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Unformatted text preview: Rescript of Reform Islahat Ferman (18 February 1856) The guarantees promised on our part by the Hatt- Hmayun of Glhane, and in conformity with the Tanzimat, to all the subjects of my Empire, without distinction of classes or of religion, for the security of their persons and property and the preservation of their honour, are today confirmed and consolidated, and efficacious measures shall be taken in order that they may have their full and entire effect. All the privileges and spiritual immunities granted by my ancestors ab antiquo , and at subsequent dates, to all Christian communities or other non-Muslim persuasions established in my empire under my protection, shall be confirmed and maintained. Every Christian or other non-Muslim community shall be bound, within a fixed period, and with the concurrence of a Commission composed ad hoc of members of its own body, to proceed, with my high approbation and under the inspection of my Sublime Porte, to examine into its actual immunities and privileges, and to discuss and submit to my Sublime Porte the reforms required by the progress of civilization and of the age. The powers conceded to the Christian Patriarchs and Bishops by the Sultan Mehmed II and his successors shall be made to harmonize with the new position which my generous and beneficent intentions ensure to these communities. The principle of nominating the Patriarchs for life, after the revision of the rules of election now in force, shall be exactly carried out, conformable to the tenor of their Firmans of Investiture. The Patriarchs, Metropolitans, Archbishops, Bishops, and Rabbis shall take an oath on their entrance into office according to a form agreed upon in common by my Sublime Porte and the Spiritual heads of the different religious communities. The ecclesiastical dues, of whatever sort or nature they be, shall be abolished and replaced by fixed revenues of the Patriarchs and heads of communities, and by the allocation of allowances and salaries equitably proportioned to the importance, the rank, and the dignity of the different members of the clergy. The property, real or personal, of the different Christian ecclesiastics shall remain intact; the temporal administration of the Christian or other non-Muslim communities shall, however, be placed under the safeguard of an Assembly to be chosen from among the members, both ecclesiastics and laymen, of the said communities. In the towns, small boroughs and villages, where the whole population is of the same religion, no obstacle shall be offered to the repair, according to their original plan, of buildings set apart for religious worship, for schools, for hospitals, and for cemeteries....
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