Author Topic: THOMAS PALAIOLOGOS: AN EMPEROR IN EXILE  (Read 287 times)

Offline Vetus Ordo

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THOMAS PALAIOLOGOS: AN EMPEROR IN EXILE
« on: May 12, 2019, 02:03:41 PM »
THOMAS PALAIOLOGOS: AN EMPEROR IN EXILE



Thomas Palaiologos in the painting "Pope Pius II arrives at Ancona" by Pinturicchio.

12 May 1465: Thomas Palaiologos, the titular Roman Emperor of the East dies in exile. Thomas was the son of the Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos (1391-1425) and the Serbian Empress Helena Dragas, He was brother of two Roman Emperors: John VIII (1425-1448) and Constantine XI (1449-1453).

From 1428 to 1460, Thomas ruled the Palaiologian power center, the Despotate of Morea, first along with Constantine XI and during the end of Christian Morea with his pro-Ottoman brother Demetrius. Thomas was pro-West and had tried futilely to preach a Crusade for the protection of Morea contra Turcum with the aid of Cardinal Bessarion, a Rhomios of Trebizond himself.

When the Ottomans invaded Morea he fled to the West, to the court of Pope Pius II, carrying with him the Sainty Skull of Saint Andrew as a gift to the Holy See. Thomas switched from Eastern Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism to arouse support for his cause among the Western courts and to lead a crusade against Sultan Mehmed. However he wasn't recognized as Emperor in Rhomania, his homeland, since the Patriarchate of Constantinople had proclaimed Mehmed as Caesar of the Romans and viewed Thomas as a dangerous papist.

Thomas was married to the daughter of the last Prince of Achaea, Catherine Zaccaria. He had four children, all raised Catholic by the Cardinal Bessarion. The most noteworthy of them was the Grand Duchess of Russia, Sophia Palaiologina. However his children didn't share his pro-West feelings: Manuel, his third son, soon returned to Constantinople, abandoned all his claims to the throne, reconciled with the Sultan and spend the rest of his days there as a married man. As for Sophia, the moment she laid her feet on the lands of the Rus she declared her return to her Orthodox roots and denounced Catholicism.

Thomas was succeeded by his son, Andrea Palaiologos, the last titular Roman Emperor (1465-1502). Andreas as well had a turbulent relationship with Papacy. Eventually Andreas sold his imperial rights in Imperium Romanum/Basileia Rhomaion to Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile - the strongest monarchs of Europe at the period - and died in poverty.
DISPOSE OUR DAYS IN THY PEACE, AND COMMAND US TO BE DELIVERED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION, AND TO BE NUMBERED IN THE FLOCK OF THINE ELECT.
 
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