The stauropegion and the patriarchal exarchy have a common point, their submission to the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, their direct dependence on patriarchal power. In both cases, the fact that the monks and the Christian inhabitants are not placed under the local prelate creates special circumstances, and the case of the monastery of Geromeri offered the suitable ground for their study, as during its historic course it went through both these forms of patriarchal dependence. Geromeri was not exclusively a stauropegion; from the early 17th century it became a patriarchal exarchy, under which the Christian populations of the surrounding region were placed. From time to time the Patriarch assigned the exarchy of Geromeri to individuals, who thus earned an annual income in their capacity as katholikoi exarchoi, while the ecclesiastical administration was usually exercised by the abbot of the monastery.
The study of the patriarchal letters extant from the period 1533-1863, which were sent by various Patriarchs in order to settle and confirm affairs and rights of the monastery and the exarchy, reveals the strong interaction that developed in the course of time between the monastery and the local society of Christians. Meanwhile, the Christian inhabitants appear to accept an administrative system with the abbot of the monastery as the ruling authority, directly responsible to the Patriarch of Constantinople.
The texts of the forty letters, unpublished in majority until today, are presented in a critical, commentated edition, together with a historical outline for the settlements of the exarchy of Geromeri. Three more texts regarding Geromeri are also published in the Addendum.
Finally, the book contains a general index of persons, places and terms, facsimiles of a number of the edited texts, as well as maps of the region.