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by Archaeology Newsroom

Exculpating briefs

The issue of exculpating briefs was a practice that gradually developed into a common element of Christian Orthodox reality. Via this “certificate”, obtained through “economic contribution to the church”, dead and living believers could assure their place in Christian Paradise. The practice of issuing exculpating briefs became a general rule in the 16th century, while the last relevant certificate was issued in 1955. TThe exculpating briefs were hand written until the mid-17th century, when they became printed. They were issued by the four Patriarchates of the Orthodox east under Turkish rule.That of Constantinople, of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. They could refer to a single person or to more. The Patriarch of Constantinople alone had the authority to issue exculpating briefs regarding sins or deeds. The earlier known exculpating brief in the Greek language is the one issued in the name of Dositheos Notaras, Patriarch of Jerusalem.