תמונות בעמוד

After the expulsion of Photius, the breach between the Latin and Greek Churches was made up and harmony tolerably well restored; though in several instances the Greeks betrayed a spirit of animosity against the Latins. The wound had not received a perfect cure, and in 1053 it was opened afresh by Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, who upon frivolous pretences and groundless accusations against the Latins, revived the schism, and drew into his party among others the patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem. The emperors themselves then joining in the cause, contributed much in the sequel to spread the infection through the eastern empire. And thus the Greeks were separated a se. cond time from the unity of faith, and from the centre and prop of that unity, the church of Rome. In 1269 Michael Palæologus, emperor of the Greeks, alarmed by the victorious arms of Charles of Anjou, king of Sicily, and fearing being attacked by him, applied to the pope, desiring his holiness would prevail with Charles not to direct his arms against the Greeks. The better to gain his end, Michael promised the pope to come into measures for putting an end to the schism and re-uniting the Greek to the Latin Church. This proposal was agreeable to his holiness, as it offered what had been several times attempted, but in vain, by the preceding popes. They had repeatedly exhorted the emperors and patriarchs of Constantinople to recognize their ancient mother, and unite in faith. This salutary advice had been rejected, but now circumstances appeared more favourable than ever for a union: - in hopes therefore of success, a council was held in 1274 at Lyons, consisting of five hundred bishops, Pope Gregory X. presiding at it in person. Michael Palæologus, emperor of Constantinople, sent ambassadors to the council to press the union of the two churches. They being arrived, and the council assembled, the emperor's letter was read, containing his profession of the true orthodox faith; after which he added: “ We acknowledge this to be the true, holy, Catholic; and orthodox faith, and we receive and confess it with heart and mouth, the same as the Church of Rome teaches; and we promise to keep it inviolably. We acknowledge the supremacy of the Roman Church,” &c. Then was read the letter of the Greek prelates, written in the names of thirtyfive archbishops with their suffragans, who nearly made up the whole number of the schismatic bishops. In this letter they expressed their concurrence to the re-union of The two Churches. In consequence therefore of these pro

[ocr errors]

fessions and declarations, the union was concluded and rati: fied.

This was a fair prospect, but soon vanished. The Greek emperor had used violent methods to extort the consent of the orientals, for the union; and therefore for want of sincerity it could not be expected to hold. In effect, as soon as the Greeks saw they might have a protector in the person of the duke of Patras, who was an enemy to the union, they openly declared against it, and joining the duke, rebelled against their sovereign. Their party was strengthened by many of the emperor's own family; and his nearest relations, whoin he sent at the head of his troops against the malecontents, some would not act, and others revolted from him. Such was the animosity and insolence of the schismatics, that having assembled a synod, they presumed to anathematize the pope and the emperor and their adherents. This violent renunciation of the union was afterwards further confirmed by Andronicus, who succeeding his father Michael in the empire, retracted what he had formerly done in favour of that transaction, saying he had been compelled to it by the authority of his father..

Many attempts were made in the sequel by the popes to renew the union, but they proved unsuccessful; till at last in 1437 a fresh negotiation being set on foot between the Greek emperor John Palæologus and pope Eugenius IV. it was agreed that a general council should be held, of both the Greeks and Latins, in the west, for that important object. In pursuance of this determination, a council being appointed and opened at Ferrara by the pope himself in 1438, the emperor and the patriarch of Constantinople, with twenty oriental archbishops and bishops, and a great number of other Greek clergy of distinguished abilities and merit, repaired thither. The patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, sent also their deputies. Some inconveniences happening at Ferrara, the council was transferred with the consent of the Greeks to Florence. There all difficulties being discussed, the emperor, the patriarch of Constantinople, and the Greek bishops, professed, according to the faith of the Roman Catholic Church, that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and the Son, and that the pope was head of the universal Church, &c. Then the re-union of the two Churches was agreed to, and a decree drawn up for that purpose. In this decree were contained the articles of faith above-mentioned, and other points which the Greeks had consisted, and which

were now defined conformable to the Catholic doctrine. The pope, the emperor, and all the Greeks, as well as Latins, subscribed the decree, except Mark, archbishop of Ephesus, who alone among the Greeks refused to sign it. Then they all kissed the pope's hand, and embraced one another in token of union and mutual charity. Thus was this momentous affair concluded in 1439.

The eyes of all Christendom had been attentively fixed on this council, and the happy issue of it diffused universal joy through the Catholic Church. What event indeed could possibly be inore desirable, than that so large a body of Christians, separated for so many ages from the unity of faith, should at length be brought back, and re-enter into the bosom of their mother-Church? But this bright sunshine of concord and joy had only einerged from one cloud, presently to be intercepted by another. When the emperor and the Greeks arrived at Constantinople, they found the clergy of that city violently prepossessed against the union, and had inspired the people with the same disposition. They reviled bitterly all those who had signed it, calling them traitors and apostates, and they extolled with the highest encomiums Mark of Ephesus, for his courage in refusing alone his consent. This obstinate prelate seeing the tide run thus in his favour, availed himself of it, to declaim and write against the union. In fine, the schismatics worked themselves up to such a degree of rage, that an inundation of libels soon appeared, fraught with virulence, calumnies, and falsehoods. So much opposition and ill-treatinent those met with who had been at the council of Florence and assented to the union, made such impression upon them, that many lost courage, yielded to the stream, and gave up the cause. They even renounced what had been done, and setting up to oppugn the faith they had embraced, they greatly contributed to increase the party. To complete the misfortune, the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, stirred up by the schismatic bishop of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, assembled a synod in 1443, in which they condemned what had been done at Florence, and threatened to excommunicate the emperor if he continued to adhere to the Latins. The deference which the orientals paid to these patriarchs, influenced them to receive their determination, and to remain in schism. Russia likewise and Muscovy, which had adopted some centuries before the schism of the Greck, followed now their example, rejected the union, and imprisoned the pope's legate who came to propose it to them.

shall pass over their incursions into France and Italy, and the barbarities they there committed.

By so many conquests this new empire grew at last to such a bulk, that it became too'unwieldiy in the hands of one ruler. This did not escape the observation of the governors, who had been appointed by the caliph over the different provinces with large corps of troops under their command. Sensible at the same time of their own strength, and ambitious to be themselves masters, they renounced their subjection to the Arabian caliph, and set up their own authority. These rebellions gave rise to civil wars, which divided the empire into a number of independent principalities. But notwithstanding the Mahometan power was thus weakened, the several princes still retained the same ambition to enlarge their dominions. In that view, about the beginning of the eleventh century, some of them carried their arms into the vast country of Indostan, and reduced a great part of it.

Afterwards others of these princes or sultans, as they were then called, made farther irruptions into the Asiatic provinces of the Greek or Constantinopolitan empire, where they obtained new acquisitions. They were aided in these conquests by different tribes of Tartars, or Turks, that came to them from the northern countries above the Caspian sea, and quitting idolatry embraced Mahometanism. Aladin, sultan of Iconium in lesser Asia, had in particular received such considerable services from a tribe of these Tartars under the command of Othman, that he made this chief his lieutenant general. Upon Aladin's death, Othman obtained the sovereignty of his country, and thus laid the foundation of the Turkish monarchy at Iconium, about the year 1300. From him is the imperial Turkish family called Othman or Ottornan. He conquered a great part of Cappadocia and Bythinia, in which last province he fixed his residence at the town of Prusa, which remained the imperial seat, till the Turks transferred it to Adrianople in 1404, and afterwards to Constantinople in 1453. Oihman died in 1326.

The succeeding Turkish sultans inherited the warlike spirit of Othnian their founder, and quarrelling with the Saracen princes, took from them in process of time many countries, which they hold at this day. They likewise continued their conquests upon the Greeks, that is, upon the eastern Roman empire, and attempted even Constantinople itself, the emperor's seat, several times, but were repulsed or bought off by concessions. At last Mahomet II. resolved to reduce that city,

laid siege to it in 1453, with a land army of 300,000 men, and above a hundred galleys, with 130 other smaller vessels. The garrison consisted of no more than five thousand Greeks and two thousand strangers, the command of which Constantine Palæologus the emperor gave to Justinian, an experienced Genoese officer. Nothing was omitted by the emperor, to put the place in a good posture of defence. The city-wall being double and very strong, Mahomet prepared an artillery of fourteen batteries, procured some pieces of cannon of a prodigious size, that shot stone bullets of two hundred pounds.* These pieces had been cast by a Hungarian founder, a Christian, who having offered his services to Constantine, and met with little encouragement, went over to the sultan. These horrible engines of destruction were fired night and day, and carried with them such force, that they soon made large breaches in the wall. Under such extraordinary difficulties, the besieged, however, made a vigorous defence, repaired as much as possible the breaches, and made successful sallies, in which they killed many Turks, and burned some of their works.

Mahomet, finding that his fleet was hindered from approaching the town by a great chain that crossed the entrance of the port, and which was defended by ships posted there for the purpose, is said to have practised an incredible expedient suggested by a renegado Christian, of conveying seventy of his ships, by means of engines, over the land for the space of eight miles into the haven. 'On another hand, to encourage his men, he promised them they should share among themselves the whole plunder of Constantinople, and that he who first mounted the wall, should be entitled to the government of the town. He told them there had appeared a stream of light over the city three nights together, which was a certain presage, that God had now withdrawn his protection from it. These promises and speeches animated surprisingly his troops, and he resolved upon a general assault. The emperor, who had intimation of the sultan's design, resolved on his side to make the most vigorous opposition and harangued so pathetically his officers and men, that they all seemed ready to second his intention.

The dispositions being made for the attack, on the 29th of May, early in the morning, the general assault began, both by

* See the Greek historians, Phranzes and Chalcondylas; of whom Phranzes was master of the wardrobe to the emperor, and in the town during the siege.

« הקודםהמשך »