Written by Vladimir Moss



     After the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II on March 2, 1917, Russia without an autocratic ruler was bound to descend into anarchy. And as events were to show only too clearly, there was nobody who could replace Tsar Nicholas as the ruler of Russia…

     The revolution had not been taking place only in Petrograd. “In Moscow on February 28th there were massive demonstrations under red flags. The garrison (also composed of reservists) passed over to the side of the rebellion on March 1. In those days a Soviet of workers’ deputies and a Committee of public organizations was formed in the Moscow Duma, as in Petrograd. Something similar took place also in Kharkov and Nizhni-Novgorod. In Tver a crowd killed Governor N.G. Byunting, who, as the crowd approached, had managed to make his confession [by telephone] to the bishop…”[1]

     In such circumstances, the Duma and the Provisional Government, which always followed rather than led public opinion, could not be for the continuation of the Monarchy. It will be remembered that the leaders of the Duma had originally wanted the preservation of the monarchy, but without Nicholas II and with a “responsible ministry”. But in the course of the revolution, and with the Soviet breathing down their necks, the Duma chang ed course… Although, on March 2, the Tsar had addressed a telegram to “Emperor Michael Alexandrovich”, he was destined to be emperor, at best, for no more than a day. For “on March 3, 1917 it became clear that the Provisional Government and society were by no means for the Monarchy. On that day the members of the new government in almost their complete composition appeared before Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich with the text of Nicholas II’s manifesto on his abdication in favour of his brother. Only Guchkov and Milyukov expressed themselves for the preservation of the Monarchy (a constitutional one, it goes without saying), that is, for the Great Prince’s accepting power. The rest, especially Kerensky, Rodzyanko and Lvov, ardently tried to prove the impossibility and danger of such an act at the present time. They said openly that in that case Michael Alexandrovich could be killed, while the Imperial Family and all the officers could ‘have their throats cut’. A second historically important moment had arrived. What would the Grand Duke decide, who was then from a juridical point of view already the All-Russian Emperor?”[2]

     Edvard Radzinsky describes the scene:-

     “Michael came in, tall, pale, his face very young.

     “They spoke in turn.

     “Alexander Kerensky: ‘By taking the throne you will not save Russia. I know the mood of the masses. At present everyone feels intense displeasure with the monarchy. I have no right to conceal that the dangers that taking power would subject you to personally. I could not vouch for your life.’ 

     “Then silence, a long silence. And Michael’s voice, his barely audible voice: ‘In these circumstances, I cannot.’ 

     “Michael was crying. It was his fate to end the monarchy. Three hundred years – and it all ended with him.”[3]

     The explanation of Michael’s pusillanimity was simple: as Fr. Sergei Chechanichev writes, “he was a participant in the conspiracy. Grand Duke Michael wrote in his diary on February 27, 1917: ‘At 5 o’clock Johnson [his English secretary] and I went by train to Petrograd. In the Mariinsky palace I conferred with M.V. Rodzianko, Nekrasov, Svich, Dmitiurkov.’ He himself confirmed that he had conferred wth the enemies of his Majesty. He conducted negotiations with them, defending his brother’s right to power as the lawful Sovereign, and conducted negotiations with his Majesty in the name of the conspirators. On March 1 in a telegram he called on his Majesty: ‘Forgetting all that is past, I beseech you to proceed along the new path indicated by the people’ – that is, that of the conspirators.

     “Even if we close our eyes to all the ‘fakery’ of the documents called ‘abdications’, then that power which his Majesty supposedly transferred to Grand Duke Michael should have been returned, in the case of Michael’s rejection, to his Majesty. Insofar as Michael did not accept the power, he could not transfer it to the Provisional Government. He simply did not have the authority to do that. 

     “… In his so-called ‘abdication’ it is written in black and white: ‘I have taken the firm deision to accept the Supreme power only if that is the will of our great people.’ But if the Grand Duke did not accept the Supreme power, what right did he have to transfer it to anybody else?”[4] 

     This is a powerful argument (much more powerful than the legalistic arguments often heard nowadays that Tsar Nicholas II did not in fact abdicate.) Michael Alexandrovich never became tsar: the last tsar was Nicholas II.

     However, Michael’s actions were significant in another, important respect. As Archpriest Lev Lebedev writes, “Michael Alexandrovich… did not decide [completely] as Kerensky and the others wanted. He did not abdicate from the Throne directly in favour of the Provisional Government. In the manifesto that he immediately wrote he suggested that the question of his power and in general of the form of power in Russia should be decided by the people itself, and in that case he would become ruling Monarch if ‘that will be the will of our Great People, to whom it belongs, by universal suffrage, through their representatives in a Constituent Assembly, to establish the form of government and the new basic laws of the Russian State’. For that reason, the manifesto goes on to say, ‘invoking the blessing of God, I beseech all the citizens of the Russian State to submit to the Provisional Government, which has arisen and been endowed with all the fullness of power at the initiative of the State Duma (that is, in a self-willed manner, not according to the will of the Tsar – Prot. Lebedev), until the Constituent Assembly, convened in the shortest possible time on the basis of a universal, direct, equal and secret ballot, should by its decision on the form of government express the will of the people. Michael.’ The manifesto has been justly criticised in many respects. But still it is not a direct transfer of power to the ‘democrats’!”[5] 

     The historian Mikhail Babkin agrees with Lebedev: Just as Michael Alexandrovich never became tsar, so he never transferred power to the Duma (even assuming he had the right to do that), but said that he would agree to become tsar if the people wanted it. “The talk was not about the Great Prince’s abdication from the throne, but about the impossibility of his occupying the royal throne without the clearly expressed acceptance of this by the whole people of Russia.”[6]

     However, by effectively giving the people the final say in how they were to be ruled, Tsar Michael effectively introduced the democratic principle, making the people the final arbiter of power. Tsar Nicholas clearly saw what had happened, writing in his diary: “God knows who gave him the idea of signing such rot.”[7] Unlike Tsar Nicholas, who simply tried (unsuccessfully) to transfer power from himself to his brother, Michael Alexandrovich undermined the very basis of the Monarchy by acting as if the true sovereign were the people. Like King Saul in the Old Testament he listened to the voice of the people (and out of fear of the people) rather than the voice of God – with fateful consequences for himself and the people.

     It has been argued that Tsar Nicholas’ abdication had no legal force. For, as Michael Nazarov points out, the Basic Laws of the Russian Empire, which had been drawn up by Tsar Paul I, “do not foresee the abdication of a reigning Emperor (‘from a religious… point of view the abdication of the Monarch, the Anointed of God, is contrary to the act of His Sacred Coronation and Anointing; it would be possible only by means of monastic tonsure’ [N. Korevo]). Still less did his Majesty have the right to abdicate for his son in favour of his brother; while his brother Michael Alexandrovich had the right neither to ascend the Throne during the lifetime of the adolescent Tsarevich Alexis, nor to be crowned, since he was married to a divorced woman, nor to transfer power to the Provisional government, nor refer the resolution of the question of the fate of the monarchy to the future Constituent Assembly.

     “Even if the monarch had been installed by the will of such an Assembly, ‘this would have abolished the Orthodox legitimizing principle of the Basic Laws’, so that these acts would have been ‘juridically non-existent’, says M.V. Zyzykin[8]… ‘Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich… performed only an act in which he expressed his personal opinions and abdication, which had an obligatory force for nobody. Thereby he estranged himself from the succession in accordance with the Basic Laws, which juridically in his eyes did not exist, in spite of the fact that he had earlier, in his capacity as Grand Duke on the day of his coming of age, sworn allegiance to the decrees of the Basic Laws on the inheritance of the Throne and the order of the Family Institution’.

     “It goes without saying that his Majesty did not expect such a step from his brother, a step which placed the very monarchical order under question…”[9] 

     We can see the confusion and searching of consciences all this caused in a letter of some Orthodox Christians to the Holy Synod dated July 24, 1917: “We Orthodox Christians most ardently beseech you to explain to us in the newspaper Russkoe Slovo [Russian Word] what... the oath given to us to be faithful to the Tsar, Nicholas Alexandrovich, means. People are saying in our area that if this oath is worth nothing, then the new oath to the new Tsar [the Provisional Government?] will be worth nothing. Which oath must be more pleasing to God. The first or the second? Because the Tsar is not dead, but is alive and in prison…”[10]

     Since Tsar Michael had presented the choice of the form of State government to the Constituent Assembly, many opponents of the revolution were prepared to accept the Provisional Government on the grounds that it was just that – provisional. Moreover, they could with some reason argue that they were acting in obedience to the last manifestation of lawful, tsarist power in Russia… They were not to know that the Constituent Assembly would hardly be convened before it would be forcibly dissolved by the Bolsheviks in January, 1918. So the results of the Tsar’s abdication for Russia were different from what he had hoped and believed. Instead of an orderly transfer of power from one member of the royal family to another, the whole dynasty and autocratic order collapsed. And instead of preventing civil war for the sake of victory in the world war, the abdication was followed by defeat in the world war and the bloodiest civil war in history, followed by the greatest persecution of the faith in the history of the Church.

     This second royal abdication “was the beginning”, as Baroness Sophia Buxhoeveden, the Tsarina’s lady-in-waiting during these days, writes, “of universal chaos. All the structures of the empire were destroyed. The natural consequences of this were a military rebellion that was supported by the civil population, which was also discontented with the actions of the cabinet. And all this, to sum up, led to a complete collapse. The supporters of the monarchy, of whom there were not a few in the rear and at the front, found themselves on their own, while the revolutionaries used the universal madness to take power into their own hands.”[11] 


     What about the other Romanovs? Could not any of them have claimed the throne after the abdication of Michael?

     Robert Massie writes: “After Nicholas II’s sisters, nephews, and nieces, the tsar’s closest surviving relatives were the Vladimirovichi, then comprising his four first cousins, Grand Dukes Cyril, Boris, and Andrew and their sister, Grand Duchess Helen, all children of Nicholas’s eldest uncle, Grand Duke Vladimir. In normal times, the near-simultaneous deaths of a tsar, his son, and his brother, as happened in 1918, automatically would have promoted the eldest of these cousins, Cyril, who was forty-two in 1918, to the Imperial throne. In 1918, however, there was neither empire nor throne, and, consequently, nothing was automatic. Succession to the Russian throne followed the Salic law, meaning that the crown passed only to males, through males, until there were no more eligible males. When an emperor died and neither a son nor a brother was available, the eldest eligible male from the branch of the family closest to the deceased monarch would succeed. In this case, under the old laws, this was Cyril. After Cyril stood his two brothers, Boris and Andrew, and after them the only surviving male of the Pavlovich line, their first cousin Grand Duke Dimitri, the son of Nicholas II’s youngest uncle, Grand Duke Paul. Nicholas II’ six nephews, the sons of the tsar’s sister Xenia, were closer by blood than Cyril but were ineligible because the succession could not pass through a woman…”[12]

     However, there were powerful objections to Cyril’s candidacy. He had married a Lutheran and his first cousin, Victoria Melita, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, who, moreover, had been married to and divorced from Tsaritsa Alexandra’s brother, Grand Duke Ernest of Hesse. By marrying a divorced and heterodox woman who was his cousin, he violated Basic Laws 183 and 185 as well as the Church canons. The Tsar exiled him from Russia, and then, in 1907, deprived him and his descendants of the right to inherit the throne in accordance with Basic Law 126. Although the Tsar later allowed him and his wife to return, the couple plotted against him, and on March 1, even before the abdication, Cyril withdrew his Naval Guard from guarding the Tsaritsa and her family at Tsarskoye Selo and went to the Duma to hail the revolution, sporting a red cockade. He renounced his rights to the Throne, and hoisted the red flag above his palace and his car…[13]

     In July, noting the anti-monarchist mood in Petrograd, he moved to nearby Finland, and only moved again to Switzerland in 1920, when it was clear that there was no hope of the restoration of the monarchy in the near future. 

     Cyril eventually emigrated to France, but was at first cautious about putting forward his claim to the throne. “The Dowager Empress Marie would not believe that her son and his family were dead and refused to attend any memorial service on their behalf. A succession proclamation by Cyril would have shocked and deeply offended the old woman. Further, there was another, not very willing pretender: Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholaevich, former commander-in-chief of the Russian Army, was from the Nicholaevichi, a more distant branch of the Romanov tree, but, among Russians, he was far more respected and popular than Cyril. Nicholas Nicholaevich was forceful and Russia’s most famous soldier whereas Cyril was a naval captain, who, having had one ship sunk beneath him, refused to go to sea again. Nevertheless, when émigré Russians spoke to Grand Duke Nicholas about assuming the throne in exile, he refused, explaining that he did not wish to shatter the hopes of the dowager empress. Besides, Nicholas agreed with Marie that if Nicholas II, his son, and his brother really were dead, the Russian people should be free to choose as their new tsar whatever Romanov – or whatever Russian – they wished.

     “In 1922, six years before the death of Marie and while the old soldier Nicholas Nicholaevich still had seven years to live, Cyril decided to wait no longer. He proclaimed himself first Curator of the Throne and then, in 1924, Tsar of All the Russias – although he announced that for everyday use he still should be addressed by the lesser title Grand Duke. He established a court around his small villa in the village of Saint-Briac in Brittany, issued manifestos, and distributed titles…”[14]

     His claim to be Tsar was recognized by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), first-hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, but not by Metropolitan Evlogy of Paris. Evlogy was in Karlovtsy in the autumn of 1922, when “I received a telegram: ‘At the request of Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich, we ask you insistently to come immediately to Paris.’ I arrived… I was presented with a group of generals led by General Sakharov, and a group of dignitaries asked me to go and visit Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich in Saint-Briac so as to perform a Divine service for him and give him my blessing to assume the imperial throne. I refused…”[15]

     Most of the Romanov family living in exile also rejected Cyril’s claim… The other leading Romanovs were either killed or made their peace with the new regime. Thus the behavior of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolayevich (“Nikolasha”) was, according to Nazarov, “unforgiveable: he didn’t move a finger to avert the plot that he knew was being prepared…, pushed Nicholas II to abdicate, and, having again been appointed by him Commander-in-Chief of the Army, swore to the plotters: ‘The new government already exists and there can be no changes. I will not permit any reaction in any form…’ 

     “In those days the other members of the Dynasty also forgot about their allegiance to the Tsar and welcomed his abdication. Many signed their own rejection of their rights to the Throne…: Grand Dukes Dmitri Konstantinovich, Gabriel Konstantinovich, Igor Konstantinovich, George Mikhailovich and Nicholas Mikhailovich. The latter, following Cyril, also paid a visit of loyalty to the revolutionary Duma on March 1… In the press there appeared declarations by Grand Dukes Boris Vladimirovich, Alexander Mikhailovich, Sergei Mikhailovich and Prince Alexander Oldenburg concerning their ‘boundless support’ for the Provisional government…

     “The identical form of these rejections and declarations witness to the fact of a corresponding demand on the part of the new authorities: these were a kind of signature of loyalty to the revolution. (It is possible that this conceals one of the reasons for the monarchical apathy of these members of the Dynasty in emigration. Only ‘Cyril I’ felt not the slightest shame: neither for the plans of his mother ‘to destroy the empress’, nor for his own appeal to the soldiers to go over to the side of the revolution…) 

     “It goes without saying that in rebelling against his Majesty before the revolution, such members of the Dynasty did not intend to overthrow the monarchy: they would thereby have deprived themselves of privileges and income from their Appanages. They hoped to use the plotters in their own interests, for a court coup within the Dynasty, - but were cruelly deceived. The Provisional government immediately showed that even loyal Romanovs – ‘symbols of Tsarism’ – were not needed by the new authorities: Nicholas Nikolayevich was not confirmed in the post of Commander-in-Chief, and Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich found himself under house arrest in his own palace for ‘being slow to recognize the new order’… We have some reason to suppose that by their ‘signatures of loyalty’ and renunciations of their claims to the Throne the Grand Dukes bought freedom for themselves. Kerensky declared at the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies: ‘You have doubts about the fact that some members of the Royal Family have remained in freedom. But only those are in freedom who have protested with us against the old regime and the caprices of Tsarism.’

     “The Februarists from the beginning did not intend to give the Royal Family freedom. They were subjected to humiliating arrest in the palace of Tsarskoye Selo, and were restricted even in their relations with each other. And none of the previously active monarchists spoke out for them. True, many of them had already been arrested, the editors of their newspapers and their organizations had been repressed. But even more monarchist activists kept silent, while some even signed declarations of loyalty to the new government…”[16] 


     It is instructive to compare the end of the Romanov dynasty, the rulers of the Third Rome, with the end of the Paleologus dynasty, the rulers of the Second Rome of Constantinople, and the end of the Anglo-Saxon dynasty of Orthodox England, the last part of the First Rome of the West to retain a traditionally Orthodox understanding of, and veneration for, the Orthodox autocracy.

     Already in the fourteenth century, the Byzantine empeor John V Paleologushad become a Roman Catholic in Rome – and signed a concordat with the Orthodox Church in Constantinople that enabled him to keep his throne nevertheless. The Church betrayed Orthodoxy again in 1438-39 by signing the decrees of the false council of Florence Ferrara in 1438-39. Emperor John VIII signed the unia in 1439 – and kept his throne. The last Christian ruler of the City, Constantine XI, was also a uniate – and kept his throne - until Sultan Mehmet II killed him and captured it in 1453...

     Constantine XI was a hero and a patriot. But he was not Orthodox. Therefore, a fortiori, he was not, and must not be counted as, one of the Orthodox emperors of the New or Second Rome. The unia with Rome was not caused by real sympathy for the papacy: only a small minority were real Latinophiles. It was caused by the fact that the bishops (except Mark of Ephesus) chose to follow their emperor rather than Christ in the vain hopes of being delivered out of the hands of one Antichrist through the help of another. (King Josiah of Judah had tried the same stratagem many centuries before. It did not work…) But the last emperor, Constantine XI, was not even crowned after his return to Constantinople in 1449, but in Mystra, because of the opposition of the zealots of Orthodoxy. [17]And yet in spite of the fact that their emperor was neither anointed nor Orthodox, the people still followed him… 

     The last truly Orthodox king ruling on the territory of the First, or Old Rome was the English King Harold II. Admired in his lifetime by friend and foe alike, he accomplished much. In his short reign of nine months and nine days he had to face two invasions: first from the north by the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada, the greatest warrior of his age, and from the south by Duke William “the Bastard” of Normandy, the eleventh-century equivalent of Vladimir Ilych (or maybe Lev Davidovych)… In September 1066 Harold defeated and killed Harald and crushed his Viking army at Stamford Bridge, near York (where the first Orthodox Emperor, Constantine the Great, was crowned), which put a final end to the Viking scourge of Western Europe. Then, pushing his exhausted men south by forced marches, he met William at Hastings in October. Towards the end of a long and very hard-fought battle, as the darkness was closing in, Harold was killed by an arrow through his eye. England was blinded, physically and spiritually. The Norman Catholics, who had been sent to conquer old-fashioned, “schismatic” England with the blessing of the schismatic Pope Alexander II, destroyed the last serious obstacle to the Reformed Catholic papacy, propelling a fleet of 385 ships full of unreconciled English warriors to Constantinople and the Crimea. Harold’s daughter went even further, to Kiev, where she married Great Prince Vladimir Monomakh, to whom she bore six children, making Martyr-King Harold of England the distant ancestor of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II.

     There were attempts to replace Harold with other members of the old Anglo-Saxon dynasty, but they all in one way or another, like the Romanovs after them, bowed down to the new antichristian power and its cruel new tyrant-king, William, who proceeded to slaughter perhaps 10% of the population, removed or killed the bishops, razed the main churches to the ground, collectivized the land and defiled the relics of the saints. So Harold was “the last emperor” in the West, the last restrainer of the Antichrist. In this way, he was similar to Nicholas II, not Constantine XI.

     All three Romes have now fallen, and there is no realistic hope of the restoration of any Orthodox dynasty in the near future. But “realism” is a relative concept in the context of the Providence of God, for Whom nothing is impossible and Who can depose the most powerful of rulers and raise princes from the dung hill – and even create new Constantines out of the stones of unbelieving hearts. So we cannot say with certainty that absolutely the last Emperor has lived and died. 

     What we can say, however, is that the new Constantine will have to be unlike the last Constantine, who betrayed the Orthodox faith, but in the image of the last Russian tsar, who died for it.


May 21 / June 3, 2020.

Holy Equals to the Apostles Constantine and Helena.


[1] Archpriest Lev Lebedev, Velikorossia (Great Russia), St. Petersburg, 1992,  p. 489.

[2] Lebedev, op. cit., p. 491.

[3] Radzinsky, The Last Tsar, p. 173. According to Sebag Sebastian Montefiore, “the ministers tried to intimidate Michael into abdicating. He asked if they could guarantee his safety. ‘I had to answer in the negative,’ said Rodzianko, but Pavel Milyukov, the foreign minister, argued that this ‘frail craft’ – the Provisional Government – would sink in ‘the ocean of national disorder’ without the raft of the monarchy. Kerensky, the only one who could speak for the Soviet, disagreed, threatening chaos: ‘I can’t answer for Your Highness’s life.’

     “Princess Putiatina invited them all for lunch, sitting between the emperor and the prime minister. After a day of negotiations, Michael signed his abdication: ‘I have taken a firm decision to assume the Supreme Power only if such be the will of our great people by universal suffrage through its representatives to the Constituent Assembly.’ Next day, he sent a note to his wife Natasha: ‘Awfully busy and extremely exhausted. Will tell you many interesting things.’ Among these interesting things, he had been emperor of Russia for a day – and after 304 years the Romanovs had fallen.” (The Romanovs, London, 2017, p. 623).

[4] Chechanichev, “Tajna Molchania Gosudaria” (The Mystery of the Tsar’s Silence), Russkaia Narodnaia Linia, May 19, 2020. Italics mine (V.M.).

[5] Lebedev, op. cit., p. 491.

[6] Babkin, “Sviatejshij Sinod Pravoslavnoj Rossijskoj Tserkvi i Revoliutsionnie Sobytia Fevralia-Marta 1917 g.” (“The Most Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Revolutionary Events of February-March, 1917”),, p. 3.

[7] Radzinsky, The Last Tsar, p. 172. It has been argued that Tsar Nicholas had also given a certain impulse towards the democratic anarchy when he declared in his manifesto: “We command Our Brother to conduct State affairs fully and in inviolable unity with the representatives of those men who hold legislative office, upon those principles which they shall establish, swearing an inviolable oath to that effect.” The principles established by the State Duma were, of course, democratic, not monarchical. And on September 15, 1917, Kerensky even declared, in defiance of the whole aim of the Constituent Assembly as defined by Tsar Michael in his manifesto, that Russia was now a republic… But perhaps the Tsar meant, not a Constituent Assembly, but a Zemsky Sobor, of the kind that brought Tsar Michael Romanov to the throne in 1613…

[8] Zyzykin, Tsarskaia Vlast’, Sophia, 1924. (V.M.)

[9] Nazarov, op. cit., p. 68.

[10] Tatyana Groyan, Tsariu Nebesnomu i Zemnomu Vernij (Faithful to the Heavenly and Earthly King), Moscow, 1996, pp. 122, 123.

[11] Buksgevden, Ventsenosnitsa Muchenitsa (The Crown-Bearing Martyr), Moscow, 2010, p. 412.

[12] Massie, The Romanovs: The Final Chapter, London: Arrow, 1995, p.261.

[13] Massie, op. cit., pp. 267-269. For a detailed assessment, and rejection, of the claims of Cyril and his descendants, see Michael Nazarov, Kto Naslednik Rossijskogo Prestola? (Who is the Heir of the Russian Throne?), Moscow, 1996.

[14] Massie, op. cit., pp. 261-262.

[15] Evlogy, Puti moej zhizni (The Paths of My Life), Paris: YMCA Press, 1947, p. 604.

[16] Nazarov, op. cit., pp. 69-71.

[17] Pope Nicholas V wrote to him: “From this man [the imperial legate, Andronicus Vryennios] and from your own letters, we have learned that you desire union and accept the synodal decree” (P.G. 160, 1201B). See “The Long-Awaited King”, Orthodox Christian Witness, May 7/20, 1979.  And Bishop Leonard of Chios wrote: “Through the diligence and honesty of the said Cardinal, Isidore of Kiev, and with the assent (if it was not insincere) of the emperor and the senate, the holy union was sanctioned and solemnly decreed on December 12th, the feast of Saint Spirydon, the bishop” (quoted in Judith Herrin, “The Fall of Constantinople”, History Today, vol. 53, N 6, June, 2003, p. 15). St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite believed that Constantine was not a uniate and therefore inscribed him in some calendars. His name is also found on some Russian calendars. But there appears to be no doubt that he was a uniate, having received communion from Cardinal Isidore a few hours before his death, and therefore cannot be counted as an Orthodox saint. Lebedev writes: “Whatever might be said in his defence, nevertheless the last Orthodox Byzantine Emperor was a traitor to Orthodoxy. His betrayal is the more shameful the less it was sincere. Here are the words by which the Emperor and those who thought like him tried to pacify the crowd which did not want the unia; they said: ‘Be patient a little, wait until God has delivered the capital for the great dragon [the Turks], who wants to devour it. Then you will see whether our reconciliation with the azymites [the Latins] was sincere.’” (op. cit., p. 392).

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