June 30, 2016

Life of the Holy Hieromartyr Cyril Loukaris (3 of 5)

...continued from part two.

Thus, by the joint actions of the Jesuits and the ambassadors of France and Austria, Cyril was removed from the Throne in April of 1623 by the order of Grand Vizier Mere Huseyin Pasha, having been accused of preparing a revolution from the Greek islands. With the accusations a payment of 40,000 coins to Grand Vizier contributed to its acceptance. Cyril was arrested and exiled to Rhodes, while the Sublime Porte appointed as Patriarch the Metropolitan of Amasia Gregory, who was called by the people the "Crooked One of Amasia" (Στραβοαμασείας), and who was a stooge of the Jesuits. The Hierarchs responded that they did not want a Patriarch appointed by the Sublime Porte, so they chose as Patriarch the Metropolitan of Adrianople Anthimos.

After his enthronement, Patriarch Anthimos sent two Hierarchs to Rhodes in order to convince Cyril to undergo a canonical resignation and to retire to Mount Athos and remain quiet. But he rejected the proposal and in September of 1623, by order of the Grand Vizier, he returned to Constantinople, where he was triumphantly received by the clergy and the people. Many arrived in Galata, where he lived, to greet him and receive his blessing, among whom was Patriarch Anthimos, who submitted his apologies and expressed his intention to give up the Throne.

The Hierarchs, elders and people insistently asked that Cyril return to the Throne. Patriarch Anthimos was pressured by the situation that had been created and resigned from the Throne that was resumed by Cyril on 2 October 1623. In vain the French ambassador spent 10,000 escuda, as he himself verified, and in vain did the Jesuits use every means to prevent his return. His restoration took place to the all around joy of the Orthodox, who saw in his person a genuine and true Shepherd and Patriarch.

Cyril, having the universal acceptance of the clergy and people, continued his work of giving a priority to catechizing the people and establishing schools so that Orthodox would not be forced to send their children to the schools of the Jesuits. Watching their progress come to a halt in the East, the Latins wanted to fraudulently distract Cyril to get him to embrace a Latin confession of faith. To this end the Propaganda sent to Constantinople the Greek apostate Kanakios Rossis accompanied by Ambassador Extraordinary of Spain Giovanni Battista Montalbano, who had the specific mandate to negotiate with the Sublime Porte an agreement directed against England and the Netherlands. The proposal of Rome was for Cyril to sign a confession of faith to accept the terms of the Synod of Florence and condemn Protestantism. In return the Pope promised the support of western governments, the payment of large sums of money and the inclusion of all the Churches of the East to the Ecumenical Throne.

Cyril listened to the proposals and responded negatively. His stance irritated the Latins who began new secret plans against him. Two Jesuits, who came to Constantinople with Rossis, began to move in government circles and spread slander against the Patriarch, that he was in a secret cooperation with the Cossacks and prevented the alliance between Turkey and Spain, which was much desired at that time. When this effort of the Jesuits failed they succeeded by various means to prompt some Hierarchs to be against the Patriarch, who arrived in Constantinople in order to secretly meet with the purpose of having him deposed. But when the people learned of these actions they rose against the Hierarchs and caused major riots which endangered the life of the Patriarch. The uprising of the people foiled the treachery of the Latin-minded Bishops, organs of the Jesuits, who were deposed by the Church for causing factions.

Although the reactions did not stop, Cyril continued his work. One of the actions of the Jesuits and the Protestants was the effort to disseminate their innovations and penetrate the Orthodox Church with the dissemination of books written in the colloquial language. Referring to these tactics of the Westerners, Cyril wrote to Michael the Ruler of Russia: "The Papists and Protestants have printing presses and are printing every theological work of the Holy Fathers, but in these books they are putting their impious heresies, distorting the Holy and God-bearing Fathers, writing things in accord with their teachings. But this is not enough, because there exist old books in manuscripts in the monasteries of Athos and other places, which demonstrate their cunning. By printing and publishing these books, according to their habits and thoughts, they are striving in places where old books are absent, throwing around our weapons and appearing strong, casting our arrows."8

Cyril, wanting to respond to this ecclesiastical need, managed to establish a printing press in Constantinople, the function of which he commissioned to the scholar Monk Nikodemos Metaxas of Kefallonia. The machines arrived from England to Constantinople in June of 1627, was installed in a building alongside the British Embassy, and immediately started operating printing. The first book published was against the Papacy by eminent Orthodox theologians. The operation of the printing press and the publication of the first book caused surprise to the Jesuits, who saw the vanity of their plans. Moreover, when they learned that Cyril had submitted for printing Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, they slandered Nikodemos Metaxas to Ottoman authorities that he was a disguised soldier, suitable for works of war, and that the printing press was a factory for weapons and counterfeit currency, and that he was printing revolutionary pamphlets and most importantly books against the Ottoman religion. Before the truth of these accusations could be determined by the Ottoman authorities, on 6 January 1628, when the Patriarch was officiating the Service of the Blessing of the Waters, 150 Janissaries led by the Jesuits destroyed the printing press. The next day this matter was investigated, the slanders were uncovered, and the Sublime Porte exiled the Jesuits, after a common demand from the English, Dutch, Swedish and Venetian Embassies. But the efforts of the Patriarch, on which he placed many hopes, was eliminated.

After their continual failures to have Cyril removed, the Propaganda met again on 25 July 1628, chaired by the Pope himself, who welcomed the previous decisions and recommended that they not take into account the costs, however large they may be, as long as they achieved the desired deposition of the Patriarch of Constantinople. He also suggested a quicker and safer way to pay the Hierarchs of the Throne and the Turkish authorities to proceed with the deposition and arrest of the Patriarch, who would then be transferred to Malta to be put on trial by the Holy Inquisition. The decisions of the Propaganda were applied immediately and orders and guidance was given to the Papal representative in Constantinople Angelo Peticca and the Ambassadors Philip Gesy of France and Rodolfo Schmidt of Austria. Since then the entire year that followed various steps were made to implement the decided plan of Rome to eradicate the Patriarch.


8. Χρυσοστόμου Παπαδοπούλου, Κύριλλος Λούκαρις, ἔκδοσις β’, Ἐν Ἀθήναις 1939. Σελ. 85.

Translated by John Sanidopoulos.