Τρίτη 31 Μαΐου 2016


  Voulez-vous que je vous montre les différents chemins de la conversion ? Ils sont nombreux et variés mais ils conduisent tous au Royaume.
Le premier chemin est la condamnation de ses propres erreurs. Commencez par reconnaître vos erreurs pour être justifiés. C’est ce que le prophète dit : « Je t’ai fait connaître mon péché, je n’ai pas caché mon iniquité ; J’ai dit : J’avouerai mes transgressions à l’Eternel ! Et tu as effacé la peine de mon péché. » (Ps 31/32 :5). Ainsi vous condamnez les fautes que vous avez commises et cela suffira pour que le Maître vous écoute. Car la personne qui confesse ses fautes ne craindra plus de les commettre à nouveau.
Il y a un second chemin qui n’est pas inférieur au premier. C’est de ne pas garder rancune envers nos ennemis, de surmonter notre colère afin de pardonner les offenses de nos compagnons car c’est de la sorte que nous obtiendrons le pardon de la part de Notre Seigneur. Ceci donc est le second chemin de la conversion. Le Seigneur dit « Si vous pardonnez aux autres leurs offenses, votre Père Céleste vous pardonnera aussi » (Mathieu 6 :14).
Voulez-vous connaître le troisième chemin de la conversion ? C’est la prière fervente et attentive dans le fond de votre cœur…
Le quatrième chemin est celui du don (des aumônes)…Ce chemin possède une puissance considérable…
Et puis il y a (le chemin de) la modestie et de l’humilité qui ne sont pas des moyens inférieurs pour déraciner les pêchés. Nous avons le publicain comme exemple : il ne pouvait pas proclamer ses bonnes actions, cependant il les a remplacées par l’offrande de son humilité et ainsi il déposa le lourd fardeau de ses fautes…
Nous vous avons indiqué cinq chemins de conversion….aussi ne restez pas inactifs mais utilisez ces cinq chemins tous les jours. Ce sont des chemins faciles et vous ne pouvez utiliser votre impuissance comme prétexte pour ne pas les emprunter.
Voir aussi

Saint Jean Chrysostome sur le mariage
St John Chrysostom the archbishop of Constantinople

L’Eglise Orthodoxe à La Réunion
Théosis (déification) 
Travelers on the Way to the Light 

Δευτέρα 30 Μαΐου 2016

The Sack of Constantinople (1204), the first clash of the Orthodox Christian world and the western colonialism

Icon from here

Siege of Constantinople (1204)

From Wikipedia
Siege of Constantinople (1204)
Part of the Fourth Crusade
Eugène Ferdinand Victor Delacroix 012.jpg
The Entry of the Crusaders in Constantinople, by Eugène Delacroix.
Date 8–13 April 1204
Location Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Result Decisive Crusader victory
Constantinople captured by the Crusaders.
Byzantine Empire Byzantine Empire Crusaders Republic of Venice Republic of Venice
Commanders and leaders
Byzantine Empire Alexios IV Angelos Byzantine Empire Alexios V Doukas Argent a chief gules.svg Boniface I Republic of Venice Enrico Dandolo
Byzantines: 15,000 men,[1]
  • Byzantines: 20 ships[2]
Crusaders: 10,000 men[3]
Venetians: 10,000 men[3]

  • Venetians: 210 ships[4]
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

The Sack of Constantinople or Siege of Constantinople (also called the Fourth Crusade) occurred in 1204. Mutinous Crusader armies captured, looted, and destroyed parts of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. After the capture, the Latin Empire was created and Baldwin of Flanders was crowned Emperor Baldwin I of Constantinople in the Hagia Sophia.
After the city's sacking, a number of territories of the Empire went under the control of the Crusaders. Others formed independent states under Byzantine aristocracy, one of them being the Empire of Nicaea, which recaptured the city in 1261 proclaiming the reinstatement of the Empire. However, the weakened state would never return to its former territorial or economic status, and would eventually see all its territories in Anatolia and Southeastern Europe conquered by a rising Ottoman Sultanate, who carried out the 1453 Siege of Constantinople. For this reason, the events of 1204 are sometimes seen as marking the final part of the Byzantine Empire's decline.
Before the siege

The Massacre of the Latins (Italian: Massacro dei Latini; Greek: Σφαγή τῶν Λατίνων), a large-scale massacre of the Roman Catholic or "Latin" inhabitants of Constantinople by the Eastern Orthodox population of the city in May 1182,[5][6] had a dramatic effect on the schism between the Western and Eastern Christian churches.[7] The massacre also further worsened the image of the Byzantines in the eyes of the Western powers, and, although regular trade agreements were soon resumed between Byzantium and Latin states, the underlying hostility would remain, leaving many westerners seeking some form of revenge.

Note of our blog: 
This act was a great sin, and the cause was the aggression of the Italians against the Byzantines in previous years.
"Although [emperor] Andronikos I Komnenos himself had no particular anti-Latin attitude, he allowed the massacre to proceed unchecked. A few years later, Andronikos I himself was deposed and handed over to the mob of Constantinople citizenry, and was tortured and summarily executed in the Hippodrome by Latin soldiers.
The massacre further worsened the image of the Byzantines in the West, and although regular trade agreements were soon resumed between Byzantium and Latin states, the underlying hostility would remain, leading to a spiraling chain of hostilities: a Norman expedition under William II of Sicily in 1185 sacked Thessalonica, the Empire's second largest city, and the German emperors Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI both threatened to attack Constantinople" (from here).
"The Sack of Thessalonica in 1185 by Normans of the Kingdom of Sicily was one of the worst disasters to befall the Byzantine Empire in the 12th century. (...) The conquest degenerated quickly into a full-scale massacre of the city's inhabitants, some 7,000 corpses being found afterwards. The siege is extensively chronicled by the city's archbishop, Eustathius of Thessalonica [icon from here], who was present in the city during and after the siege. (...) As a demonstration of the Byzantine Empire's military feebleness, it also directly led to the deposition of the unpopular and tyrannical Andronikos I Komnenos and the rise to the throne of Isaac II Angelos, a fact that raises many questions considering the sub-standard defense of the city by governor David Komnenos, member also of the wider Komnenian family just like Isaak II Angelos" (from here).

Map showing Constantinople and its walls during the Byzantine era
Following the siege of Constantinople in 1203, on 1 August 1203, the pro-Crusader Alexios Angelos was crowned Emperor Alexios IV of the Byzantine Empire, who then tried to pacify the city. But riots between anti-Crusader Greeks and pro-Crusader Latins broke out later that month and lasted until November, during which most of the populace began to turn against Emperor Alexios IV.
On 25 January 1204, the death of co-Emperor Isaac II set off rioting in Constantinople in which the people deposed Alexios IV, who turned to the Crusaders for help but was imprisoned by the imperial chamberlain, Alexios Doukas, who declared himself Emperor on 5 February. Emperor Alexios V then attempted to negotiate with the Crusaders for a withdrawal from Byzantine territory, but they refused to abandon their old treaty with Alexios IV. When Alexios V ordered Alexios IV's execution on 8 February, the Crusaders declared war on Alexios V. In March 1204, the Crusader and Venetian leadership decided on the outright conquest of Constantinople, and drew up a formal agreement to divide the Byzantine Empire between them.


By the end of March, the combined Crusader armies were besieging Constantinople as Emperor Alexios V began to strengthen the city's defences while conducting more active operations outside the city. By the first week of April, the Crusaders had begun their siege from their encampment in the town of Galata across the Golden Horn from Constantinople.[8]
On 9 April 1204, the Crusader and Venetian forces began an assault on the Golden Horn fortifications by crossing the waterway to the northwest wall of the city, but, because of bad weather, the assault forces were driven back when the troops that landed came under heavy archery fire in open ground between Constantinople's fortifications and the shore.[8]

Capture of the city
The siege of Constantinople in 1204, by Palma il Giovane.
On 12 April 1204 weather conditions finally favoured the Crusaders as the weather cleared and a second assault on the city was ordered. A strong north wind aided the Venetian ships near the Golden Horn to come close to the city wall, which enabled the attackers to seize some of the towers along the wall. After a short battle approximately 70 Crusaders managed to enter the city. Some Crusaders were eventually able to knock holes in the walls large enough for a few knights at a time to crawl through; the Venetians were also successful at scaling the walls from the sea, although there was extremely bloody fighting with the Varangians. The Crusaders captured the Blachernae section of the city in the northwest and used it as a base to attack the rest of the city, but while attempting to defend themselves with a wall of fire they ended up burning down even more of the city. Emperor Alexios V fled from the city that night through the Polyandriou (Rhegium) Gate and escaped into the countryside to the west.

Sack of Constantinople
The Horses of Saint Mark displayed on the facade of St Mark's Basilica in Venice

The Crusaders looted, terrorized, and vandalized Constantinople for three days, during which many ancient and medieval Roman and Greek works were either stolen or destroyed. The famous bronze horses from the Hippodrome were sent back to adorn the façade of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, where they remain. As well as being stolen, works of immeasurable artistic value were destroyed merely for their material value. One of the most precious works to suffer such a fate was a large bronze statue of Hercules, created by the legendary Lysippos, court sculptor of no less than Alexander the Great. Like so many other priceless artworks made of bronze, the statue was melted down for its content by the Crusaders. The great Library of Constantinople was destroyed as well.[9]
Despite their oaths and the threat of excommunication, the Crusaders systematically violated the city's holy sanctuaries, destroying or stealing all they could lay hands on; nothing was spared, not even the tombs of the emperors inside the St Apostles church. The civilian population of Constantinople were subject to the Crusaders' ruthless lust for spoils and glory; thousands of them were killed in cold blood. Women, even nuns, were raped by the Crusader army, which also sacked churches, monasteries and convents. The very altars of these churches were smashed and torn to pieces for their gold and marble by the warriors who had sworn to fight in service of the Pope without question. Although the Venetians engaged in looting too, their actions were far more restrained. Doge Dandolo still appeared to have far more control over his men. Rather than wantonly destroying all around like their comrades, the Venetians stole religious relics and works of art, which they would later take to Venice to adorn their own churches.
It was said that the total amount looted from Constantinople was about 900,000 silver marks, or 600,000 troy pounds. The Venetians received 150,000 silver marks that was their due and the Crusaders received 50,000 silver marks. A further 100,000 silver marks were divided evenly between the Crusaders and Venetians. The remaining 500,000 silver marks were secretly kept back by many Crusader knights. Meanwhile, Latin residents of Constantinople exacted their own retribution for the Massacre of the Latins of 1182.[10]


According to a prearranged treaty the empire was apportioned between Venice and the crusade's leaders, and the Latin Empire of Constantinople was established. Boniface was not elected as the new emperor, although the citizens seemed to consider him as such; the Venetians thought he had too many connections with the former empire because of his brother, Renier of Montferrat, who had been married to Maria Comnena, empress in the 1170s and 80s. Instead they placed Baldwin of Flanders on the throne. He was crowned Emperor in the Hagia Sophia as Baldwin I of Constantinople.[11][12] Boniface went on to found the Kingdom of Thessalonica,[13] a vassal state of the new Latin Empire. The Venetians also founded the Duchy of the Archipelago in the Aegean Sea.
Most of the Byzantine aristocracy fled the city. Amongst the ordinary people of the former empire there was no sympathy for the Byzantine elite, who were seen as having ruled the empire with increasing incompetence.[14] The contemporary Byzantine historian and eye-witness Nicetas Choniates closed his account of the fall of the city with the following description of a column of aristocratic refugees, including the Patriarch, making their way to Selymbria:
The peasants and common riff-raff jeered at those of us from Byzantium and were thick-headed enough to call our miserable poverty and nakedness equality...Many were only too happy to accept this outrage, saying "Blessed be the Lord that we have grown rich", and buying up for next to nothing the property that their fellow-countrymen were forced to offer for sale, for they had not yet had much to do with the beef-eating Latins and they did not know that they served a wine as pure and unmixed as unadulterated bile, nor that they would treat the Byzantines with utter contempt.[14]
— Nicetas Choniates
Byzantine aristocratic refugees founded their own successor states, the most notable of these being the Empire of Nicaea under Theodore Lascaris (a relative of Alexius III), the Empire of Trebizond and the Despotate of Epirus.
The sack weakened the Byzantine Empire, which allowed neighboring (or neighbouring) groups such as the Sultanate of Rum, and later the Ottoman Turks, to gain influence (see the Byzantine–Ottoman Wars).


Eight hundred years after the Fourth Crusade, Pope John Paul II twice expressed sorrow for the events of the Fourth Crusade. In 2001 he wrote to Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens, saying, "It is tragic that the assailants, who set out to secure free access for Christians to the Holy Land, turned against their brothers in the faith. The fact that they were Latin Christians fills Catholics with deep regret."[15] In 2004, while Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople, was visiting the Vatican, John Paul II asked, "How can we not share, at a distance of eight centuries, the pain and disgust?"[16] This has been regarded as an apology to the Greek Orthodox Church for the slaughter perpetrated by the warriors of the Fourth Crusade.[17]
In April 2004, in a speech on the 800th anniversary of the capture of the city, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I formally accepted the apology. "The spirit of reconciliation is stronger than hatred," he said during a liturgy attended by Roman Catholic Archbishop Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France. "We receive with gratitude and respect your cordial gesture for the tragic events of the Fourth Crusade. It is a fact that a crime was committed here in the city 800 years ago." Bartholomew said his acceptance came in the spirit of Pascha. "The spirit of reconciliation of the resurrection... incites us toward reconciliation of our churches."[18]

See also

  • S. Blondal, The Varangians of Byzantium, 164
  • J. Phillips, The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, 159
  • J. Phillips, they were also milarty campaigns The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, 269
  • J. Phillips, The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, 106
  • The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Middle Ages: 950-1250. Cambridge University Press. 1986. pp. 506–508. ISBN 978-0-521-26645-1.
  • Gregory, Timothy (2010). A History of Byzantium. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 309. ISBN 978-1-4051-8471-7.
  • Vasiliev, Aleksandr (1958). History of the Byzantine Empire. 2, Volume 2. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 446. ISBN 978-0-299-80926-3.
  • David Nicolle, The Fourth Crusade 1202-04; The betrayal of Byzantium. (2011) Osprey Campaign Series #237. Osprey Publishing.
  • "Preface". Clir.org. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  • Jean Richard, The Crusades, c.1071-c.1291, 251
  • Герцберг, Г. Ф. История на Бизантия, Москва 1895, с. 359-360
  • Gerland, Е. Geschichte des lateinischen Kaiserreiches von Konstantinopel. 1. Teil: Geschichte des Kaisers Balduin I und Heinrich. Homburg v. d. Höhe 1905. p. 1-10
  • "The Latin Occupation in the Greek Lands". Fhw.gr. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
  • Angold, Michael (1997). The Byzantine Empire 1025-1204. pp. 327–328. ISBN 0 582 29468 1.
  • "In the Footsteps of St Paul: Papal Visit to Greece, Syria & Malta - Words". Ewtn.com. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
  • "Pope Expresses "Sorrow" Over Sacking of Constantinople". Atheism.about.com. 30 June 2004. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
  • Phillips, The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, intro., xiii). 
  • "In Pascha messages, Patriarchs address question of violence". Incommunion.org. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
    External links

    The Frankokratia (Greek: Φραγκοκρατία, lit. "Francocracy", "rule of the Franks"), also known as Latinokratia (Greek: Λατινοκρατία, "rule of the Latins") and for the Venetian domains Venetocracy (Greek: Βενετοκρατία, Venetokratia or Ενετοκρατία, Enetokratia), is the period in Greek history after the Fourth Crusade (1204), when a number of primarily French and Italian Crusader states were established on the territory of the dissolved Byzantine Empire (see Partitio terrarum imperii Romaniae).

    Κυριακή 29 Μαΐου 2016

    Children murdered for their body parts - Take action!

    Πέμπτη 26 Μαΐου 2016

    Mother of God, the Milk-Giver - a sacred depiction of motherhood in Orthodox Church

    Milk-Giver Icon | Not Scandalized by the Incarnation

    Icon from here

    On July 3, the Icon of the Virgin “Galaktotrophousa” (Γαλακτοτροφουσα, meaning “the Milk-Giver”) is celebrated. The Icon shows the Mother of God breast-feeding Christ. Not many modern icons use this composition, which may hide just how ancient and widespread this icon really is.
    The specific Icon celebrated on July 3 (and January 12) dates from the 6th century A.D. and resided in St. Sabbas’ lavra (a type of monastic community). Before his death, St Sabbas prophetically stated that in time a pilgrim sharing the saint’s name, of royal lineage from Serbia, would visit, and to him the Icon of the Mother of God, the “Milk-Giver”, should be given as a blessing from the Monastery. God’s time is not like our time, and so it was not until 700 years later that the prophecy was fulfilled. The pilgrim was the Serbian prince Rastko Nemanjić, who had taken the monastic name “Sava” (i.e. Sabbas) when a youth. Coming to venerate the relics of St Sabbas, the elder’s episcopal staff fell at the young Sava’s feet. The monks inquired into the pilgrim’s identity, and hearing his name (and remembering the centuries-old prophecy) gave the Milk-Giver Icon along with another icon of the Theotokos, and St Sabbas’ staff. All three items ended up in the Hilandar Monastery on Mt Athos, which was founded by the Serbian Sava. The Milk-Giver Icon is still there to this day, in the Iconostasis of Hilandar’s church.
    Milk-Giver Icon, Hilandar Monastery, Mt Athos
    The Virgin Galaktotrophousa in the Royal Doors of the Hilandar Monastery

    Like the dogmas of the Church, icons often arise as a response to heresy. In this light, it is not difficult to see why and how an icon of Mary breast-feeding the Christ-child would appear in the 6th century, and be associated with St Sabbas in particular. Sabbas was a strenuous opponent of the Monophysites, a group who believed Christ’s divine nature absorbed His human nature. The icon is a rebuttal of this position, as it shows Jesus Christ, truly God, suckling at His mother’s breast.

    Theotokos the Milk-Giver, Hilandar Monastery, Mt Athos

    Monophysitism is just one flower of an all-pervasive weed that can has its root in one overriding feeling: scandal at the Incarnation. In other words, shock and revulsion at the idea that the All-Powerful Creator would take on corruptible human flesh, spend 9 months in the womb of a woman, pass through her vagina, and then spend the next few years a physically weak and helpless baby, totally dependent upon her. People have come up with a multitude of ways to deny this dogma of the Church. Another example is the Julian Heresy, which flourished in Egypt during the time of St Sabbas. Supported by the patriarch of the time, the belief was that Christ’s body was incorruptible (before His crucifixion). Again, the influence of being scandalized at the Son of God taking on human flesh is seen in this belief. A number of right-believing monks separated from the heretics and set up their own monasteries, which they named after the Theotokos, i.e. God’s human mother. One of these monasteries, the Syrian Monastery, still survives and it shouldn’t be surprising to see an ancient fresco of Christ suckling His mother there. Again, reacting against the misguided scandal of the Incarnation, the Milk-Giver Icon proclaims the Orthodox belief.
    From the 6th century onwards the image of the Mother of God “Nourisher of Life” is always found without ever being common. Whenever it is found, both Mother and Child are stylized, with Mary’s exposed breast depicted proportionally smaller than is natural. This is because the icon is not painted to dwell upon the sensuality of Mary breastfeeding Jesus Christ, merely to proclaim it happened.
    Copies of the Hilandar Milk-Giver Icon aside, today icons of this type are not very common, especially in Western Orthodox iconography. Is it because “scandal at the Incarnation” is no longer a problem among Christians? Don’t believe it. Even while openly proclaiming Christ’s two natures, the tendency to downplay or practically deny the humanity of Jesus is still something that lurks in the shadows. The Mother of God “Milk-Giver” Icon is still a powerful rebuttal to these beliefs, and a reminder that God’s love for us is not abstract but physical.

    See also
    Collection of Milk-Giver Icons (МЛЕКОПИТАТЕЛЬНИЦА) with links to Russian sites and descriptions
    Salutations to the Most Holy Theotokos (Mother of God)
    Male and Female Created He Them
    Mother of God (Virgin Mary), Orthodox Church and African peoples (& Why the Orthodox Honor Mary)  
    Bikira Maria, Mama wa Mungu 
    Maria in die Ortodoksie 
    Icon of Mother of God with Three Hands (in Hilandar Monastery) & here
    Eight principal areas of convergence between African spirituality and Ancient Christianity  
    The Icon of the Theotokos
    The Mother of God as "Eye" and "Earth"
    When the Orthodox Church celebrates pregnancy...  
    Icons of the Mother of God

    Theotokos (tag in the other our blog)