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In this way they were gaining ground very fast amongst the poor Greeks, although viewed with jealousy by the more ancient establishments of the Franciscans and Dominicans, who dreaded lest their intrigues should terminate in the banishment of the whole of the Romish emissaries. We have already seen that, on a former residence in the capital, Cyril had shewn himself a firm opponent of the Romish party, and it therefore was not surprising that on his accession to the patriarchal chair he should consult with his suffragans on the best means of counteracting the schemes of the Jesuits. The result was that all the members of the Greek church were commanded to withdraw themselves and their families from intercourse with the partisans of the pope.
This was the signal to the Jesuits for exerting every effort to displace him. By the interest of the French ambassador (A.D. 1622) they procured the election of a rival patriarch in the person of Gregory of Amasia,* who had submitted himself to the pope. This step, however, did not succeed as they could wish. Cyril convened a synod of his clergy, and, without mentioning the Jesuits, warned both clergy and people against "certain incendiaries, with whom it would be necessary to deal more severely unless they desisted from their intrigues." He then, assisted by four archbishops, excommunicated the bishop who had lent himself to the Jesuits, and created a schism in the church.
This mild and dignified procedure (for such it was) baffled for a time the tactics of the Jesuits. But they did not rest. In a few months they trumped up a charge against him, of wishing to deliver up an island of the Archipelago to the duke of Tuscany; and supporting the accusation by a bribe of twenty thousand dollars to the Turkish authorities, they procured the deposition of Cyril, and his banishment to Rhodes. But when they thought to place their tool immediately in the vacant chair, they experienced a disappointment. The Greeks would neither visit the pretender nor attend the cathedral to enthrone him, and, what was of more importance, they would not pay the sultan the ordinary tribute upon the election of a new patriarch; and, as the finances of the Jesuits were now exhausted, it became necessary to look about for some new expedient. In this emergency they cast their eyes upon Anthimus, Archbishop of Adrianople, a rich but worthless person, whom they prevailed upon to guarantee the accustomed tribute, and who was consequently enthroned, though greatly against the wishes of the wretched Greeks. In the disturbances connected with these changes the patriarchal residence was robbed of several ancient MSS. and other church ornaments.
The intruder, however, did not long enjoy his dignity. It is true that there were great rejoicings at Rome, and that Pope Urban VIII. addressed a public letter of thanks to Count de Cesi, the French ambassador, (July, 1624) for the service he had done to the Catholic
* Smith's, p. 252, who gives an account of these transactions quite independent of that of Aymon, "out of a large relation written by Sir Thomas Rowe, in Constantinople, July, 1627."
cause. But this stirred up the spirit of King James I., who sent directions to our ambassador, Sir Thomas Rowe, to leave no stone unturned to procure the reinstatement of Cyril. The first step was to obtain the reversal of the sentence of banishment, which was happily effected, and he returned to Constantinople. He was scarcely arrived when his rival, stung by remorse, waited upon him privately, put himself at his disposal, and offered to resign the see. His visit, however, was not so secret but that the Jesuits got information of it; and accordingly the French ambassador invited him to his house, and prevailed upon him by presents and promises of protection to retain his dignity. The people and clergy, however, were not to be gained over. They deserted Anthimus, and adhered to their rightful pastor; and at the end of three months the intruder, feeling the awkwardness of his position, and dreading, perhaps, that the same influence which had brought back Cyril from his banishment, might procure his public restoration, repaired to him again by night, abjured all foreign connexion, resigned the patriarchal dignity, and prayed his clemency and absolution. Whereupon Cyril took courage, and by the help of his friends and the contributions of the Greek population, who involved themselves in debt to raise the money, he was reinstated in the full possession of the honours he had lost.
But Cyril was not allowed to enjoy his post in peace. Early in the next year (1623) a Greek monk arrived from Rome, at the residence of the French ambassador, to encourage the Jesuits to new attempts, and bringing the assurance from the Propaganda that twenty thousand dollars should be forthcoming whenever Cyril was displaced. Accordingly fresh calumnies were invented against him; but the design being discovered was for the time frustrated.
Next year (1624) they had recourse to new methods. One Beville, a Jesuit, was sent to him, to tempt him to cause an insurrection of the Cossacks, over whom, as being of the Greek communion, he represented to him that he had great power. This, being directly treasonable, would of course have ensured his destruction. Another attempt was made by a person whose name is not mentioned, to induce him to enter into a secret treaty with the court of Spain. But what appears to have been most relied upon was an attempt to gain over Cyril himself to enter into a treaty for reunion with Rome. The person sent on this errand was Canachio Rossi, a Greek of Nauplia, but brought up in the Greek college at Rome, who brought instructions under the hand and seal of Cardinal Bandini, of which we subjoin a copy.*
"1. There being no letters, either from the patriarch or from the prelates, there is no replying to them, except by word of mouth, according to the language of the messenger.
"2. The church of Rome has always desired union and peace with all churches, especially with the Eastern, which has deserved so well of the Catholic church in other times. And not only in ancient
Narratio," &c., in Aymon, p. 211.
times, but more recently, even in the time of Patriarch Jeremias, she has done what she could to aid and reconcile her, sparing for that end neither expense nor labour. Moreover, for that very end she has founded, and still maintains with her own funds the college of Greek youths, in order that that noble and clever nation may again flourish in piety and learning as in former times.
3. With regard to the particular business of the present patriarch, our Lord, who is so great a favourer and patron of the Greek nation individually, as you yourself know and have seen with your own eyes, would most willingly spend any sum of money whatever to reunite so noble a member to the church, and to aid that see in particular, on which the rest of the east depends. But supposing the accounts to be true which have come and are continually coming from Constantinople concerning the patriarch, he does not see in what manner it can be done.
"4. We are informed concerning him that he denies the invocation of saints, the worship and veneration of images and relics of saints, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the freedom of the will, the authority of the holy councils, traditions, the authority of the Holy Fathers, the necessity of auricular confession, and the declaration in it [confession] of sins of the mind; and that instead of it he has introduced a kind of confession made to God publicly in general terms; that he sends young men to study in the university of England, where they are taught this doctrine, in order, by means of them, to disseminate it through the Levant; that for this end he has caused to be printed, and does himself distribute to the bishops, a kind of catechism full of these and similar errors, condemned many years since, not only by the apostolic see, and the Council of Trent, but even by his own predecessor; that, on the representation of the Hugonot ambassadors, with whom he freely communicates, he has taken away the Synodicon, and has left off paying any reverence to the most holy Eucharist.
"5 That his holiness would be glad to find that all these things were false, and that, as being the head of so noble a nation, he were such a person as the present needs, both spiritual and temporal, of his subjects require, in order that he might be able with a good grace and safe conscience to help him.
"6. That if these things are calumnies, and he thinks he can make his innocence appear to the satisfaction of his holiness, he may put it in the power of the ambassador of France, or of the emperor, to do so, that he may place entire dependence on whatever they may say, being persons of so much authority and excellence; and that he must send our lord by means of them, his confession of faith, in which he may accept the Council of Florence, and condemn the Calvinistic and Lutheran errors; that the apostolic see will not fail to render him any aid and favour to assist him, and to place at his feet the church of Constantinople, and all its other dependencies.
"7. That it is not the intention of his holiness to demand of him, or of the other Greek prelates, any other conditions but those which were concluded and settled in the holy Council of Florence, provided the Greek church, as to this hour she has done, condemns and anathe
matizes the blasphemies of the northern heretics, as Lutherans, Calvinists, and the like."
These articles appear to have been shewn to Cyril, and to have put him in great doubt and perplexity what to answer. Not that he had any doubt as to refusing the terms offered him; and, indeed, it was his first impulse to reject the proposals altogether, and to refuse to have anything to say to the agent of Rome. But the opinions charged upon him were so mixed up with truth and falsehood, (for all the Greeks acknowledge the real presence, and the authority of fathers, councils, and tradition in general,) that he feared equally both to reply and to be silent; lest, if silent he should appear to admit that his opinions were truly represented; or, if he should speak, he should be accused of treating with Rome. However, upon consulting Sir Thomas Rowe, he was advised by him to say nothing, on the ground that the cardinal had not written to him, and to trust to time for getting him out of the difficulty.
Having failed in this scheme, the Jesuits had recourse to their old method. They corrupted some of the Greek bishops, and made strenuous efforts to get another patriarch chosen in Cyril's room; and so violent were their proceedings that he thought it prudent to retire and conceal himself, until the Turkish government was informed of the circumstances, and made aware of the political danger of the success of the Roman projects, and fully persuaded them of his having given them no encouragement.
The patriarch began now to have some hope of rest; but if he enjoyed this blessing for awhile, it was only because the court of Rome was preparing a more formidable attack upon him. It was at length determined not to rely any longer upon the native Greeks, but to send anti-patriarch, and a number of titular bishops, of Smyrna, Naxos, and other islands; persons of more learning than the Greek bishops, and with better external means of supporting the dignity of their station; and they were accompanied by an ecclesiastical treasurer, who was to furnish money as it was needed, and to act in concert with the Jesuits and the French ambassador. Accordingly, towards the end of 1626, the anti-patriarch (who was called an apostolic suffragan) arrived at Naxos, where he was met by the titular bishop of the island, chaplain to the ambassador, and by two Jesuits, and by them conducted to Scio. Now, if he had gone about his work in a quiet and prudent manner, waiting to get on by degrees under the wing and patronage of the ambassador, it is possible he might have succeeded; but he was so filled with a sense of his own importance that he could not restrain himself, and began to act, even towards those who acknowledged the pope, in so harsh and imperious a manner, that everybody became alarmed. The Frankish laity feared for their rights of patronage; the conventuals did not relish the idea of parting with their independence, and would not admit him into their convents; all dreaded that their liberties were at stake, and that they should all become mixed up with his acts, and consequently, in the end be involved by the Turks in one common destruction. The Greek clergy foresaw the overthrow both of their ancient faith, and
of their authority; and the only party thoroughly satisfied were the Jesuits.
Their triumph, however, was but short. The Greeks and their friends, some through desperation, others through goodwill, bestirred themselves so effectually that the vizier began to look into the business. The apostolical suffragan thereupon withdrew as secretly and as speedily as possible. The titular bishops were not so fortunate; for their letters of privilege were taken from them, and they themselves cast into prison, to the great displeasure of their friend and protector, the French ambassador.
In the midst of all these strifes and broils other things were not forgotten. Archbishop Abbott, in sending back Metrophanes, or at some subsequent period, had requested of Cyril to search for certain MSS., which the learning of King James and others wished to see in this country. What they were does not at present appear, and it is not surprising, especially considering the unbusiness-like habits of the Greeks, that he should have made no reply as yet. Early, however, in 1627, and a little after the arrival of the apostolical suffragan, we find the following letter of Cyril to the archbishop:—
"Most blessed Father Archbishop,
"After brotherly health and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ; the present letter does not admit of my explaining at full length the causes of my delay in replying to your blessedness; for as often as I intended to reply, I was so distracted by various kinds of affairs, which daily overwhelmed me, that I was constrained to defer it. It is true that much time has passed away; but the bond of Christian charity, which your blessedness and myself earnestly cultivate, remains unbroken in my inmost heart. With respect to your own occupations, every one must be sensible how much your wisdom is taken up with much public and private business; and the more, without doubt, at the death of his Most Serene Highness King James of happy memory, for whose death every good man grieves. For he lived in this world not less a king than a philosopher; but now being become a most happy courtier of the heavenly kingdom, he enjoys a nobler and more excellent life and light for ever. The Christian commonwealth has lost a very great blessing; but the most serene and most Christian Charles, inheriting the majesty, and kingdom, and virtues of his most dear parent, and exhibiting to all beholders a lively image of his father, permits us to hope for greater things. I, unworthy as I am, augur for his royal majesty, [alas! how little could the good patriarch see into futurity !] a most happy and splendid reign in his most flourishing kingdom of Great Britain; and on my bended knees I entreat God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to preserve his royal majesty to a distant period, to govern him with his holy Spirit, to honour him with every blessing, and to increase his prosperity most abundantly. This is my prayer for his royal majesty; and I most especially beg your blessedness to mention it to him in my name, and humbly to kiss the hands of his royal majesty, and earnestly to entreat
Epist. Clar. Vir. p. 336.