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  • Writer's picturepeter clings

Why did Matthias Corvinus disband the Cistercian Monastery of Kerz?

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

The Cistercians were established in Transylvania in 1206, when they were granted a property at the Western edge of the Romanian Duchy of Fagaras as per the official Grant by Andrew II of Hungary

The Monastery of Kerz at its heyday looked like in the image below

There were two such monasteries in the Medieval Kingdom of Hungary. Beside the one at Kerz (see Carta Monastery ) there was an older one Egres_Abbey. Both monasteries got destroyed during the First Mongol Invasion. Out of the two Cistercinian monasteries, only this one was rebuilt after the destruction suffered during the First Mongol Invasion of Hungary

For literary purposes, I try to build a case for a connection with the Romanians by highlighting some interesting fact about. More research would be needed following in the footsteps of Leopold_Janauschek to determine any reality behind the subject. The fact is that the researcher did analyze and publish a host of documents from the monastery available in his time dating back to the 13th and 14th century

Here starts the literature part (historical fantasy). Although build at the heartland of the Romanian speaking region of Southern Transylvania it was able the expand its influences across the mountains into the Principality of Wallachia. The satellite map below, knowing well that the Mountain passages were closely guarded secrets for the locals, it appears as strange the straight-line connection between this one and its counterpart at Curtea de Arges

Matthias Corvinus, the King of Hungary did disband the Monastery in February 27, 1474 during the time of Radu cel Frumos while his warlike elder brother Vlad the Impaler was held in captivity at Visegrád from 1463 to 1475 for alleged treason. He was challenging the Ottomans too much and money for support sent by the papacy just vanished along the way without reaching the Wallachian prince (the papal investigation conducted during that time for that reason is subject to another posting)

The dismantling of the Monastery was in order to quell the Wallachian influence in the region. Radu the Fair was trying to promote one of his protegees from the Monastery of Saint Nicholas in Curtea de Arges as an Abbot to the Monastery of Kerz probably to safeguard the independent communication line the Wallachians had with the Papacy, and also to take possession of all the archives that the Monastery may have possessed

Just 7 years earlier, Matthias attacked the earliest capital city of Moldova, the city of Baia (see Battle of Baia) where his army destroyed the local Catholic Bishopric and its Chapter (the notary, archives etc). That was in order to make Stephen III the Great slow down with his fights against the Ottomans too after retaking the City port of Chilia (see Kiliya)

Further, in 1487 the King ordered the evacuation of the city of Fagaras of its Romanian inhabitants. That was the capital city of the Romanian autonomous duchy that belonged to the Basarab princes as part of the Vassalage agreements with the Hungarian Kingdom. The property was taken up by an appointed official (such as Pál Tomori) and any previous legacy of a Wallachian connection was later removed

During the second part of Matthias’ reign, his stand against the Ottoman Empire was of complacency. He never took the initiative again against them, although a lot of people including the Pope urged him to do just as his great father John Hunyadi did before him. But, he was conscious of the precarious and unsustainable position his kingdom was at his time. He made great efforts to contain his local aristocracy in line, and tried to promote his natural son John Corvinus. He wanted to cut any chances of indirect involvement against the Ottomans via the agreements with Wallachian or Moldavian on vassalage

In a nutshell, within a span of 7 years, Matthias managed to completely severe and erase any written archives that would connect the upper class of both extra Carpathian Principality to the Hungarian Kingdom. That was in order to give up on the Wallachians and Moldovans regarding any notion of Vassalage given that people like Stephen III the Great and Vlad Tepes could have continued to confront the Ottomans

All the mobile properties of the Monastery including the archives, were transferred to the Catedrala Evanghelică din Sibiu and might be fund still hidden in the catacombs beneath it

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