Following the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans, Gennadios Scholarios was chosen to be Ecumenical Patriarch by Sultan Mehmet in January of 1453 (pictured above) since he was respected by both Orthodox and Muslims alike and was very vocal in his opposition to western innovations.
Gennadios left no detailed account of the Ottoman conquest of Constanintople. However he did compile a series of chronological observations on the ways in which the hand of providence could be seen to have influenced the dreadful events of his lifetime. He noted the following:
1. The Christian Empire of the Romans and New Rome originated with Emperor Constantine I and his mother Helen and had come to an end when another Constantine, son of Helen, was Emperor and killed in the conquest of New Rome in 1453. Between the first and last Constantine there had been no other Emperor of the same name whose mother was Helen.
2. The first Patriarch of Constantinople under Emperor Constantine I was Metrophanes and the last Patriarch was also called Metrophanes, who died in 1443; Gennadios never recognized Metrophanes' successor Gregory III because he fled to Rome and died there. There was no other Patriarch with the name Metrophanes between the first and the last.
3. The city of Constantinople had been founded on May 11 (330), finished on May 3 and captured on May 29 (1453), so that all the events of its birth and death occurred in the month of May.
4. Gennadios recorded the prophecy that when an Emperor and a Patriarch whose names began with the letter "Jo-" reigned at the same time, then the end of the Empire and its church would be at hand. So it had come about. For the men who had brought ruin on the church at the Council of Ferrara-Florence in Italy were Joannes the Emperor and Joseph the Patriarch.
Coincidence? Maybe. But worth noting anyway.
It was to Gennadios that the angry people went after seeing the Uniate services in the Great Church of Hagia Sophia. It is said that he hid himself in the cell of his monastery, but left a notice on the door of his cell: "O unhappy Romans, why have you forsaken the truth? Why do you not trust in God, instead of in the Italians? In losing your faith you will lose your city!"
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