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Churchmen on the Move: Migrations of South Slavic Orthodox Clergy during the Era of Ottoman Rule (1400-1650)

Between the 15th and 17th centuries, numerous South Slavic Orthodox clergymen migrated from the Southeast European territories governed by the Ottomans to neighbouring Orthodox Christian empires or principalities. Studies to date have not sufficiently explored local economic or political realities, contestations over religious and imperial identity, and the resultant vulnerabilities that fuelled these migrations. My tentative hypothesis, based on a research I have carried out on selected hagiographies, manuscript marginalia and correspondence between monks and Orthodox Christian rulers, is that these monastic migrations were driven by intra-ecclesiastical conflicts, doctrinal controversies, absence of patronage and the possibility of career advancement. Given the contemporary political challenges migration flows present to countries across Europe, it is imperative to counteract cultural prejudices by offering a historical and transnational perspective in the study of Southeast European migration.

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