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tithes demanded by the Court of Rome began to weigh beavy upon the people. The Emperor of Germany abandoned Hungary. None obeyed the summons of the Pope, save obscure men without name and without influence. Nevertheless, the hearts of the fugitives beat with joy, and they hoped soon to return to their native land to fight for its deliverance. But the death of their greatest benefactor, the Pope, annibilated their hopes. The efforts which were necessary to so great an enterprise were too much for the already feeble old man. He expired at Ancona, praying for the Christiaus of Greece, and calling upon Europe to take vengeance upon their oppressors. But the religious zeal which had been awakened by a great man, perished with him. The milder habits of the times, and the activity of commerce, were uncongenial with distant and dangerous wars.
The Venetians alone remained still in favour of marching against Mahomet. But their motive was their own defence; and they treated for peace when there was no longer any hope of advantage from
Thus sacrificed to the interested policy of Europe, the Greeks continued to enlighten those who had abandoned them. In a few years, these apostles of letters had introduced their language and their philosophy into all the Italian cities. The masterpieces of Greek antiquity, every where brought to light, excited an enthusiasm till then unknown. The exclusive attention with which the Italian scholars at first
gave themselves up to the study of antiquity, seemed to enervate the national originality ; but it put forth again with greater vigour under the influence of so rich a culture, and shone conspicuous in the great names of the sixteenth century. But the banished Greeks—the harbingers of this great epochhave little of its glory. Their power was in their words ; and, like these, it was fugitive. They inspired a new admiration and love for the arts; they stirred up to action the human mind; they saved the finest portion of the monuments of Greece from destruction ; but themselves—they created no monuments. Thus their memory has been lost in the glory of the men taught by their instruction, and the very magnitude of their services has contributed to a more rapid oblivion of theinselves.
After the death of the Pope, the Bishop of Heraclea, despairing of the aid of Europe, returned to the East, to encourage the faith of his brethren under the trials of bondage. “ It is there alone,” said he, “ that I can expiate my former weakness, of which Rome constantly reminds me." It is said that he lived some time in Constantinople and the Morea, always distinguished by the warmth of his charity, and by his efforts to alleviate the sufferings of his enslaved countrymen ; which neither the terrors of the plague nor the scimetar could compel him to relinquish. Mild as he was fearless, he calmed those religious animosities between the two communions, which the Christians of the East harboured éven in their chains. He bestowed his aid alike upon all, and preached to them the same gospel. He was no longer a sectary : he was a Christian; and from his lips the divine Word inspired a faith full of vigour and patience. He perished in the midst of his holy works. The Turks, while they suffered the Greeks to purchase their life and their religious privileges by the payment of an annual tribute, at the same time wrested from them a portion of their young children to be brought up in the Mussulman faith ; and punished with extreme cruelty every Christian priest who should venture to inspire them with a horror of such an apostacy. Accused of a wish to reconvert some of these hostages of Islamism to the faith of their fathers, Nicephorus suffered a mosi frightful punishment. His body, having been mangled beneath the huge hammers of a forge, was thrown into the sea, lest the Christians should honour it. But his name remains sacred in Greece, as that of a martyr.
Before learning the glorious end of Nicephorus, the Bishop of Ephesus had also left Italy, but with a different hope. On the shaggy heights of Epirus lived a tribe of semi-barbarous shepherds, who had for a long time been regarded as rebels by the Byzantine rulers; but who, having never been corrupted by any mixture of foreign barbarity, still preserved, in their habits and courage, the distinct impress of the national character. These Greeks, who had ever defied the Roman power, had been subdued by the power of Christianity; and this yoke, the only one which they had ever borne, inspired in them, so much the more, a batred for the oppression of the Turks. It was among these that Theodorus look refuge, determined to devote his life to the service of his faith and his country. Thrown upon the shores of Epirus by an Italian vessel, he crossed a desolate country and arrived among the mountains, with no other treasure save the gospel, and the cross—the badge of his holy office. These warlike men, who lived in constant fear, whether from the assaults of the Turks on the one hand, or from the privations of a rigorous climate on the other, hailed with joy the holy man who seemed to have been sent to them by Heaven. Their villages had been burnt by the incursions of their barbarous enemies. They had no other refuge for their families than the caves among the rocks, and some huts, rudely constructed in the most inaccessible places, and exposed to the peltings of the storm. By night, they encamped in the open air, by the side of their fires. By day they were continually engaged in attacking the posts of the janizzaries; and when they fell into their hands they perished by the most horrible tortures. But hitherto they had been free ; and the life which they led tended to strengthen their patriotism and courage. The-> odorus thanked Heaven that he was permitted to share in such severe trials, which promised to be crowned with martyrdom. Among these warlike bands, whose race is still extant in the mountains of Greece, he dwelt for a long time. From this retreat he occasionally visited the monasteries which are scattered among the hills of ancient Arcadia, to revive the drooping faith of the recluses, discouraged under the load of Turkish oppression. He appeared among them, a representative of the ancient Church; and when, at the return of the feast of the Passover, he celebrated, upon the mountain, the divine sacrifice, and chanted the hymn of the
glorious Saviour, at the words - Christ is arisen, Christ is conqueror—the shepherds and labourers, who had assembled from all quarters, seemed to themselves to hear a prophetic voice announcing the deliverance and regeneration of Greece. A common joy spread from the sanctuaries of the convent on the mountains to the villages of the plain in subjection to the Turks. Thus did religion sustain that afflicted people, and keep alive its hope. How many times did Theodorus, in the wildest retreats of Epirus and Thessalia, perform the sacred ceremonies among the mountaineers, softened by bis words ! How many times did he reanimate their constancy in defeat, and render them humane after victory! The gospel taught these úncultivated Greeks virtues worthy of their valour. Amid the reprisals of a daily and terrible vengeance, the spirit of generosity was not entirely wanting. They had pity on the defenceless, and respected their female captives. “The holy Bishop," said they, “ will bless us.” He was, as it were, a visible conscience for these wild and ferocious men. He gave them their country in their religion; and when his faithful words pointed out to them the temple of Saint Sophia, the golden cross, and the holy table, polluted and destroyed by the infidels, they resolved to die freemen and Christians. Often did the mountains of Epirus and Thessalia, and the summits of Pindus, hear the chant of the ruin of Byzantium.
In the desert and in slavery they repeated that poetic prophecy which breathed the whole hope of Christian Greece. “Oh, holy Virgin! Sovereign Mistress! Be still. Weep not, nor groan.
With time, with years, both the city and the great monastery-all these things shall be to you anew.
Thus did the Bishop of Ephesus keep alive a love of country and a hope of deliverance among those faithful and ignorant tribes, who had scarcely known the Empire in its splendour. He consoled himself with the thought that, one day, would depart thence the avengers of the cross, and the liberators of the temple. He preferred their rude simplicity and their simple faith, to the luxury and the new arts of the
West. In this apostleship, with nothing but hope to sustain him, he lived to extreme old age. Occasionally, by the hand of some foreign trader, or some travelling monk of Mt. Athos, he would send news of Greece to his countrymen dispersed at Rome, Florence, and Mantua. He told them of these uncultivated Greeks, once despised by the Empire, where he had again sound his lost country. “You seek to move a polite people,” wrote he to Lascaris ; “I to animate our barbarous brethren. You are disseminating the arts in Europe ; I am preserving religion in Greece.” While occupied with these cares he died, full of days. The mountain shepherds made his grave in the rock where he had lived. They divided his garments amongst them as holy relics. The leaves of his copy of the Scriptures were divided among the wandering families of the tribe. They offered prayers on his grave, and never, in combat or flight, did they suffer the Turks to approach it. Long afterwards, fathers would show their little children the stone where the Bishop used to sit; the stream, now dried up, where he used to celebrate the divine mystery; the tree to which he had suspended an image of the holy Virgin ; the summit where he had animated the courage of the Greeks; the dark and narrow defile, where he had saved from slaughter somne Turkish prisoners, who had been captured in the plain. The memory of a man preserved a people.
While Greece was slowly recovering from barbarity, her ancient arts were vivifying Europe. Under the early patronage of the Pontifical Court, the printing press had introduced the choicest remains of Athenian civilization, and ignorance fled before the light of such sublime models. Thus was accomplished that happy revolution which Lascaris bad foretold. As for himself, satisfied with having put his hand to the great work, he constantly turned his eyes towards Greece. The same longing for his native, though enslaved, land was still more intense in the heart of Gemisthus, the venerable and enthusiastic disciple of Plato. The blandishments of Rome and Florence could not long retain him. He prefer