents, several Ottoman documents and one Rumanian
document, not to mention a large number of documents dealing with
the monastery’s financial relations with its dependent kellia and
the transactions of the Fathers during Turkish rule and after.
The organization of a good archive was a fundamental task for Pantokrator
(and indeed for all Athonite monasteries) as only with the preservation
of original grants and ratifying deeds and their copies could the
monastery safeguard its properties and protect its metochia against
Despite the vicissitudes caused by extraordinary events such as
the destructive fire of 1392 or historical circumstances such as
Turkish rule, the archive of the monastery continued to be enriched.
At the same time efforts never ceased to be made for its proper
organisation and use throughout the period from the sixteenth to
the nineteenth century. Additionally, during the last centuries
of Turkish rule the deeds relating to the foundation of the monastery
were translated and the library’s capacity was increased to include
a large number of documents primarily of a financial nature (bonds,
contracts and so on) as well as official correspondence.
Print of the lead seal of the Ecumenical
Patriarch Jeremiah II. 1583.
Some very important work on the classification
of archive documents was done in the early nineteenth century by
a three-member “Committee for the Classification of the Monastery’s
Archive” consisting of Prohegoumeni Joachim, Alexios and Archimandrite
Athanasius. This committee worked systematically and completed its
task in July 29, 1926 with the classification and registration of
the documents pertaining to “the freedom of the Monastery as well
as the proprietorship and possession and the history in general”
of its metochia up to 1926. The catalogue of the relevant documents
filed in Codex 4 and entitled “Codex of the Archive of the Holy
Monastery of Pantokrator” includes 24 sections, divided according
to the geographical location of the monastery’s metochia, and is
considered to be a work ahead of its time.
The most important documents of the archive have been published
by M. Gedeon in 1889 and 1899, by L. Petit in 1903 and by V. Kravari
in 1991. Sixteen of the published documents of the Byzantine period
are originals, the oldest being a document of 1107 regulating the
boundaries of the monastery of St Demetrios the Kynopodes. Three
of them are chrysobulls of the Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus. Another
thirteen are old copies, the oldest being a document dated February
1039 and pertaining to the monastery of Phalakrou.
Recently the first part of the work by A. Pardos was published,
containing epitomes of documents from the monastery’s archives covering
the period 1039 to 1801. Publication of the second part is pending,
as is the publication of Ottoman documents of the fifteenth century.
Detail from an Ottoman firman. 1790.