Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
XVIII: The Aftermath of the Crusades, pp. [unnumbered]-666 PDF (7.8 MB)
654 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES pontiff seized the opportunity to insist on the conversion of the Greeks to Roman obedience. The Greek delegation, headed by em peror John VIII and patriarch Joseph II, was received with honor by pope Eugenius IV and his cardinals at Ferrara in March 1438. Prolonged discussions took place between the two parties, who moved to Florence on February 26, 1439. The Greeks were at a disadvantage, and eventually John VIII and Joseph II (before his death on June 10), together with a multitude of eastern Orthodox prelates, gave way to the Latins in regard to doctrinal differences and to the primacy of Rome, "saving the privileges and rights of the eastern patriarchs." The bull "Laetentur coeli" of July 6, 1439, was the official proclamation whereby Constantinople was reconciled to the Roman see. In return, Eugenius signed a treaty in which he agreed to reinforce the defense of Byzantium with two galleys and three hundred men annually, and to increase his contribution to twenty galleys for six months or ten for a year in case of imminent danger. He further promised to promote the cause of holy war at the courts of Europe. But the unionist movement was evidently a matter of diplomacy and not of faith, and as such, it was foredoomed. Neither was the pope able to carry out his promises and reanimate the crusading spirit among Catholic princes, nor were the Greeks able to forgive and forget the sins of the Latins in the Fourth Crusade and after. Finally, the Greek patriarchs Philotheus of Alexandria, Doro theus of Antioch, and Joachim of Jerusalem allegedly condemned the Ferrara-Florence compromise and accused their colleague in Constantinople of heresy; their resolutions were supposedly issued in a common encyclical in 1443.11 In spite of the hopelessness of the situation in western Europe for the crusade, the reign of Murad II brought Ottoman rule in the Balkans almost to the edge of disaster. This was due mainly to the heroic career of John Hunyadi, the regent of Hungary and voivode of Transylvania, who led the Hungarian crusade with varying fortunes against the Turks. In 1438, Murad had already crossed the Danube and invaded Transylvania as far as the gates of the strong town of Hermannstadt (now Sibiu). Meanwhile, his westerly irruption into Serbia was arrested before Belgrade. At this moment Hunyadi ap peared on the scene and succeeded in forming a coalition with two other outstanding eastern leaders: king Vladislav III of Poland 11. Doubt has been cast on the authenticity of this condemnation by Joseph Gill, "The Condemnation of the Council of Florence by the Three Oriental Patriarchs in 1443," Personalities of the Council of Florence, and other Essays (Oxford, 1964), pp. 213—221. On the council in general see above, pp. 92—95, and Gill, The Council of Florence.
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