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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The fall of Byzantium

The conversion to Catholicism of Emperor John V


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In his encyclical letter the pope expressed his joy at John's return to the Catholic faith and abjuration of the schism, and declared his hope that this example would be imitated by the numberless peoples who followed the schism and the errors of the Greeks. At the same time, however, the patriarch of Constantinople Philotheus, sent messages not only to the population of the Empire but also to the Orthodox Christians beyond its confines, in Syria, in Egypt, in the South-Slavonic countries, and in far-off Russia, urging them to be constant to the Orthodox faith. There was to be a stubborn resistance to John's religious policy. His conversion in Rome had no real results, and he could receive from the pope nothing but attention, presents, and promises. Despite the papal appeals, western Europe sent no help against the Turks. John's conversion, so solemnly proclaimed, was merely a personal affair; the overwhelming majority of the population of the Empire remained faithful to the Eastern Orthodox church. Nevertheless this journey of the Emperor is of interest as an episode in the history of cultural intercourse between Byzantium and western Europe in the epoch of the Renaissance  

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