On Tuesday 13 February Vincent Lemire, Open Jerusalem director, and Yann Potin, Open Jerusalem core team member, will give a lecture entitled “Opening the archives of Jerusalem: for a world history of the Holy City” during the workshop “Inside the Cradle of History” jointly organised by the Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem and the Center for Jerusalem studies at Al-Quds University. It will take place at the Old City campus, Damascus Gate, Aqabet Al-Sheikh Rihan.
The prevailing number of documents related to the history of Jerusalem in the Ottoman period, preserved at present in the Oriental Department of the National Library of Jerusalem in the Ottoman period, preserved at present in the Oriental Department of the National Library “Sts Cyril and Methodius” (Sofia, Bulgaria) established in 1878, are organized in two archival fonds: no. 283 (comprising 7 archival units) and no. 283A (comprising 469 archival units). The Oriental Department houses about 500,000 archival units (comprising about 1 million folios) dating from the Ottoman period. They are organized in several collections, the biggest of which is the collection of topographic funds organized according to the place with which the documents are related to.
As part of the documents preserved in Sofia are originating from the Bulgarian lands that were under Ottoman rule from the late fourteenth century to 1878, the history of most of the documents dates back to the early 1930s when the authorities of the recently proclaimed Republic of Turkey – known for their rejection of the Sultan’s rule and the Ottoman legacy – sold large amount of Ottoman documents (being charged in several wagons) to a Bulgarian paper mill in order to be recycled for paper production. When the first wagons arrived the factory owners noticed that the cargo is consisted of Ottoman documents and asked expertise by the Oriental Department. After confirming their historical and archival value all the survived documents were transferred to Sofia to be preserved in the Oriental Department. Since the documents were sent from Constantinople and mostly from the depositories of the former Ottoman ministry of finances they deal mainly with financial issues and are related to all the former Ottoman provinces (in the Balkans, Anatolia, the Arabian peninsula, and North Africa). This explains why documents related to Ottoman Jerusalem (mainly dealing with financial issues) are now to be found in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Another point is the process of the organization of these documents into archival funds formed according to the previously existing Ottoman provinces. The organization was executed in two stages: at the first stage over 1,000 topographical funds have been organized in alphabetical order, while at the second stage funds with similar enumeration with attached “A” have been added, respectively. These funds include mainly documents written in Ottoman Turkish, while those in Arabic have been separated in a special collection of Arabic documents. Hence fonds 283 and 283A contain documents related to Ottoman Jerusalem. Since the key word used by the archivists in the distribution of the documents was the place name appearing in them, the fonds include both documents sent from Jerusalem to the Ottoman capital Constantinople, as well as drafts of documents sent from Constantinople to the local authorities in Jerusalem. Although most of the documents deal directly with Jerusalem proper some documents are related to other places located within the province of Jerusalem such as Jaffa, Hebron, Bethlehem, etc. Some documents are mistakenly distributed to the Jerusalem funds because of the similarity between the Arabic/Ottoman name of Jerusalem – Kuds/Kudüs, and the expression “Kuddise Sırruh” (“May God bless him”) used for the famous mystic Jalal ad-din Rumi (1207–1273) whose tomb is in Konya, Central Anatolia. The same is true also for some other documents in which the mosques and waqfs of Rumi are mentioned.
The documents of fonds 283A are distributed in 469 archival units (that is, folders), put in 7 boxes. Most of the folders contain just one document, but some contain two to three, in rare cases even more documents. Some of the documents are torn and therefore they are just fragments simply because the initial purpose of their transportation to Bulgaria was to be recycled in a paper mill as said above. Some other documents are in a poor condition, the edges being rotten and the text partly illegible. Therefore during the exploration of the fonds 283A some damaged documents had been already taken out for chemical restoration and hence I was unable to include them in the inventory.
The documents of fonds 283A are dating from the mid-16th to the early 20th century. The earliest document is dating from 1550 (fragment of a register of zeamets in the district of Doha), while the latest one is from 1908 (related to revenue collection), respectively. The 19th-century documents prevail, however the number of the 17th- and 18th-century documents is also considerable. In terms of content almost all of them deal with financial issues related mostly to incomes from taxes, expenses for the officers who guarded the fortress of Jerusalem, as well as some other minor fortresses in the region, and transfer of waqf posts with the respective salary from one holder (mostly because of his death) to another holder. Having this in mind, the documents of fonds “Jerusalem” preserved in the National Library in Sofia could be useful for studying the socio-economic history of Jerusalem and its province during the Ottoman period.
Bibliography www.nationallibrary.bg/wp/?page_id=258 (only Bulgarian version is available)
İsmet Binark and Seyit Ali Kahraman, eds., Bulgaristan’daki Osmanlı Evrakı (İstanbul: T.C. Başbakanlık Devlet Arşivleri Genel Müdürlüğü, 1994).
Programme Normes et pratiques du religieux entre Orient et Occident
École française de Rome, École française d’Athènes, Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem
CéSor, CERCEC, Université catholique de Louvain, CRHIA-Université de Nantes
On 29-31 May, 2017 Vincent Lemire and Stéphane Ancel (director and member of the core team of Open Jerusalem) will intervene at the conference “Normes et territorialité entre Orient et Occident : invention, partage et mémoire des espaces sacrés (IXe – XXe s.)”. Their presentation will discuss the role of the Ethiopian Orthodox community in late-Ottoman Jerusalem: “Construire un récit pour justifier une présence : une histoire-palimpseste de la communauté éthiopienne orthodoxe de Jérusalem (vers 1905)”
La géographie du « fait religieux » renvoie à une définition plurielle du territoire entendu comme un espace rattaché à une communauté de croyants. L’évolution de l’Église latine et l’institutionnalisation progressive de ses pratiques a mis en avant les cadres spatiaux de l’administration cultuelle, perçus à travers les frontières entre les juridictions. Pourtant, si ces principes se référaient en apparence aux règles déjà énoncées dans les premiers conciles chrétiens, la tradition issue des christianismes orientaux a continué bien plus longtemps à concevoir les territoires de l’Église comme le produit de phénomènes éminemment sociaux. Dans cette perspective, les espaces sacrés prenaient la forme d’empreintes façonnées par les divers liens entre les lieux de culte ou les sièges de l’autorité cléricale et les rassemblements locaux des fidèles. Ce contraste s’observe notamment dans la nature des structures paroissiales, présentées précocement, dans l’usage latin, comme des unités territoriales et, dans les communautés orientales, confondues avec les implantations de l’administration princière puis désignées comme des « lieux d’affluence » des croyants – ainsi le приход dans les communautés slaves. Enfin, la topographie sacrée emprunte autant au réel qu’au symbolique, dans un échange constant entre les écrits du religieux – Écritures saintes, hagiographie, récits de pèlerinage – les pratiques liturgiques, les usages sociaux et les itinéraires arpentés par les fidèles et les religieux qui participent à la définition d’un « territoire sacré » à partir de lieux sanctifiés. Cette géographie se complique encore par les concurrences entre les Églises et les communautés autour de lieux communs d’une part et par les cadres normatifs, relevant des espaces chrétiens et islamiques, qui définissent l’usage des lieux cultuels d’autre part. Notre rencontre souhaite aborder chacun de ces trois domaines sur le temps long (entre IXe et XIXe siècles) à travers l’étude de cas concrets choisis dans les zones de contact entre les christianismes d’Occident et d’Orient, depuis le sud de la péninsule Italienne jusqu’aux régions de la Méditerranée orientale, en passant par les régions de l’Europe orientale et balkanique.
Perhaps the most contested patch of earth in the world, Jerusalem’s Old City experiences consistent violent unrest between Israeli and Palestinian residents, with seemingly no end in sight. Today, Jerusalem’s endless cycle of riots and arrests appears intractable—even unavoidable—and it looks unlikely that harmony will ever be achieved in the city. But with Jerusalem 1900, historian Vincent Lemire shows us that it wasn’t always that way, undoing the familiar notion of Jerusalem as a lost cause and revealing a unique moment in history when a more peaceful future seemed possible.
In this masterly history, Lemire uses newly opened archives to explore how Jerusalem’s elite residents of differing faiths cooperated through an intercommunity municipal council they created in the mid-1860s to administer the affairs of all inhabitants and improve their shared city. These residents embraced a spirit of modern urbanism and cultivated a civic identity that transcended religion and reflected the relatively secular and cosmopolitan way of life of Jerusalem at the time. These few years would turn out to be a tipping point in the city’s history—a pivotal moment when the horizon of possibility was still open, before the council broke up in 1934, under British rule, into separate Jewish and Arab factions. Uncovering this often overlooked diplomatic period, Lemire reveals that the struggle over Jerusalem was not historically inevitable—and therefore is not necessarily intractable. Jerusalem 1900 sheds light on how the Holy City once functioned peacefully and illustrates how it might one day do so again.
Vincent Lemire, Open Jerusalem director, will give a double lecture at the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University next Tuesday, April 18th, on his current research concerning the Harat al-Moghrabi and on the work conducted within the Open Jerusalem project.
See the full program here.
Thursday, Mar. 2
5:30-7:30 p.m. Critical Conversations Panel “Palestine-Israel in the Trump Era”
with Rashid Khalidi, Sherene Seikaly, and Brown Faculty J. Brian Atwood and Omer Bartov. Moderator: Beshara Doumani
Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street
7:45 p.m. Dinner for Critical Conversations panel speakers and workshop presenters at Brown Faculty Club
Shuttle Faculty Club to Biltmore hotel, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence
Friday, March 3
8:15 and 8:25 a.m.
Transfers for presenters from Biltmore hotel to Watson Institute
8:30-9:00 a.m. Registration and continental breakfast
Vincent Lemire, Yann Potin and Roch Payet will animate the seminar on “Open Jerusalem: « l’identité citadine » de Jérusalem entre 1840 et 1940” that will be held in Paris at the French National Institute of Heritage on the 20th of February, 2017. For more information please click here.
L’histoire de Jérusalem à la fin de l’Empire ottoman a longtemps été oubliée et mérite d’être racontée. On y croise un maire arabe polyglotte, un député ottoman franc-maçon, des Juifs levantins, mais aussi des archéologues occidentaux occupés à creuser le sous-sol pour faire ressurgir les lieux saints de la « Jérusalem biblique »…
La ville n’a pas toujours été un champ de bataille. À l’orée du XXe siècle, une autre histoire s’est esquissée, portée par l’émergence d’une identité citadine partagée entre musulmans, juifs et chrétiens.
Alors que la ville sainte est aujourd’hui à un nouveau tournant de son histoire et que la question de son partage se pose une fois encore, il faut se souvenir de cet « âge des possibles » qui peut livrer quelques clés pour mieux comprendre le présent et envisager l’avenir.
VINCENT LEMIRE est maître de conférences à l’université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée. Spécialiste d’histoire urbaine, il dirige actuellement le projet européen Open-Jerusalem, qui vise à rassembler toute la documentation disponible dans toutes les langues sur l’histoire de Jérusalem.
“Jerusalem is now become a central point of interest to France and Russia. It is no doubt the object of Russia to subjugate the primitive church of the countries.”
Letter from William Tanner Young, British Vice Consul in Jerusalem to Stratford Canning, ambassador of the United Kingdom in Constantinople, January 8, 1844.
Since the early surveys, the question of the documentation of the Russian presence in Jerusalem from 1840 constitutes a major challenge for the Opening Jerusalem Archives project. The recently increased and strategic presence of Russia in the Middle East, the presence of the archives both inside Jerusalem and abroad, undoubtedly requires patient investigation, specially because the records are not immediately accessible. Guided by previous research conducted by Elena Astafieva, we decided to identify in the Russian archives some relevant fonds in order to explore the intimate relations between the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian imperial patronage and the city of Jerusalem.
Between espionage and messianism: the Russian presence in Jerusalem
The pilgrimage to Jerusalem has been indeed of decisive importance for Russian Christianity since the 19th century, when the mystical value of the pilgrimage as an element of messianic tendencies within the Russian Orthodoxy got more interest. The number of Russian pilgrims to Jerusalem each year is then at least five times as numerous as the Catholic or Protestant pilgrims from Western Europe. Historians have noted and underlined this feature, indicating what strategic role it played in the Eastern policy of the Tsarist Empire (see for example the recent book of Lorraine de Meaux, La Russie et la tentation de l’Orient, Paris, Fayard, 2010, pp. 278-291). Marking its presence in Jerusalem, was for the Empire of the Tsars a way to penetrate the heart of its biggest rival, the Ottoman Empire, which he continuously persisted on eroding the boundaries since the eighteenth century. While until 1917 the Tsars continued to claim their right on Constantinople, sending missionaries to Jerusalem constituted also a form of diplomatic espionage. In parallel, a latent conflict or competition between the Greeks and the Russians took place, following ancient divisions within Orthodox Christianity. That is the reason why it is necessary to investigate the Greek archives (in Jerusalem, Athens or Istanbul) in order to have a better understanding of the Russian presence in Jerusalem. This presence was constantly growing and that’s why, in the 1880s, outside the walls of the Old City, near the hospital Notre-Dame-de-France, a wide hospice, known since then as the “Russian Compound“, was built. It could simultaneously accommodate more than 1,000 patients and pilgrims. It became quickly the first core of a real Russian neighborhood, nowadays integrated in the old part of West Jerusalem, making it not only a pavement in the history of diplomacy, but also a matter of urban development. This complexity raises the question of the scattering of archives regarding the relations between Russia, the Russians and the city of Jerusalem. The situation became even more complicated after 1917 when the Soviet Union seemed to lose interest for the Russian presence in the ‘Holy Land’ and until the pots-1948 concession of the Russian compound to the state of Israel. The eventual location, preservation and the very presence of the Archives in the building are still to be verified. A major Russian emigration to Palestine, also after internal schisms within the Russian Orthodox church, has never stopped during the interwar period, increased by the growing issue of Russian Jews, which formed a decisive part of aliyot to Israel and particularly Jerusalem.
The Russian missionaries and their records
An initial investigation about the first Russian missionaries was prepared during a meeting with Elena Astafieva on March 17 in Paris. Elena Astafieva has already published about the Imperial Palestine Society founded in 1881. Therefore she contributed to identify many records and archives. The first prospecting mission in Saint Petersburg archives conducted by Angelos Dalachanis, Vincent Lemire and Yann Potin took place in April 2016 (18-21).
One of the cultural activities of the Company until 1917 consisted in publishing sources and archival documents about the early years of the “Russian presence” in Jerusalem, as Derek Hopwood names it (The Russian Presence in Syria and Palestine, 1843-1914, Oxford, 1969). Historiography retains indeed 1843 as a founding date: this date corresponds to the secret mission held between December 1843 and August 1844 by the Archimandrite Porphyry Uspenski in Jerusalem, followed by a second mission between 1847 and 1854. However, the Russian ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem was officially recognized only in 1858, after the Crimean War. In 1865, the arrival of Antonin Kapustin at the head of this Mission opened a long period of activity and sustainable investments, until the death of Kapustin in 1894 (see the article by Lucien J. Frary ). Elena Astafieva indicated several possible accesses to the dispersed fonds of Antonin Kapustin: the Academy of Sciences (see image 0) whose archives collect part of the fonds Dimitrievski (fond 214), former secretary of the Imperial Society; the Historical Archives (RGIA) (see image 1) that gather a relevant part of Kapustin’s diary, including several volumes that are to be edited by the publishing house Indrik (see image 2), and finally the Russian National Library.
Archival oasis: the Archive of the Academy of Sciences of Saint Petersburg
Science Academy archives have been the main place of investigation during this mission (see image 3 and 4). Apart for the fond 214 (Dimitrievski, former secretary of the Imperial Society), we analysed the richness of the archives of Porphyry Uspenski – Fond 118 – following the suggestion of the director of the Academy archives, Irini Tunkina (see image 5), who warmly welcomed us and offered the Open Jerusalem project a guide to these archives (see image 6).
The fond 214 contains some correspondence of Antonin Kapustin (see image 7) in 1865-1874. Most of the letters received were in Russian, but an important part of them are in Greek. Decrypted by Angelos Dalachanis (see image 8), they show a close and complex relationship with the Greek or Arab Orthodox communities. Several letters in French or Italian testify the extension of Kapustin relations with the local society. In total, this correspondence represents nearly 4000 pages. It requires a detailed analysis, and an inventory describing each document would not help us find our way. We should therefore find another way to give value to the historical richness of these records.
The fond 118 is very complete. It is described by a printed inventory from 1891, six years after the assassination of Uspenski in 1885 by Sirku (see image 10). Numerous papers have been published from this fond, starting with the diary, extremely rich, by Archimandrite Porphyry Uspenski (Knyga Bytia moevo, 8 volumes from 1894 to 1910 see image 11 and 12) or several original reports and memoirs (the first in 1844) especially one by Bezobrazov in 1910. However, many biographical material, including official documents relating to its mission, the passport or the original firman (inventory 1, No. 30-31) remained unpublished. Furthermore, the materials on the two missions of Jerusalem are grouped into five registers (inventory 1, No. 32-36), which represent almost one thousand pages.
There are many account (otchets), memories (zapiska), drafts minutes and accounts (tetrad) mostly unpublished, which at least deserve a new investigation. They document mostly the period 1848-1854, corresponding to the second mission of Uspensky funded up to 10,000 rubles a year by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Charles Nesselrode. There are glimpses of the many “gifts” made to the Greek Patriarchate, the attempts to purchase or rent some buildings in Jerusalem (including a development plan), but also the episode of 1854 that shows Uspensky convincing the Greek Patriarchate Orthodox to establish an Arab printing press and the implementation of a seminary. These records require deep analysis, to distinguish what has already been published. Certainly this fond will be of considerable interest from the Open Jerusalem research program.
After this first survey in the Russian archives (see image 13), the team, guided by Lora Gerd, professor at the Historical Institute in Saint Petersburg, will continue the work in the archives of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. A second OJ mission is therefore organised from Sept. 11 to Sept. 16, 2016.
L’ERC Open Jerusalem, projet de recherche piloté par Vincent Lemire et dont Leyla Dakhli, chercheure au CMB, est membre, sera l’hôte du Centre Marc Bloch les 18 et 19 janvier prochains (séminaire de travail dans la salle Georg Simmel).
Deux moments de discussion publique seront proposés à l’ensemble des personnes intéressées (en anglais).
Une présentation publique du projet par Vincent Lemire et Yann Potin aura lieu le 18 janvier à 17h. Les historiens et archivistes réunis dans le projet travaillent à connecter les archives de la ville – présentes aussi bien à Jérusalem que dans le monde entier, écrites dans de multiples langues et alphabets – pour en écrire collectivement une histoire globale. Seront présentés les enjeux liés à l’ouverture des archives, à leur recensement et à leur utilisation par les chercheurs.
Le 19 janvier à partir de 14h, un séminaire ouvert au public portera sur les archives allemandes et germanophones de Jérusalem.