A Short-lived Union Broken:
December 12, 1452
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The death of Murad I at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 did not end the Ottoman threat to Europe. Constantinople, completely surrounded by Muslim territory, stood in most danger of Turkish conquest. But the conquest of the Balkans showed that the Ottomans were a threat to western Christendom as well. To combat the Ottoman threat—the common enemy—the Catholic West and the Orthodox East had to join forces.
Yet, though both called on the name of Christ, the Catholics and the Orthodox believers were separated by religious and cultural differences. To bridge the gap between them, the emperor of Constantinople, John VIII Palaiologos (reigned 1425–1448), traveled in splendid attire to Italy with a delegation of nobles, bishops, and military men. The emperor’s plan was to meet with representatives of the pope to solve the theological differences separating the two branches of Christianity. If this old schism could be ended, it would make for a strong and united front of Christian nations against the invading Turks. Continue reading