Page images

bates, had stood forth the most strenuous and elo- c H A P. quent champion of the Greek church; and if the **apostate, the bastard, was reprobated by his country", he appears in ecclesiastical story a rare example of a patriot who was recommended to courtfavour by loud opposition and well-timed compliance. With the aid of his two spiritual coadjutors, the Emperor applied his arguments to the general situation and personal characters of the bishops, and each was successively moved by authority and example. Their revenues were in the hands of the Turks, their persons in those of the Latins; an Episcopal treasure, three robes and forty ducats, were soon exhausted f; the hopes of their return still depended on the ships of Venice, and the alms of Rome; and such was their indigence, that their arrears, the payment of a debt, would be accepted as a favour, and might operate as a bribe t. The danger and relief of Constantinople might excuse some prudent and pious dissimulation; and it was insinuated, that the obstinate heretics who should resist * See the polite altercation of Mark and Bessarion in Sy

repulus, (p. 257.), who never dissembles the vices of his own party, and fairly praises the virtues of the Latins.

# For the poverty of the Greek bishops, see a remarkable passage of Ducas, (c. 31.). One had possessed, for his whole property, three old gowns, &c. By teaching one-and-twenty years in his monastery, Bessarion himself had collected forty gold florins; but of these, the Archbishop had expended twenty-eight in his voyage from Peloponnesus, and the remainder at Constantinople, (Syropulus, p. 127.).

t Syropulus denies that the Greeks received any money before they had subscribed the act of union, (p. 283.); yet be relates some suspicious circumstances; and their bribery and corruption are positively affirmed by the historian Ducas.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

resist the consent of the East and West, would be

, abandoned in a hostile land to the revenge or justice

of the Roman Pontiff". In the first private as-
sembly of the Greeks, the formulary of union was
approved by twenty-four, and rejected by twelve,
members; but the five cross-bearers of St Sophia,
who aspired to represent the patriarch, were dis-
qualified by ancient discipline; and their right of
voting was transferred to an obsequious train of
monks, grammarians, and profane laymen. The
will of the monarch produced a false and servile
unanimity, and no more than two patriots had cou-
rage to speak their own sentiments, and those of
their country. Demetrius, the Emperor's brother,
retired to Venice, that he might not be witness of
the union; and Mark of Ephesus, mistaking per-
haps his pride for his conscience, disclaimed all
communion with the Latin heretics, and avowed
himself the champion and confessor of the orthodox
creed f. In the treaty between the two nations,
several forms of consent were proposed, such as
might satisfy the Latins, without dishonouring the
Greeks; and they weighed the scruples of words
and syllables, till the theological balance trembled
with a slight preponderance in favour of the Vati-
can. It was agreed, (I must intreat the attention
- of
* The Greeks most piteously express their own fears of

exile and perpetual slavery, (Syropul. p. 196.) ; and they were strongly moved by the Emperor's threats, (p. 262.).

+ I had forgot another popular and orthodox protester; a favourite hound, who usually lay quiet on the foot-cloth of

the Emperor's throne; but who barked most furiously while

the act of union was reading, without being silenced by the soothing, or the lashes of the royal attendants, (Syropul. P. 265. 266.).

of the reader), that the IIoly Ghost proceeds from C o:

the Father and the Son, as from one principle and one substance; that he proceeds by the Son, being of the same nature and substance, and that he proceeds from the Father and the Son, by one spiration and production. It is less difficult to understand the articles of the preliminary treaty ; that the Pope should defray all the expences of the Greeks in their return home; that he should annually maintain two gallies and three hundred soldiers for the defence of Constantinople; that all the ships which transported pilgrims to Jerusalem should be obliged to touch at that port; that as often as they were required, the

Pope should furnish ten gallies for a year, or twenty-

six months; and that he should powerfully solicit the princes of Europe, if the Emperor had occasion for land-forces. , -

The same year, and almost the same day, were marked by the deposition of Eugenius at Basil; and at Florence, by his re-union of the Greeks and Latins. In the former synod, (which he styled indeed an assembly of daemons), the Pope was branded with the guilt of simony, perjury, tyranny, heresy,

and schism "; and declared to be incorrigible in

his vices, unworthy of any title, and incapable of

holding any ecclesiastical office. In the latter, he

was revered as the true and holy vicar of Christ, who, after a separation of six hundred years, had reconciled the Catholics of the East and West, in Oil C. * From the original Lives of the Popes, in Muratori's Collection, (tom. iii. p. ii. tom. xxv.), the manners of Eugenius IV. appear to have been decent, and even exemplary. His

situation, exposed to the world and to his cnemies, was a cstraint, and is a pledge.

Fugenius deposed at Basil, A. 1). 1438,

June -s.

of the
Greeks of
A. D.
1 4 3 S,
July 6.

c H.A.P. one fold, and under one shepherd. The act of

[ocr errors]

union was subscribed by the Pope, the Emperor,
and the principal members of both churches; even
by those who, like Syropulus *, had been deprived
of the right of voting. Two copies might have
sufficed for the East and West; but Eugenius was
not satisfied, unless four authentic and similar tran-
scripts were signed and attested as the monuments
of his victory f. On a memorable day, the sixth of
July, the successors of St Peter and Constantine
ascended their thrones; the two nations assembled
in the cathedral of Florence; their representatives,
Cardinal Julian, and Bessarion, Archbishop of Nice,
appeared in the pulpit, and after reading, in their
respective tongues, the act of union, they mutually
embraced, in the name and the presence of their
applauding brethren. The Pope and his ministers
then officiated according to the Roman liturgy;
the creed was chaunted with the addition offilioque;
the acquiescence of the Greeks was poorly excused
by their ignorance of the harmonious, but inarti-


* Syropulus, rather than subscribe, would have assisted, as the least evil, at the ceremony of the union. He was compelled to do both ; and the great ecclesiarch poorly excuses his submission to the Emperor, (p. 290–292.).

+ None of these original acts of union can at present be produced. Of the ten MSS. that are preserved, (five at Rome, and the remainder at Florence, Bologna, Venice, Paris, and London), nine have been examined by an accurate critic, (M. de Brequigny), who condemns them for the variety and imperfections of the Greek signatures. Yet several of these may be esteemed as authentic copies, which were subscribed at Florence before (26th August 1439) the final separation of the Pope and Emperor, (Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xliii. p. 287–31 1.).

[ocr errors]

culate, sounds"; and the more scrupulous Latins refused any public celebration of the Byzantine rite. Yet the Emperor and his clergy were not totally unmindful of national honour. The treaty

[ocr errors]

was ratified by their consent ; it was tacitly agreed, .

that no innovation should be attempted in their creed or ceremonies; they spared, and secretly respected, the generous firmness of Mark of Ephe

sus; and, on the decease of the patriarch, they re

fused to elect his successor, except in the cathedral
of St Sophia. In the distribution of public and pri-
vate rewards, the liberal pontiff exceeded their
hopes and his promises : the Greeks, with less
pomp and pride, returned by the same road of Fer-
rara and Venice; and their reception at Constan-
tinople was such as will be described in the follow-
ing chapter f. The success of the first trial encou-
raged Eugenius to repeat the same edifying scenes;
and the deputies of the Armenians, the Maronites,
the Jacobites of Syria and Egypt, the Nestorians,
and the Ethiopians, were successively introduced,
to kiss the feet of the Roman pontiff, and to an-
nounce the obedience and the orthodoxy of the
East. These Oriental embassies, unknown in the
countries which they presumed to represent i, dif.
fused over the West the fame of Eugenius: and a
Vol. XII. I clamour
* Hui, 3, we arous oaks, parai, (Syropul. p. 297.).
+ In their return, the Greeks conversed at Bologna with
the ambassadors of England; and, after some questions and
answers, these impartial strangers laughed at the pretended
union of Florence, (Syropul. p. 307.).
f So nugatory, or rather so fabulous, are these re-unions of
the Nestorians, Jacobites, &c. that I have turned over, with-

out success, the Bibliotheca Orientalis of Assemanus, a faithful slave of the Vatican. -

Their return to Constantinople, A. D. 14.404 Feb. 1.

« PreviousContinue »