The admonitions of Byzantine’s unionists resonate well beyond the Fall of Constantinople—if we had but ears to hear them. Indeed, we today, standing amidst the threatened walls of the house of the West that was once known as Christendom must cherish a culture of Christian solidarity, the conviction that the City of God is and always will be distinct from the City of Man.

In the 1440s, a poor priest on the island of Crete had become desperate. Once his flock had been generous. Their contributions for his liturgies during the Great Lent alone had once been enough for Gratianos. But now the hearts of the people had changed. Gratianos had become a byword for derision in the mouths of “slanderers” and the generosity upon which the priest’s very livelihood had depended waxed cold. Even the grandees of the Veneto-Cretan aristocracy shunned him whom they had once favored with the privilege of saying the litanies over their dead. The penniless priest resorted to pawning his own possessions and the sacred vessels of the liturgy. He resorted to the money-lenders. But in addition to his wife and many starving children, he had a “mother, grandmother . . . and brethren” to support. So, the hapless priest wrote a letter of supplication to his hierarch, Fantino Vallaresso, Latin archbishop of Crete.[1]

The travails of Gratianos were not unique to him, but the plight of many a poor, married Greek cleric forced to eke out a living for himself and his family from the inconstant gratitude of the Christians to whom he provided the sacraments.[2] However, there was something remarkable about Gratianos, and it was plausibly this peculiarity—as the scholar who edited his letter believed—that was the cause of his sorrows.[3] For Gratianos, though a Greek priest, was united to the Roman Church according to the terms of the Council of Florence that on July 9th of 1439 had proclaimed an end to the schism long dividing Latin and Greek Christians. Gratianos described himself as “having rightly changed over from the race of the Greeks to the orthodox and catholic Church.”[4]

This is a rather strange formulation. But when Gratianos wrote, there was not yet a stable terminology designating specifically Greeks like him who had renounced the schism and united to the Roman Church. In the parlance of the papacy and of the Venetian Senate that had ruled Gratianos’ Crete for the past two centuries, such a Greek was called a “catholic” (catholicus)—meaning, of course, not “Roman Catholic,” but merely a Christian adhering to the one Church, which was understood as necessarily ruled by the Roman pontiff. But this same term also described a Latin Christian, so long as he was duly subject to the pope.[5] In Greek sources, while the description of such a Greek as “united” (ἑνωτικός) is attested, the term most frequently encountered to describe these men is pejorative: Latinophron (λατινόφρων)—literally, “Latin-minded”—a slur insinuating that by their union with the wayward Latins men such as Gratianos had forfeited their identity as Greeks. Indeed, Gratianos’ own self-description seems to suggest that he had left behind his Greekness for the sake of ecclesiastical unity and, by implication, had become Something Else.[6]

Whether or not it was the existential horror at the unholy metamorphosis latent in the insult “Latinophron” that instigated Gratianos’ “slanderers,” its rage fell with full force upon the head of his remarkable younger countryman, the learned priest Ioannis (John) Plousiadenos.[7] By his own account, raised in the “ancestral prejudice” against the Latins and once possessed by a special hatred for their Greek lackeys, as a young man John underwent a dramatic change of heart from which he emerged an ardent defender of the Florentine union that he had once so zealously opposed, without losing any of his former fanaticism.[8] Despite his fervor and his considerable talents as theologian, preacher, poet, composer, and scribe, which he devoted to the cause of union, as well as the priesthood he had received probably after joining the pro-union camp, John had trouble making headway amongst his fellow Cretans. Indeed, according to the Venetian Senate, to whose attention John’s plight came in the spring of 1461, he and his fellow “catholic priests” (there were twelve of them) were being “persecuted” to the point of starvation.[9] For us, “persecution” may conjure images of the martyr unflinching before the tyrant’s tribunal. Quite different is the image evoked in John’s own complaint against his countrymen:

Why then do you fight us altogether? . . . it is well that we have gladly received the peace and union of the Churches, we have piously received this, and agreement with the Romans [i.e, the Latins], and have preferred friendship—what have we done that is absurd? Whence does it happen that you, brothers, consider us, [who are] of the same race and family—so that I might speak even as one of the same race as you—as heathens and strangers, and that you do not cease from daily hurling curses, blasphemies, and a heap of calumnies upon us? This is altogether true. For no one, whoever he may be, could deny this. For in the taverns, on the streets, in the marketplaces, always and everywhere, the lifestyle of the unionist priests (ἑνωτικῶν ἱερέων) is attacked, and their dignity is unjustly gossiped about and slandered. O, thy great patience, O King Christ! Nor does it suffice you to say these things about us only, but you even irreverently insult our faith and God, regarding us as heathens. But we endure in silence, offering up everything to all-seeing God. He sees and examines all things from on high and will render to each what he deserves.[10]

Here “persecution” rages not “hot” as in the ancient passions, fervid with the blood of the saints drawn by the inventive torments of sadistic heathens, but it runs “cold.” Here, persecution is alienation from home and country, icy regard and the turned shoulder, the secret murder of slander. And the real gut-punch of it all is that here the so-called “persecutors” are not the functionaries of an outside power—ironically in this case the “outside power,” the Venetian Republic, was the refuge to which the “persecuted” fled for security—but those closest of kin.

In this passage, John refers to himself and his colleagues as henotikoi hiereis (ἑνωτικοὶ ἱερεῖς)—an interesting phrase in which the noun, hiereis, “priests,” is qualified by the adjectival form of the very word used for the union (ἕνωσις) that had been accomplished at the Council of Florence. But the phenomenon of Byzantines united to the Roman Church, or “unionists,” did not begin with that council. John Plousiadenos was but a latter-day representative of a medieval tradition of Byzantine Christians who consciously embraced and defended communion with Western Christians that may be traced back to the union of the Second Council of Lyons in 1274, which fatally miscarried in the Mediterranean power-politics ensuing thereafter. Although scholars today rarely consider the transactions of Lyons as marking a true reconciliation, but rather as the price of political salvation paid by emperor to pope, the Lyonnaise union nonetheless found an able advocate in John Bekkos, patriarch of Constantinople (r. 1275-1282). No mere lackey of imperial policy, the sincerity of Bekkos’ convictions, to which he held steadfast in the face of his own condemnation and perpetual imprisonment following the definitive failure of the union, has stood impugnable before the assaults of his many enemies from his day to our own, while Alexandra Riebe’s revisionary study of 2005 has shown just how ill-fitting the word “Latinophron” is for a man so committed to his own nation and ancestral customs and so ignorant of Latin theology.[11]

More familiar to readers may be the name Demetrios Kydones (c. 1324-1398), who first translated the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas into Greek. Borrowing an image from the Odyssey of Homer, Kydones memorably described his first bewitching encounter with the writings of the Angelic Doctor as “tasting the lotus.” He also dared suggest to his fellow Greeks that the Latins whom they had long held in contempt as a benighted race of mere merchants and mercenaries might have more to offer than their wares or martial prowess.[12] Kydones became the center of a circle of likeminded Greeks, some of whom even took the Dominican habit, whose views, in the course of fourteenth-century religious and political developments in Byzantium, alienated them from their homeland.[13] From then on, through to the Council of Florence and beyond the Middle Ages, there were always some Greeks who claimed union with Elder Rome as the heart of their identity as orthodox Christians and argued, with greater or lesser intelligence, for their countrymen to do likewise. Some unionists understood themselves as members of a noble tradition stretching back to the Greek fathers of the Church, men such as Athanasius the Great (c. 296-373) and Maximos the Confessor (c. 580-662), who had borne witness to the evil of schism and the need for unity with their Latin brethren and earned for their pains the hatred of their own people. As the Greek Dominican Manuel Kalekas (c. 1360-1410) put it:

there has never altogether been lacking from among our people, and even from those of some repute, those [who], being subject to the Church of the West, [and] judging the separation of their own people to be irrational in its origin and contrary to the ecclesiastical laws and the theology of the fathers, but being united to them [i.e., the Westerners], were dishonored or even driven out, on account of [their] confession of and boldness in speaking the truth (among whom even the one writing these words is numbered; and thanks be to God that he has been deigned worthy of these things), but bearing all things for the sake of the rewards stored up for them, just as happened to many in former times, during other controversies regarding orthodoxy, but [who] now are held in awe because they spoke in contradiction [to their own people].[14]

As might be expected, these Greeks have never enjoyed much sympathy. Branded in their own day as “Latin-minded” (λατινόφρονες), or, in the words of the formidable Mark of Ephesus—stalwart dissenter from Florentine Union, for which he is hailed by Eastern Orthodox today as a “pillar” of their faith—the unionists were “justly called Greco-Latins (Γραικολατῖνοι), called by many “Latin-minded” and “half-breed men like the mythical centaurs”: unholy hybrids belonging with the monstrosities of heathen mythology.[15] But far beyond the failure of Florence and the death of Byzantium by Ottoman powder and steel, these “Latin-brained half-breeds” have continued to lurk at the margins of standard narratives of Byzantine history and theology, which are themselves often driven by obvious confessional agendas. In not a few instances, scholars have continued to refer to them by the medieval insult “Latinophron.”[16] But this is to view these Greeks through the jaundiced and distorting gaze of their avowed enemies—that is, as crypto-Latins and therefore as “inauthentic” Byzantines—which prevents us from seeing them as they saw themselves. From an historical perspective, this is problematic, and no less so than taking Theophanes the Confessor at his word that Emperor Leo III initiated Byzantine iconoclasm because he had the “mind of a Saracen” (σαρακηνόφρων).[17] Other scholars insist on speaking of “converts to Catholicism,” but this does nothing other than translate the medieval insult into the paradigm of modern religious discourse while loading the old accusation of religio-cultural alienation with the baggage of anachronism.[18]

Although there has been a few truly important contributions on unionists or aspects thereof over the last decade or so—besides the aforementioned monograph of Alexandra Riebe (2005), contributions by Judith Ryder on Demetrios Kydones (2010), John Monfasani on the unionists in general (2011), as well as Marcus Plested on the reception of Aquinas in the Greek East (2012) and the substantial studies of the late Gerhard Podskalsky (e.g., 1988), deserve special mention—the impact of these contributions on broader perceptions of the Greeks united to Rome has yet to make itself felt. In general, the image of the Latinophron still prevails and therefore the Byzantine Christian united to Rome cannot be understood historically. He remains gagged—seen from the hostile outside, rather than allowed to speak for himself, a perpetual hostage to the pejorative terms dictated by his adversaries and their modern-day witting or unwitting accomplices in academia.

The task that I have set for myself in my own scholarship is to allow the Greek unionists to speak with their own voices. I want to understand their worldview and to see them as they saw themselves. The present essay strives toward this goal, but for what remains of it, I want to do something a little different. Now that you’ve been introduced to the unionists, I want you to hear them speak about three topics that mattered a great deal to them and still should matter a great deal to us today. The historian, who truly fulfills his office to the dead, is convinced that those dead have something to say to him and to the rest of the living—if we only had ears to hear them. No different are the unionists, from the treasury of whose untapped wisdom—bound up as it largely remains in archaic tongues and forgotten manuscripts—I have distilled three sage admonitions that can be articulated as three imperatives handed down by the unionists for the wellbeing of Western Civilization.

First, the imperative to maintain Christian solidarity against Outside Threats.

Second, the imperative to maintain a holistic vision of Western Civilization.

Third, the imperative to rightly distinguish and order our loyalties.

These three topics have been chosen because of their enduring relevance to modern audiences and, I trust, their special interest to readers of The Imaginative Conservative in particular. I hope that this brief offering of the thoughts of the unionists on these topics will yield a more direct insight into their mentality than I could hope to provide by mere summary. I also hope that it will show how undeserved is the general neglect of unionist ideas, inherently fascinating and still fresh as they are, especially since this neglect has been largely the result of taking the word of the unionists’ adversaries rather than giving the unionists themselves a fair hearing. So let us hear them.

I. The Imperative to Maintain Christian Solidarity Against Outside Threats

Long before the emergence of unionism in the late thirteenth century, Byzantium had to come to terms with Islamic power as a permanent threat near at hand. By the time Michael Palaiologos restored Greek rule to Constantinople in 1261, the dynamism of the Dar al-Islam had long resided with the Turkish tribesmen who had crashed into the Greek heartland of Anatolia two centuries previously and had since busied themselves with establishing emirates at the expense of the imperial government and Christian border-lords. It was to the most successful of these Turkish dynasties, the House of Othman, that the Byzantines eventually submitted in 1453. Before then and thereafter, unionists saw Christian unity as integrally bound up with the fortunes of the struggle of Christendom against Islam. According to Patriarch John Bekkos, the bitter fruit of the schism had been reaped in the slaughter and desecration of the Greek East by Muslim hordes unimpeded by any united Christian opposition:

Ah, whence will be given to me fountains of tears that I should bewail—even if unworthily in comparison to the magnitude of the grief—but that I should bewail, nevertheless, the hellish night that has taken hold thence upon our territory, the punishment of our inheritance that has thence invaded the breadth of the Roman lands! Wherein our inheritance has been mutilated not only unto the decapitation of our earthly authority by the destruction of many cities and lands, far-flung islands and entire peoples, but has even been punished unto religion itself—if, indeed, the punishment of religion is Mohammed and Mehmed reveling within the holy precincts, and celebrating their rites (alas, the desecration!), where the supreme Mystery of Christian Mysteries was once celebrated—for to such an extent has the evil of this schism harmed us, this long time of evil, as is clear not only to us who suffer, but to all the nations of the earth.[19]

But Bekkos was not alone in seeing an alarming connection between the loss of Christian solidarity and the progress of Islam. Some of the Greeks, brooded Manuel Kalekas, are so far gone in “hatred, insanity, and audacity” against the Latins “that they believe that those who serve the execrable superstition of the Saracens are more tolerable than those who are united to the Western Church, and they prefer the friendship and communion of [the Muslims] to that of the Westerners, whom they don’t even call Christians, while many [Greeks] even doubt whether [the Latins] venerate the same Gospels as we . . . and while day-by-day many [Greeks] are going over to the religion of the [Muslims]—not only men, but even cities and whole peoples, and they think it no great matter.”[20]

II. The Imperative to Maintain a Unified Vision of Western Civilization

As do ecumenical Christians today, Byzantine unionists had to face the charge that they were trying to dilute the orthodox faith with enervating concessions to “outsiders.” This accusation achieved a fever-pitch in the insult Latinophron, by which label it was insinuated that the unionists had lost their credentials as (orthodox) Greek Christians and become Latins in spirit. And there was nothing further from a Greek than a Latin for Byzantines in the mould of Niketas Choniates (c. 1155-1217), the Greek chronicler of imperial decline who, brooding over the ashes of the Fourth Crusade, considered that “between us and the Franks [i.e., the Latins] is set the widest gulf. We have not a thought in common. We are poles apart, even though we may happen to live together in the same house.”[21]

The unionists endeavored to subvert this “chasm theory” and to assert that, to the contrary, Latin and Greek Christians did belong together in “one house”—in one and the same oikoumene and household of faith. The unionists proved the affiliation of Eastern and Western Christians not only on the plane of theology, where they appealed to the united witness of the Latin and Greek fathers who, as men inspired by the one Holy Spirit, were necessarily unanimous, but even by pointing to the culture shared by Greek and Latin Christians—the common culture that we would identify today as “Greco-Roman civilization,” the sturdy foundations upon which was built the edifice of Christendom.[22]

This theme emerges in Demetrios Kydones’ critique of the chauvinistic conceit of his countrymen who, styling themselves “Romans,” reckoned the truth of their opinions about God according to the imperial splendor of their beloved Constantinople “New Rome” and the antiquity of her walls, in comparison to which the theology of the followers of the pope was dismissed as the semi-literate mutterings of an unwashed race of barbaric half-wits. However, Kydones reasoned, if the imperial splendor to which he and his fellows, as Romans, were heir was enough to judge by in distinguishing theological truth from falsehood, then they must despise humble Bethlehem, where God chose to be born, in comparison to the Sanhedrin’s Jerusalem, which betrayed and killed Him, and instead of the temple of Jerusalem they must “prefer the idols of Babylon . . . greatest of all cities.” But even then, the Byzantines must concede “victory . . . to the Elder Rome on account of its magnitude” and because:

the splendor of empire came thence [from Old Rome] to us; for there [in Old Rome] was someone first named ‘Emperor of the Romans,’ and he ruled everything under the sun and subjected all nations to the splendid yoke of that City, which has branded the whole world, like a slave, by her generals, and has given both her monarchy and her name in place of a crown to those that ruled within her, so that if [Constantinople] New Rome is considered worthy of some respect, from [Old Rome] did it come to [New Rome] that she be so esteemed and honored, from [Old Rome] did [New Rome] receive the imperial dignity, the senate, and her great name, to [Old Rome], justly . . . should [New Rome] yield superiority, just as colonies do to their mother cities.

The majesty of Byzantium, Kydones averred subversively, was derivative of Italian Rome, once the throne of Caesar, but now of Peter.[23]

When Mark of Ephesus ridiculed the unionists as “Greco-Latins,” monstrous hybrids, Gregory Mammas—who served as the second patriarch of Constantinople following the Council of Florence—responded not through vigorous protestations of authentic Greekness, but by embracing the integral Western identity that Mark had unwittingly proposed:

[Mark] ridicules us by calling us “Greco-Latins,” and finds this neologism to be suitable, as he surmises. But this we consider not as an insult, but we confess to be true. For Constantine the Great came from [Elder Rome], and taking the most noble of the Romans from Rome he made them to dwell in the city erected in his name and called “New Rome.” While those who descended from them used the tongue of the Greeks . . . they drew their lineage from [Elder Rome], and suitably we ought to be called “Greco-Latins” since the Latins called the Hellenes “Greeks” . . . . We now permit him to say that even the Romans who ruled us derived their lineage from [the West].

Gregory, like Demetrios before him, embraced the proposition that the Byzantines—even Mark himself—inasmuch as they were Roman, were also Latins—or at least co-heirs with them to a common legacy. But, Gregory hastened to add, the true Church embraced all people—whether “Greeks, or Latins, barbarians or Scythians”—these distinctions did not matter, so long as they only accepted “the decree of an ecumenical synod”—that is, “the synod of Florence.” This, and not any merely mortal inheritance, made all the difference.[24]

III. The Imperative to Rightly Distinguish and Order Our Loyalties

Which leads us to the last major point: that we must rightly distinguish and order our loyalties. Despite the praiseworthy efforts of scholars such as Alexandra Riebe or Judith Ryder to show that men like Bekkos or Kydones were not aliens to the tradition of Byzantine Christianity, when considered as a whole, the unionists cannot but appear as subversives in Byzantium. To the extent that they ever counter-signaled the assumption that the imperial Church of Constantinople manifested the “true” Church established by Jesus Christ, to the extent that their identity as Byzantines united to the Western Church ever gave rise to suspicions of (to borrow Ms. Ryder’s turn of phrase) “divided loyalties,” it is impossible to ignore that the unionists threatened the underlying tenet of Byzantine civilization.[25] This tenet reflexively identified the medieval Greek empire with the Kingdom of God on Earth. In short, to be a “true” Byzantine was to be an orthodox Christian, and vice versa. Hence, to the gatekeepers of Byzantine orthodoxy, communion with the Latin foreigners was at one and the same time heresy and national betrayal. From this vantage point, unionism—flight to a foreign Church—was treason.[26]

But the unionists challenged this blurring of the conceptual boundaries between being an orthodox Christian and being a Byzantine Greek. They also insisted that a Christian must prioritize his fidelity to the Gospels over and above his loyalty to his fatherland, good and wholesome as the unionists recognized this to be. Without exception, the unionists were proud of their Hellenic lineage and identity. They simply knew that it was not their most important possession. The unionists felt acutely upon their consciences the claims arising from shared blood and birth. It was for their people and nation that the unionists loved and labored. For them did they endure chains, scorn, and exile. At the same time, the unionists understood that their Greek tongue and blood, even their prized allegiance to the emperor, were merely “earthen vessels” in which was stored the “treasure” of their essential identity, as Christians, whose true patria and kingdom, they knew, are not “of this world” (cf. II Cor. 4:7; Jn. 18:36).

While brooding over the loss of home, family, and the comradery of fellow Hellenes that his beliefs had cost him, the Greek Dominican Manuel Kalekas considered the examples of such outcasts from Byzantium as Saints Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296-373), Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662), and Stephen the Younger (c. 713-765) in whose dolorous footsteps he claimed to walk. Like them, Manuel had been persecuted and expelled by his countrymen because of his witness to orthodoxy, which for Kalekas meant appealing to the Roman Church as a bastion of truth against the “innovations” of his Mother See of Constantinople. To paraphrase the words Manuel addressed to his sovereign in the aftermath of his flight from Constantinople under duress, allegiance to the Truth—and specifically the Truth of the Faith—must come before all other loyalties.[27]

Without this correct ordering of loyalties, the unionists considered that holy patriotism could be perverted into prejudice. In the writings of the unionists, the concepts of prejudice (πρόληψις), and its offspring “hatred” (μίσος), emerge again and again as the forces blinding their fellow Greeks to the reality of Kingdom of God, which takes root not according to the convenient logic of empire, but “where it wishes,” in unlikely places. From amidst the sacred splendors of St. Ambrose’s Milan, Manuel wrote to a friend of how he had witnessed holiness there that their countrymen would not comprehend, for even if “changing city for city they should linger in the piazze, they would be deaf and blind to the things I’ve told you about, nor capable of acknowledging them, but would only mingle with the urban filth, [they] whom the ancient hatred for [the Latins] compels to blaspheme mindlessly.”[28]

For his part, John Plousiadenos dismissed his countrymen’s rejection of the pope as mere chauvinism dressed up in self-righteous posturing:

You do not wish to obey [the pope], not because he is a sinner, but because he is a Latin, and because he shaves his beard . . . you shun him not as a sinner, since neither are you sinless, but because he is a Latin, and you regard him as heterodox; for you consider the Latins as alien to the faith; and you teach the more simple to flee from them as from the face of a serpent. And this is clear, for if anyone of the Latins is revealed as a saint, you would not wish to invoke him; but rather you blaspheme; but as regards the Greeks, even if they are most intemperate and stupid, if only they should speak against the Latins, you regard them as holier than all.[29]

It might be said that the real target here was not so much John’s countrymen as their uncritical assumption that Christian identity is, reflexively or even exhaustively, Byzantine identity—that is to say, a consequence of the conviction, fundamental to mainstream Byzantine political thought, that the Empire of Constantine was the true image of the Kingdom of Heaven.[30]

Long-gone is the glory that was Byzantium, swept away before Islam ascendant—in the unionists’ rather tough estimation, the divine retribution for and natural consequence of the schism.[31] But the admonitions of the unionists resonate well beyond the Fall of Constantinople in 1453—if we had but ears to hear them. Indeed, we today, in these times, standing amidst the threatened walls of the house of the West that was once known as Christendom, no less than our medieval forebears, must cherish a culture of Christian solidarity, a vision of the Graeco-Roman legacy to which we are rightful heirs, and the conviction that the City of God is and always will be distinct from the City of Man. And therefore the unionists, with their aspirations, murmurings, and even their subversions remain relevant today, if only we would heed them.

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[1] This letter is edited by Basilios Laourdas in “Κρητικὰ Παλαιολογραφικὰ: [#] 11: Αἱ ταλαιπωρίαι τοῦ Γρατιάνου,” Κρητικὰ Χρονικά 5 (1951), 245-252 (the text of this letter and Laourdas’ commentary).

[2] See Aristeides Papadakis, “Priest,” The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (=ODB), ed. Alexander Kazhdan et al. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), vol. III, 1718; Klaus-Peter Todt, “Priester – B. Ostkirche,” Lexikon des Mittelalters (LdMA), vol. VII.1: Planudes-Privileg(ien) (Munich and Zurich: Artemis & Winkler Verlag: 1995), 207; Joan Hussey, The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire, Oxford History of the Christian Church (1986; repr. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 267-286, 330-335.

[3] Laourdas, “Αἱ ταλαιπωρίαι,” 251.

[4] Laourdas, “Αἱ ταλαιπωρίαι,” 246.

[5] Instances in documents issued by the papacy and Venetian Senate are numerous. Only a few examples by way of illustration are given here: Acta Urbani P.P. V (1362-1370), ed. Aloysius L. Tăutu, Pontificia comissio ad redigendam codicem iuris canonici orientalis, Fontes, ser. 3, vol. 11 (Vatican City: Typis Pontificiae Universitatis Gregorianae, 1964), 254 and cf. 253; Acta Gregorii P.P. XI (1370-1378), ed. Aloysius L. Tăutu, Pontificia comissio ad redigendam codicem iuris canonici orientalis, Fontes, ser. 3, vol. 11 (Vatican City: Typis Pontificiae Universitatis Gregorianae, 1966), 274; (from the pontificate of Pope Pius II): H.D. Saffrey, “Pie II et les prêtres uniates en Crète au XVe siècle,” Θησαυρίσματα 16 (1979), 46-49. As regards Venice, see, e.g., Hippolyte Noiret, ed., Documents inédits pour servir a l’histoire de la domination vénitenne en Crète de 1380 a 1485 (Paris: Thorin & fils, éditeurs, 1892), 461 (a decree of March 30, 1461—cf. the French translation/summary by Freddy Thiriet, ed., Régestes des Délibérations du sénat de Venise concernant la Romanie, vol. 3, 1431-1463, Documents et recherches sur l’économie des pays byzantins, islamiques et slaves et leurs relations commerciales au Moyen Âge, 4 (Paris: Mouton & Co, 1961), 235-236, #3128); Noiret, Documents inédits, 462 (a decree of June 23, 1461—cf. Thiriet, Régestes, vol. 3, 237, #3134, who dates the document to June 27); a letter issued by Venetian doge on September 5, 1463 to the colonial authorities on Crete (this is found in Hipolyte Noiret, Lettres inédites de Michel Apostolis publiées d’après les manuscrits du Vatican avec des opuscules inédits du mème auteur: Une introduction et des notes, Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome, fasc. 45 (Paris: Ernest Thorin, Éditeur, 1889), 40-41)—all of these Venetian documents have to do with the same group of Greek catholic priests, one of whose number concerns us in this article.

[6] Regarding this insinuated transformation or loss of Greek identity in the case of the unionists, see Charles C. Yost, “Neither Greek nor Latin, but Catholic: Aspects of the Theology of Union of John Plousiadenos,” Journal of Orthodox Christian Studies 1.1 (2018): 43-59. For more on the terms ἑνωτικός and λατινόφρων, see that same article and elsewhere in this article.

[7] For the most part, the bibliography for this remarkable man is thin and scattered throughout older publications, many being short entries found in reference works—some quite outdated. Without indicating every single biographical notice, however short, I name here only the most important contributions. The most substantive biographical study of Plousiadenos to appear in print to this date is Manoussos Manoussakas’ article from sixty years ago: “Recherches sur la vie de Jean Plousiadenos (Joseph de Methone) (1429?-1500),” Revue des études byzantines 17 (1959), 28-51. See also: Tsirpanles, cited above, esp. 69-77, 81-116 (for a French summary of this book, see pgs. 371-377); Manoussos Manoussakas, “Ἀρχιερεῖς Μεθώνης, Κορώνης, καὶ Μονεμβασίας γύρω στὰ 1500,” Πελοποννησιακά, 3-4 (1960), esp. 97-100, 136-137. Eleftherios Despotakis, “Some Observations on the Διάλεξις of John Plousiadenos (1426?-1500),” Byzantion: Revue internationale des études byzantines 86 (2016), 129-137. Despotakis’ monograph on Plousiadenos is still forthcoming with Peeters Publishers.

[8] John Plousiadenos, Dialogue between a Certain Pious Man, a Publican, a Rag-Wearer, and One of the Twelve Priests Who have Embraced the Union, While Three Others were Present, That is, an Auditor, a Witness and a Judge, Concerning the Disagreements between the Greeks and the Latins, and Concerning the Sacrosanct Council of Florence, PG vol. 159, 1017D.

[9] Hippolyte Noiret, ed., Documents inédits pour servir a l’histoire de la domination vénitenne en Crète de 1380 a 1485 (Paris: Thorin & fils, éditeurs, 1892), 461. Cf. French translation/summary by Freddy Thiriet, ed., Régestes des Délibérations du sénat de Venise concernant la Romanie, vol. 3, 1431-1463, Documents et recherches sur l’économie des pays byzantins, islamiques et slaves et leurs relations commerciales au Moyen Âge, 4 (Paris: Mouton & Co, 1961), 235-236 (#3128). See also Noiret, Documents inédits, 462 (= Thiriet, Régestes des Délibérations, vol. 3 (#3134)).

[10] Plousiadenos, Dialogue, PG 159: 1005CD-1008Α.

[11] On the Second Council of Lyons in general, see: On Lyons II, see Hussey, 221-249.

[12] Demetrios Kydones, Apologie della propria fede: 1. Ai Greci Ortodossi, ed. by Giovanni Mercati in Notizie di Procoro e Demetrio Cidone, Manuele Caleca e Teodoro Meliteniota ed altri appunti per la storia della teologia della letteratura bizantina del secolo XIV, Studi e Testi 56 (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1931), 362-366 passim. Those who do not read Greek may consult James Likoudis, Ending the Greek Schism: Containing the 14th c. Apologia of Demetrios Kydones for Unity with Rome and St. Thomas Aquinas’ “Contra errores Graecorum, (New Rochelle: Catholics United for the Faith, 1998), 25-29.

[13] On Demetrios Kydones and his circle, see: Judith Ryder, The Career and Writings of Demetrius Kydones: A Study of Fourteenth-Century Byzantine Politics, Religion and Society, The Medieval Mediterranean 85 (Leiden: Brill, 2010); Manuel Kalekas, Correspondance de Manuel Calécas, ed. by Raymond-Joseph Loenertz, Studi e Testi 152 (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1950), 16-45.

[14] Kalekas, Correspondance, 325. Cf. pg. 160 for Loenertz’s French translation of this passage.

[15] Marci Ephesii epistola encyclica contra Graeco-Latinos ac decretum synodi Florentiae, in Marci Eugenici metropolitae Ephesi Opera anti-unionistica, ed. and trans. by Louis Petit, Concilium Florentinum: Documenta et scriptores, ser. A (Rome: Pontificium institutum orientalium studiorum, 1977), 142.

[16] E.g., John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes (New York: Fordham University Press, 1979), 106, 188.

[17] Carl de Boor, ed., Theophanes chronographia, vol. 1 (Leipzig: Teubner, 1883; reprinted Hildesheim: Olm, 1963), 405.

[18] For references to the unionists as “converts to Catholicism” see, e.g.: Claudine Delacroix-Besnier, “Conversions constantinopolitaines au XIVe siècle,” in Mélanges de l’Ecole française de Rome: Moyen-Age, Temps modernes, 105.2 (1993), 715-761; Tia M. Kolbaba, “Conversions from Greek Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism in the Fourteenth Century,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 19 (1995), 120-134. In the views expressed above, I gratefully acknowledge my debt to my mentor, Rev. Dr. Yury Avvakumov, University of Notre Dame.

[19] See John Bekkos, On the Union of the Churches of Elder and New Rome in Patrologia cursus completes, Series Graeca, ed. Jacques-Paul Migne (Paris, 1857-1866) (henceforth, PG), vol. 141: 16B-17A. Cf. Riebe, Rom in Gemeinschaft, 143 and n. 39.

[20] Manuel Kalekas, Four Books Against the Errors of the Greeks, PG 152:239B-C.

[21] Quoted in Romilly Jenkins, Byzantium: The Imperial Centuries, AD 610-1071, Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching, 18 (original publication: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1966; reprinted: Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 1987), 383.

[22] On this crucial theory of the necessary doctrinal harmony between the Eastern and Western fathers in the context of the quest for the union of the Churches, see: John Monfasani, “The Pro-Latin Apologetics of the Greek Emigres to Quattrocento Italy,” in Byzantine Theology and its Philosophical Background, ed. by Antonio Rigo with Pavel Ermilov and Michele Trizio, Byzantios: Studies in Byzantine History and Civilization (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), passim, but esp. 181; Joseph Gill, The Council of Florence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959), 255-256, 261.

[23] See Kydones, Apologie, 362-372. Cf. Likoudis, Ending the Greek Schism, 25-35.

[24] Gregory Mammas, PG 160:116A-117B.

[25] Judith Ryder, “Divided Loyalties? The Career and Writings of Demetrius Kydones,” in Greeks, Latins, and Intellectual History 1204-1500, ed. Martin Hinterberger and Christopher D. Schabel, pgs. 243-62, Bibliotheca, 11 (Leuven; Paris; Walpole: Peeters, 2011).

[26] I here merely gesture at a discussion on Byzantine identity and Christianity that deserves more serious treatment than I can afford to give it here. A key exponent of the idea of the Roman Empire as the reflection of the Kingdom of Heaven is, of course, Emperor Constantine I’s admirer Eusebius Pamphilus (c. 260-340)—see his In Praise of the Emperor Constantine as found in Western Heritage: A Reader, ed. the Hillsdale College History Faculty, 4th printing (Hillsdale: Hillsdale College Press, 2016), pgs. 353-358. This identification can be traced through Byzantine history to the troubled fourteenth century, as evident in Patriarch Anthony IV’s reproach against Duke Basil of Muscovy for omitting the name of the Byzantine emperor from the liturgy and thus suggesting that the Christian Church might be separated from the Christian Empire—see, e.g., Donald M. Nicol, The Last Centuries of Byzantium, 1261-1453, 2nd ed. (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 299-300. For the claim that “Byzantine identity” consists essentially in “Orthodox Christianity” put forward by a modern scholar, see Paul Magdalino, “Orthodoxy and Byzantine Cultural Identity,” in Orthodoxy and Heresy in Byzantium: The Definition and the Notion of Orthodoxy and Some Other Studies on the Heresies and the Non-Christian Religions, ed. Antonio Rigo and Pavel Ermilov, pgs. 21-40, Quaderni di Νέα Ῥώμη, 4 (Rome: Università degli Studi di Roma «Tor Vergata», 2010).

[27] See, Kalekas, Correspondance, letter no. 83. 5-8 (esp. 8), 289-291, 149. See also the passages found in the “Appendix”: no. I. 1-3, 308-310, 156. Also, Kalekas, Against the Errors of the Greeks, PG 152:244C-245A, 254B-C.

[28] Kalekas, Correspondance, no. 77, 276, 144-145.

[29] John Plousiadenos, Defense of the Sacrosanct Council of Florence, That It was Done Rightly, Defense of the Five Chapters of Its Definition, PG 159:1357A-C.

[30] Besides the texts mentioned above in note 26, see also Yost, “Neither Greek nor Latin.”

[31] Besides the perspectives considered above, see the views of Plousiadenos, e.g., Defense, PG 159:1365C-1368C and Cardinal Bessarion, Encyclical Letter, PG 161:452A-453D—for analysis of the entire letter of Bessarion, see: Ludwig Mohler, Kardinal Bessarion als Theologe, Humanist und Staatsmann: Funde und Forschungen, vol. 1, Darstellung (Paderborn: 1923; reprinted: Paderborn: Scientia Verlag Aalen Ferdinand Schöningh, 1967), 240-242.

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