VII, 2011, 2

The Princely Charters from 1760, 1762 and 1767 for Jacob of Putna. Text and Metatext | p. 67–102

Christian Orthodox thinking, Ioan Teodor Callimachi, Metropolitan Gavriil Callimachi, Metropolitan Jacob of Putna, self-sacrifice


In 1760, after 10 fruitful years as a Metropolitan of Moldavia, Jacob of Putna resigned and withdrew to the Putna Monastery, where he lived for another 18 years, having a very rich activity. There exist a charter from Prince Ioan Teodor Callimachi (1758–1761) and two charters from his son, Prince Grigore Callimachi (1761–1764 and 1767–1769), in regard to Jacob’s status after resignation. The reason he resigned was that the Prince wanted the new Metropolitan – his brother Gavriil Callimachi, whom he brought from the see of Thessalonica – to unbind the curse that Jacob had placed upon the tax on cattle, which tax was very impoverishing for the country.

Taking into account the events of 1760 as well as the good relations of the former Metropolitan with the Callimachi family after this year, the author uses elements of Christian Orthodox thinking to provide for a coherent model of what had happened. The conclusion is that Jacob’s freely assumed self-sacrifice avoided the rupture between the Prince and the Metropolitan and, on the long run, lead to the elimination of the tax on cattle. Comparisons with other personalities from the Christian Orthodox realm, such as John Chrysostom, Boris and Gleb, Prince Lazarus of Serbia and other saints, also helped the author to reach this conclusion.

Thus, the gesture of resignation was a free one, from the series of gestures of power of the type sacrificing oneself for the good of the community, and an element that confines Metropolitan Jacob to the category of a “saintly man”.