Antony, bishop of Heracleia

One of the most mentioned delegates in the account of Syropoulos, Antony of Heracleia was sent to the council of Ferrara-Florence as a representative of the Patriarch of Alexandria. He took part in the majority of the preliminary discussions for the council and, while in Venice, he served as a patriarchal envoy to the Pope (Laurent 1971, 226). As an anti-unionist, he voted against the addition of the filioque but was forced to sign the Act of the union in Florence (Gill 1959,260, 295). After his return to Constantinople he condemned the union and refused to attend mass with the new unionist Patriarch Metrophanes II, former bishop of Kyzikos (Laurent 1971, 554, 556).


Michael Balsamon, megas chartophylax

Michael Balsamon was megas ecclesiarches and was promoted to megas chartophylax in 1437, allowing Syropoulos to take his place in the previous office (Laurent 1971, 7). During the preliminary discussions for the preparation of the council, he was member of several committees assigned to reply to the Latin arguments and to provide the theological background for the dogmatic arguments of the Greeks. At the beginning of the council he was one of the six orators chosen from the side of the Byzantines (Gill 1959, 130). He also served as an envoy to the Pope. Having opposed to the union, the megas chartophylax resigned from his office after the return to Constantinople and the election of the unionist Patriarch Metrophanes II (Gill 1959, 350).


Bessarion, bishop of Nicaea

Bessarion was born in Trebizond at the end of the 14th – beginning of the 15th c. (1399/1403?). In his youth he studied in Constantinople and in Mistras with Georgios Gemiston Plethon. He became a monk in 1423 and was appointed bishop of Nicaea in 1436/7, when he was chosen to accompany the Byzantine delegation to the council of Ferrara-Florence (ODB 285; Laurent 1971, 184). During the council, Bessarion was a keen advocate of the union of the churches and was given the honour of reading the Act of the union on 6 July 1439, in the Cathedral of Florence (Keller 1955, 344; Gill 1959, 294; Laurent 1971, 498). After the council, he went briefly back to Constantinople but quickly returned to Rome. Having converted to Catholicism in 1439, he was made cardinal by the Pope. Both Pope Eugenius IV and his successors bestowed many high ecclesiastical positions to Bessarion, including that of papal legate, cardinal of the church of Santi Apostoli, bishop of Sabina and Tusculum (1449) and titular patriarch of Constantinople (1463); he was considered twice for the papacy (in 1455 and 1471) (ODB 285, Harris 1995, 100). Bessarion used the profits that his offices gained him in order to help other Byzantine exiles to Italy, mostly financially and in order to promote –unsuccessfully - a crusade against the Turks (Keller 1955, 344; Harris 1995, 101). He was a scholar with great impact to his contemporaries, both before and after 1437. He wrote many theological treatises, but also orations and encomia. In Rome he was the head of an academy, attended by many Byzantine émigrés, and produced many translations of ancient Greek authors (ODB 285).




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John Chrysokephalos

John Holobolos Chrysokephalos (PLP 31137) was an hypomnematographos of the Great Church of Constantinople and an imperial official. He was in charge of delivering letters to the representatives of the Eastern Church on behalf of the Emperor (Laurent 1971, 194, 246, 248).


Manuel Chrysokokkes, megas sakellarios

One of the eksokatakoiloi, the ecclesiastic archontes, who formed the inner circle of the Patriarch, Manuel Chrysokokkes took part in all the major discussions in the presence of the Patriarch, both before and during the council of Ferrara-Florence. It has also been suggested that this person can be identified with Michael Chrysokokkes, a notary of the Great Church during the mid-15th c., who was also an astronomer and had translated astronomical texts from Hebrew to Greek in 1435. In that case, he must have become deacon after 1435 and changed his name to Manuel (Burke and Po-Chia Hsia 2007, 183-4).


Dionysios, bishop of Sardis

The hieromonachos Dionysios, bishop of Sardis, was designated to represent the Patriarch of Jerusalem in the council of Ferrara-Florence (Laurent 1971, 164). In order to accompany the Patriarch Joseph to Italy as a higher ranking official, he was ordained a bishop shortly before the departure (Laurent 1971, 184). He died in Ferrara from the plague and was buried in the Church of San Giuliano (Laurent 1971, 256).


Dorotheos, bishop of Mytilene

Dorotheos of Mytilene was the Byzantine delegate chosen to read the Greek text of the proclamation of the council both in Ferrara and in Florence, after the council was moved (Laurent 1971, 252, 384). A supporter of the union, Dorotheos also organised and led a procession of Greek and Latin ecclesiastics in Euboia, when the delegation were on the journey back to Constantinople (Gill 1959, 303; Laurent 1971, 538). He is thought to be the author of an account of the events from the arrival of the Byzantines in Venice until their departure for Constantine in 1439, now incorporated into the Greek Acts; it has also been given the title Description (Gill 1959, ix-x).


Dorotheos, bishop of Trebizond

Dorotheos of Trebizond was a member of the Byzantine delegation to the council of Ferrara-Florence and often was appointed envoy of the Patriarch towards the Latins, during their stay in Italy (Gill 1959, 245, 266). Despite his initial refusal, he ended up voting in favour of the filioque. After their return in Constantinople, he once again renounced the union, during the election for a new Patriarch, and refused to support Metrophanes II, former bishop of Kyzikos (Laurent 1971, 552).



Dositheos, bishop of Monemvasia

Dositheos of Monemvasia took part in the council of Ferrara-Florence as a representative of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, a post transferred to him after the death of the bishop of Sardis in Ferrara in 1438 (Laurent 1971, 256). A patriarchal envoy to the Pope while the delegation was still in Venice and a member of many committees organising the council, Dositheos was opposed to the union and to the addition of the filioque (Laurent 1971, 226).



Mark Eugenikos, bishop of Ephesos

Mark (PLP 6193) was born in Constantinople in ca. 1392 as a son of deacon of the Great Church. In 1418/20 he became a monk on the island of Antigone. After having returned to Constantinople, he was made priest, and then bishop of Ephesos, just before departing for Italy as a member of the Byzantine delegation. He participated in the council of Ferrara-Florence and, as one of the leading speakers of the Eastern Church, opposed strenuously against the acceptance of filioque and the doctrine of purgatory and ultimately refused to sign the decree of union. He continued his anti-unionist activities in Constantinople until his death in 1445. He has written numerous theological texts in defence of Palamism and the anti-Latin position on filioque and the purgatory. He was canonised by the Orthodox Church in 1456 (Garijo-Guembe 2000, 105-9; Gill 2003a, 446-7).







Gregory Melissenos (Mammas) was one of the ecclesiastics who accompanied the Patriarch Joseph II to Italy. In 1437, he was a monk and the pneumatikos, spiritual father, of the Emperor John VIII. He played a very active role in the theological discussions, both during the preliminary negotiations with the Council of Basle and during the Council of Ferrara – Florence, where he was the representative of the Patriarch of Alexandria. While in Florence, he demanded and obtained the title of megas protosynkellos. As a Unionist, he was a constant opponent of Mark Eugenikos, bishop of Ephesos. (Laurent 1971, 685) After the death of the Patriarch Metrophanes (the former bishop of Kyzikos), he became Patriarch Gregory III in 1443 (or 1445 according to Gill 1959, 365). Due to his support of the Union, he was forced to flee to Rome in 1450, where he was cordially received by Pope Nicolas V. Despite the Pope’s efforts to reinstate him to the patriarchal throne, Gregory died in Rome in 1459 ( 



Ignatios, Bishop of Tornovo

Ignatios of Tornovo was part of the committee in charge of negotiating the seating arrangements of the Pope and the Patriarch in the cathedral of Ferrara (Laurent 1971, 240). He was also appointed patriarchal envoy, in charge of delivering the letters of appointment to the council sent by the Eastern Patriarchs. This delegation included also the megas chartophylax and Syropoulos himself on behalf of the Patriarch, and Manuel Boullotes on behalf of the Emperor (Laurent 1971, 248).



Isidore, bishop of Kiev and all Russia

Born in ca. 1385 in Monemvasia, Isidore studied in Constantinople and later became a monk in the Peloponnese. He returned to Constantinople in 1417, where as the hegoumenos of the monastery of St Demetrios (Laurent 1971, 126), he joined the Byzantine delegation to the council of Basle in 1434 (Setton 1978, 3, n.5). Before departing for Italy as a delegate to the council of Ferrara-Florence, he was appointed bishop of Kiev (ODB 1016). A supporter of the union, he was very active during the council and he signed the Act of the union. Shortly after was made cardinal. As a papal legate he was sent to Moscow in 1440, but was imprisoned for his unionist sympathies (ODB 1016). He escaped to the West and entered the service of the Pope, completing several missions as a papal envoy. One of these was in Constantinople in 1452, where he was imprisoned when the City fell to the Turks in 1453 and narrowly escaped (ODB 1016; Harris 1995, 54, 100). He was also appointed titular Patriarch of Constantinople, while in 1443 he became an honorary citizen of Venice. He died in Rome in 23/27 April 1463. (Setton 1978, 3, n. 5).



Joseph Kontaratos, BISHOP OF METHONE

Joseph Kontaratos (PLP 13025) was the Greek bishop of Methone for the period 1437-1439. He led the receiving ceremony of the Byzantine delegation in 1437, when they stopped at Methone on their way to Venice and also when they were on their way back to Constantinople in 1439 (Laurent 1971, 204, 537).



Makarios, bishop of Nikomedia

Makarios of Nikomedia, a member of the Byzantine delegation to Ferrara-Florence, was a member of the inner circle of the Patriarch Joseph II, without holding a particular title or office, other that his bishopric. In the narration of Syropoulos, he often appears taking part in the Patriarch’s private councils and he was one of the bishops who accompanied the Patriarch during his first visit to the Pope (Laurent 1971, 236). He was also part of the committee chosen to negotiate the seating arrangements in the cathedral of Ferrara (Laurent 1971, 240).



Metrophanes, bishop of Kyzikos

Metrophanes of Kyzikos, a supporter of the union, was appointed as the successor of the Patriarch Joseph II, who died in Florence in 1439. Metrophanes II was elected Patriarch by the delegates to Italy, after their return to Constantinople in 1440, mainly for his unionist views (Gill 1959, 350). Announcing his election to the Pope, he struggled to unite the Eastern bishops who were divided after the council. He also tried to strengthen his circle with unionist bishops, by appointed and consecrating them both in his own bishopric and elsewhere (Gill 1959, 352-3). In his effort to put pressure on the Emperor in order to resolve the issues within the Church, Metrophanes retired twice to a monastery. The second time in the summer 1443 was successful, since the Emperor summoned the bishops to a local synod, but Metrophanes died in August 1443 (Gill 1959, 357). V.A.










Niccoló Albergati, Cardinal of the Holy Cross


  Niccoló Albergati was born in Bologna in 1357. He entered the Carthusian Order in 1394. In January 1417,  he was elected bishop of Bologna by a unanimous decision of the Consiglio dei Seicento of the city of Bologna ( He became cardinal in 1426 and he was called Cardinal of the Cross or of Bologna. He served as an envoy of Popes Martin V and Eugenius IV to France, Lombardy and the council of Basle, where he went three times ( In 1438, Pope Eugenius IV appointed him president of the council of Ferrara and he presided over the first session before he had to leave for a mission to Germany (Laurent 1971, 226). He returned to Florence to attend the council but did not sign the document of the union. In 1440 he was named archpriest of the patriarchal Liberian basilica. ( He died in 1443 in Sienna. He is venerated as Blessed, although he was never formally canonised, and his feast is celebrated on May 8th (


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Domenico Capranica (Firmano), Cardinal

Born in Capranica in 1400, Domenico studied canon and civil law in Padua and Bologna, under the later cardinals Giuliano Cesarini and Nicolas of Cusa, and received the title of Doctor. He entered the service of Martin V. In 1423 he became cardinal and also in 1425 he became bishop of Fermo, hence the name Firmano, used in Syropoulos (Laurent 1971, 241). However, because his nomination was not published until 1430 and he had not attended the public ceremonies of the cardinalate in Rome, after the death of Martin V in 1431, the new pope Eugene IV did not recognise Capranica’s nomination. Capranica then took refuge to the Council of Basle, which recognised his title and, in return, Eugenius IV deprived him of all his titles and offices. After entering the services of Aeneas Sylvius, Capranica reconciled with Eugenius IV in 1434 and was made Cardinal of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme ( In 1438 he was sent to the council of Ferrara-Florence, where he assisted Cesarini with the arrangement of the seats in Ferrara and also was one of the officials who welcomed the Patriarch Joseph II in Florence (Laurent 1971, 676). In the papal service, Capranica took part in twelve embassies and in 1449 he was named Grand Penitentiary and archpriest of the Lateran. One of the most earnest reformers of the Roman Church, Domenico Capranica died in Rome in 1458 and is buried in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, near St Catherine of Siena (



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Born in Rome to a wealthy family in 1398, Giuliano Cesarini was educated in the Universities of Perugia, Bologna and Padua, where he obtained a doctorate in canon law and also taught. He was made cardinal by Pope Martin V in 1426. From the period 1431 – 1438 he presided over the council of Basle, where he was sent as a representative of Pope Eugenius IV. In 1438 he joined the Pope in Ferrara and then to Florence, where he was one of the strongest advocates for the Latin side in the discussions for the Union with the Greeks. In 1442 he was sent to a mission in Hungary as a papal legate and a year later he started preaching the crusade against the Turks. He took part in the Crusade of Varna and was killed by the Turks in 10 November 1444 (




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Prospero Colonna, Cardinal

The famous Colonna family had offered a long line of cardinals since the 12th century and was very influential in Italy, especially Rome and Naples, during the medieval and Renaissance times.  Prospero Colonna was a nephew of Odo Colonna, later Pope Martin V. ( He was one of the officials who welcomed the Patriarch Joseph II first in Ferrara (1438) and then in Florence in 1439 (Laurent 1971, 235, 387). However he later was involved in the rebellion of his family against Eugene IV and was deprived of his privileges. He was returned from exile and reinstated by Nicolas V. He died in 1463 (



Marc Condulmer, legate of the Pope

Mark Condulmer was a nephew of the Pope Eugene IV. Originally from Venice, he was in the service of the Church of Patras, where he learned Greek. He was forced to leave Patras, which at the time was being governed by its Latin archbishop, Pandolphe Malatesta, in 1429, when it was captured by the Despot Constantine (Zakythenos 1975, 208; Laurent 1971, 173, n. 5). When he was sent to Constantinople as a legate, he held the position of bishop of Tarentaise. 



Christopher Garatone, bishop of Corone

Cristoforo Garatone di Pietro came from Trevisan, a town near Venice. During the period 1423 - 1427/8 he was a notary and a chancellor in the service of the bailo of Constantinople, where he learned Greek. He was also an important collector of Greek manuscripts. (Setton 1978, 65, n. 92; Nelson 1995, 222) He later became an official of the Curia, under Pope Eugene IV, and in 1437 he received the title of bishop of Corone (Laurent 1971, 128, n. 4). He was one of the leading negotiators during the period before the Council of Ferrara – Florence and a great influential presence as a papal ambassador to Constantinople, where he was sent a total  of five times in the period1433-1437. Syropoulos attributes to him as a personal success the fact that the Emperor and the Patriarch were persuaded to travel to Italy for the Council (Laurent 1971, 192). Garatone also accompanied the Byzantine delegation back to Constantinople in 1439, again as a papal envoy. In 1444 he was also sent to Crete as a papal collector. He undertook four missions to Hungary (1442, 1443, 1446, 1448). He died on 17 October 1448 in the battle of Kossovo (Setton 1978, 65; Gill, 1959, 353, n. 1; Pesce 1975, 23-93)



Antonio Martinez de Chaves, bishop of Portugal


Antonio Martinez de Chaves was born near Oporto, Portugal and was elected bishop sometime between 1424 and 1426. Upon request of the Pope Martin V, he successfully acted as a mediator between King João of Portugal and King Alfonso of Aragon. He was appointed the same role in order to obtain the peace between King Henry V of England, King Charles VII of France and Philip, duke of Bourgogne in 1435 ( As a representative of King Eduardo, son of King João of Portugal, he attended the Council of Basle. In 1437 he was sent by the Pope Eugenius IV as an envoy to Constantinople, where he arrived in the Pope’s galleys in September 1437, as one of the three bishops-ambassadors (Laurent 1971, 173, n. 8; Hofmann 1951, 53. After escorting the Byzantine delegation to Italy, he himself attended the Council of Ferrara – Florence. In 1439 he was made Cardinal-Priest and in 1444 he was archpriest of the Lateran basilica. He spent the last years of his life in Rome, where he died in 1447. He is buried in Lateran basilica ((











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Last updated 19 June 2008