Unfinished Business - Constantinople

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Unfinished Business - Constantinople

May 29th is the anniversary of one of the very darkest events in history - the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. The great city was known as the Second Rome and, as the centre of the Byzantine Empire, had been the heart of Orthodox Christianity since the schism from Rome.

The city fell to the Turks after a 53-day siege, during which time desperate appeals for aid from Western Europe were made and ignored. Small groups of volunteers did rally to the call, notably  700 professional soldiers under the command of Giovanni Giustiniani, but despite heroic resistance they were too few to affect the outcome.

The Venetians - who had been responsible for the notorious Sack of Constantinople by Crusader forces in 1204 - had the money and the ships to help the city, but as usual were happy to see their trade rivals taken out.

The final seizure of the great city saw a terrible massacre of the Christian defenders, with tens of thousands of young women and children being rounded up and marched off for sale in the slave markets of Asia and occupied Palestine. The Hagia Sophia cathedral - the largest church in all Christendom - was desecrated and turned into a mosque.

Constantinople had for centuries blocked Muslim efforts to push westwards and into Europe. Once the city was taken, the Ottomans found it much easier to conquer the Balkans and thence on to Hungary and eventually to the gates of Vienna.

The loss of Constantinople thus marked the beginning of centuries of brutal Turkish occupation and oppression for Greece, Serbia and other Balkan nations, and most of Hungary. The tragic plight of Christians under Ottoman rule lasted until a series of heroic independence struggles forced the now decadent Turkish occupiers out of Europe.

Throughout the 19th century, the Russians were the champions of the independence resistance fighters. Shamefully, the British and French went to the aid of the Turks, a self-interested act of religious and moral treason which led to the Crimean War. Twenty years later, Russian forces aided in the liberation of Bulgaria, a heroic uprising which saw the retreating Turks massacre thousands of civilians.

Sadly, the Turks were able to hold on to Constantinople, which they had renamed Istanbul. Very sizeable communities of Greek and Armenian Christians lived on in the city as second class citizens until 1915, when the badly misnamed 'Young Turks' - actually members of a sect of heretical Satanist Jews, backed by British intelligence officers and Freemasons - instigated a series of genocidal pogroms.

Had Tsarist Russia not been knocked out of the war and destroyed by the Wall Street-funded Bolsheviks, it is very likely that the Russians and their fellow Orthodox Greeks would have liberated Constantinople at the end of the First World War. As it is, the liberation of this great Christian city remains a challenge for the future. But liberated Constantinople will be one day. Deus Vult!

 

The 1204 Sack of Constantinople is the subject of one of the chapters in Pilgrims of the Sword - The Official History of the Knights Templar. While the Venetians and French crusaders were guilty of a most appalling crime against Orthodox Byzantium, the Templars were among the Crusader forces who pointedly played no part whatsoever in the tragedy. To find out more, and to enjoy this sumptuous, meticulously researched and superbly written history, go into our online store and buy your copy today!

 


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