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Athos Holy Mount

Ottoman Documents
14.9 Receipts of payment of the poll tax

Vatopedi Monastery


The Original New Testament

From 1691 and until the abolition of the poll tax in 1839, all non-Moslem subjects of the Ottoman Empire had to procure each year a receipt of payment of this tax, which they were required to carry with them. These receipts were issued in three different colours, corresponding to the tax category of the tax-payer (high, middle or low), and bore five or six large seals, indicating his tax category, the year for which payment was received, the tax district and the names of the receiving officials. The receipt was completed with the name of the tax-payer.

Mount Athos was obliged to pay for three thousand such receipts annually (300 in each of the high and low categories and the remainder in the middle category); these were issued to the Holy Community and distributed to the monasteries according to the number of monks in each, to be supplied to monks when they left the territory of the Community. Large numbers of unused receipts still exist in all the monasteries. Each sheet contains four uncut receipts.

Bibliography: Unpublished.

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