The Peaceful Liberation of the Holy Places in the XIV Century

I - 5 First Seljuk Turk Period (1071-1098)

The Seljuk Turks of Persia conquered Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Syria and Palestine. They occupied the Sacred Sites and were the first to impose an entrance tax on pilgrims who desired to visit these sites. No cleric of any rite was allowed to remain within the Sanctuaries. They could not remain there as caretakers or functionaries.
From a juridical viewpoint this first period of the Holy Places (333-1071) could be termed "uniform" because the clergy who guarded the Holy Places were independent of the reigning government. After 1071 a new era began. From the juridical viewpoint it could be termed "multiform" because the responsibility for the sites was divided into diverse categories between Turkish, Arab, and Christian responsibility for all or part of the sites. The Turkish or Arab government was in charge, but there was a Christian functionary at the sites. According to Moslem legislation any places of cult were the property of the government and the government maintained the right to grant their use. If the site was ruined, it could be sold or given as a present.
The Emperors of Constantinople were not able to resign themselves to the reality that they had lost both the territory of the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Places in Palestine. On the other hand, the European governments tolerated the fact that the loss of the Holy Places was an irrevocable reality. Palestinian territory and its Sanctuaries belonged to the victorious government. More than eight hundred years of historical experience was the reason for this conviction.


Return to The Peaceful Liberation of the Holy Places