Saint Raphael Emperor Constantine


In the year 1452 A.D. the Nation underwent a serious ordeal: the “pseudo-Union” of the Churches.  In Constantinople, on the 12th of December 1452, on the initiative of Constantine Palaiologus (under the deceptive impression that the Nation would be better served, and forgetting that the only friend and invincible ally is the Saviour Christ Himself), a “Unification Liturgy” took place, with Cardinal Isidor (the Pope’s emissary) present.

The Emperor Constantine had arranged for the official joint liturgy to take place in the Church of Haghia Sophia, with the pope’s representative Cardinal Isidore present - in the cadre of the “unification policy” that he was implementing - under the illusion that the Regnant City would be saved with the pope’s help from the exceptionally suffocative engirding by the Turks.

At the time, Protosyncellos Archimandrite Raphael and Deacon Nicholas were both in Constantinople. That joint liturgy took place on the 12th of December of 1452, the feast-day of Saint Spyridon. However, Protosyncellos Raphael did not wish to be present, nor did he allow his Deacon to go.  He was well aware that participation would mean a betrayal of the Faith, so he chose to show discipline to God and not to the Emperor.


Paleologus’ uncontrollable anger


The Emperor was greatly enraged and punished the two Fathers with temporary exile at Aenos.  Saint Raphael is also named “confessor”, for having abandoned the honors and glories of his office and not taking into account the cost of his opposing the Emperor for the sake of defending Orthodoxy’s Truth against the heresy of Papism.

During the last days however, prior to his heroic death, when help from the West did not arrive, the Emperor Constantine realized his tragic mistake and on his last night, inside the Haghia Sophia, asked for forgiveness from God and the people; at peace, he eventually fell in battle as a hero and as a martyr of the Nation, after first having confessed and received Holy Communion as a true Orthodox. This is why – after his heroic sacrifice – even Saint Raphael used to refer to him with tears in his eyes as “the holy Emperor Constantine”.

That was therefore why, when the siege of the Regnant City by the Turks began, the two holy Fathers happened to be beyond the City's walls and had later crossed over into Macedonia; and that was where they were, when the siege of Constantinople occurred, on that black-letter Tuesday, the 29th of May 1453, by the invading Seltzuk Turks from the depths of Asian Mongolia.  Their final stop was Lesvos Island, where they were martyred nine years later, in April of the year 1463 A.D.


O Saints of God, mediate in our favor!


Note: The Betrayal of the Faith, which had culminated in the treasonous joint liturgy in the church of Haghia Sophia, was also the cause that led to the Fall of Constantinople after having remained impregnable for a thousand years thanks to the protection of God and the Supreme Defender, the Lady Theotokos. 

Let the leaders of the Church keep these things in sight, and let them think hard about their moves on matters of the Faith.

Stand fast and preserve the traditions.