It seems agreed upon that one or more representatives from Lvov traveled to either investigate, visit or out Shabtai Tzvi in 1666 when he was still claiming to be the mashi'ach. Immediately following this meeting he [at least nominally] converted to Islam. It also seems accepted that the visitors had some relationship to the Ta"z, who was the av bes din at the time.

Encyclopedia Judaica has at least three conflicting stories of the nature and events of this meeting written by three different authors - one of whom (Abraham David) cites the work of another (Gershon Scholem) as a source. And I've heard yet other versions elsewhere.

What really happened? Who was sent from Lvov? What was their mission? What happened at the meeting in Gallipoli?

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    If you're interested in this topic generally, I recommend the book "The Lost Messiah" by John Freely, which delves deeply into the life and times of Tzvi. – Daniel Lyons Jan 6 '12 at 6:20

Scholem says it was the Taz's son and stepson, Reb Aryeh Leib. Their mission was to meet and determine the legitimacy of S"T as a Talmid Chochom and Tzaddik. According to Scholem he wowed them and they left convinced of his righteousness and status as the messiah with a present of a garment for the ailing Taz to wear as a segulah for improved health. Scholem quotes all this from other sources on page 600. The end of 1666 is when S"T YS"V converted but the news did not hit most of bnei ashkenaz until 1667.

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  • Actually, it was in 1666 (5426), on the 16th of Elul. – Alex Mar 16 '10 at 18:27
  • You're right. The news did not hit bnei ashkenaz until 5427 and in some places until 1667. – Yahu Mar 17 '10 at 2:31

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