This article describes a wondrous tour in Constantinople to investigate credible information on an exciting scenario regarding the burial ground of Constantine Palaiologos. The information we gathered is astounding! Even though we were wandering around for several hours without finding exactly what we were looking for, we at least had the chance to daydream for a while. To us Greeks, Constantinople is the legendary city of our hearts, where we are allowed to daydream without the risk of being misjudged as stargazers.
The soldiers who defended Constantinople just before the Fall were hopelessly few, because the city's population was small and many young men betook to monasteries in order to avoid the recruitment. When Constantine Palaeologus asked to know about the last general recruitment’s results before the final confrontation with the Ottomans, his close partner Frantzis told him that only 4,937 out of 30,000 men were finally conscripted because the rest of them weren't able to carry arms. The king then sighed and asked him to keep the number secret.
We arrived at the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae on Easter Eve, right before the beginning of the Mass and our glance fell on the marble plate, where the Akathyst Hymn, a hymn of the Eastern Orthodox tradition, was engraved.
The Greeks remaining in Constantinople are few but there are plenty of Greek Orthodox churches. Even if all of the Orthodox population went to church every day, some of them would be empty. But that does not stop the Greeks from finding ways to liven up the churches and prevent them becoming decorated. Every Good Friday they worship the Seven Epitaphs , ensuring that all processions have a small number of attendees. Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras used to say: "We the Greeks of Constantinople are few, but countless".
Zografeion Greek High School, which is in the historical district of Peran, was built in 1893. It was mainly funded by the benefactor Christakis Zografos and the lead architect was Pericles Photiades. Today it has only 42 students, many of whom live far from the school and even have a boat ride in front of them in order to get there. They uncomplainingly wake up very early in the morning, under hard weather conditions and cross long distances, not only to obtain Greek education but also to meet with other Greeks and keep their school and their nation alive.
Constantine Cavafy was born in Alexandria in 1863 and his parents were of Constantinople descent. He was a cosmopolitan, since his family roots were spreading from Constantinople to Alexandria and from Trapezounta to London. He lived as an authentic Greek and as a world's civilian at the same time.
"Put the camera down immediately because it is forbidden in this place". The guard's tone didn't take any objections. A few hours ago, when we were among tourists from all over the world at the ground floor of Saint Marcus's temple in Venice, no one prevented us from taking pictures of the place. When we got on the balcony, though, where pieces of art that had been snatched from Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1204 were being kept, after its conquest by the crusaders, we were almost treated as criminals.
Two blocks away from the popular Saint Mark's square in the centre of Venice, there is the canal of the Greeks (Rio dei Greci), which delimits the homonymous islet (Campo dei Greci). This islet is where thousands of Greek immigrants from Greece and fugitives from the fallen Constantinople (Istanbul) have lived, succeeded and produced a priceless spiritual work for ages.
Eighty six years have passed since the Greek daily newspaper "Evening Post" was first released in Constantinople. Along with the Turkish Cumhuriyet, they are both Turkey's oldest newspapers. The Evening Post used to sell 30,000 papers, which was more than the Turkish newspapers used to sell, as the Greeks were numerous and they used to read a lot, due to their high educational level. Nowadays it sells 600 papers, 90% of which are being sold in Constantinople and the rest of them in Greece. As the number of the Greek-speaking families in Constantinople is equal to the Evening Post's circulation, this newspaper could be easily included in the Guinness Book, since it's being read by the 99,9% of its potential readers.
Every year, the Greek Community of Trieste celebrates the Epiphany in great splendor. In the morning, the Greeks gather at the church of Saint Nicholas, which is on the coastal avenue, in order to watch the liturgy. Then they walk together to the port's pier, where they throw the cross in the sea and bless the waters.
The Patriarchate of Alexandria has the whole Orthodox Christian population of Africa under its spiritual jurisdiction and is the second Orthodox patriarchate, according to the canonical order (after the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople). Its missionary work is in the depths of Africa is prominent, where theological guidance and charity work is continuously expanding and is increasingly embraced by the unfortunate continent.
According to tradition, on May 29th 1453, a monk of Baloukli Abbey in Constantinople was frying fish beside the holy water springing out of the monastery’s foundation, when someone informed him that the city had been conquered. "I shall believe you only if the fish jump out of the frying pan and dive into the Holy Water", the monk answered. He had just uttered the phrase when the half-fried fish jumped into the water. That is how the Zoodohou Pigi's monastery got the name Baloukli. It derives from the Turkish word "balik", which means fish.
In February of 1451 sultan Murad died and he was succeeded by his son Muhammad, who was barely twenty years old. Constantine Palaeologos seemed to be happy when the young sultan promised to maintain the peaceful coexistence of Greeks and Turks in Byzantium, and continuing his father's policy.
During the period of the Greek community's bloom in Alexandria many schools for the expatriated were built so that the educational needs of thousands of Greek children could be covered. Education was previously not limited in elementary schools and high schools, but it was extended in a higher level. Salvagios School of Commerce used to be in the building where the elementary school is being housed, which was a donation of Constantine Salvagos, the banker, and many recherché accountants who were never left without a job graduated from this school. In addition, the famous Zervoudakios Urban School, a donation of the banker George Zervoudakis, used to be in the building where the high school is now being housed.