John - plausibly identified with John Parastron - arriving from Rome leading a mule with an image of the pope on its back. The emperor took the bridle and escorted by twelve cardinals led it into the imperial palace where the pope's name was restored to the diptychs. Now the emperor was assured 'all Christians will partake of communion wafers (azymes)'. It is easy to identify this scene as a travesty of the implementation of the union of Lyons. The tract aimed at discrediting leading unionists, who are named. It catches a moment when much of the elite still supported the emperor over union. It ends by anathematising not only the Latins as heretics, but also the 'azymites', as unionists were called.
This tract illustrates the way the union of Lyons touched a raw nerve at Byzantium. It revived all the rancour that had been created by the fall of Constantinople in 1204, which its recovery some fifty years later temporarily assuaged. The return to Constantinople vindicated the ideology of exile, which saw the Byzantines as the new Israelites. Nicaea was their Babylon. Having atoned for their sins they returned to their Zion - Constantinople. In this scheme of things Latin Christianity was presented as a perversion of the faith, which threatened to pollute Orthodoxy, whether by its espousal of religious warfare, by its use of azymes in the communion service, or by its strange dietary customs. But the return to Constantinople also represented a new beginning:20 one requiring a greater openness to the west. This was a view shared by many of the imperial elite, as the list of those who were initially sympathetic to unionist negotiations indicates.
Opposition was at first sporadic. It centred on the deposed Patriarch Joseph I. Some of the patriarchal clergy, such as Manuel Holobolos, remained loyal to him, as did the monks of his old monastery of Galesios. The patriarch also had support of members of the aristocracy, who had become convinced -perhaps prompted by their monastic confessors - that union was a betrayal of Orthodoxy and symptomatic of the emperor's misuse of power. These views won more adherents as the actions of the papacy conformed to the stereotype set out in the 'Errors of the Latins' literature. The lack of debate at Lyons underlined that the union was forced, while the emperor's willingness to condone papal demands was humiliating. Many of his erstwhile supporters deserted him, as popular opinion turned against him.
His death in December 1282 allowed his successor Andronikos II (1282-1328) to liquidate the union. John Bekkos was removed from the patriarchate to be
20 R. J. Macrides, 'The new Constantine and the new Constantinople - 1261', BMGS 6 (1980), 13-41; A.-M. Talbot, 'The restoration of Constantinople under Michael VIII', DOP
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