2. The second GENNADIUS belongs to the last age of the Byzantine empire, the fall of which he survived.
He was known in the earlier part of his life as GEORGIUS SCHOLARIUS (Γεώργιος ὁ Σχολάριος
It has been disputed whether there were two persons contemporaries, called originally Georgius Scholarius and afterwards Gennadius, or only one. Leo Allatius and Matthaeus Caryophylus, bishop of Iconium, agree in making two: one a layman who attended the emperor John II. Palaeologus at the Council of Florence, and warmly and constantly advocated the union of the Greek and Latin churches; and the other a monk, an intimate friend and disciple of Mark, archbishop of Ephesus, the great opponent of the union, and cordially combined with him in that opposition. But Allatius and Caryophylus differ remarkably from each other in this: according to the former, the layman afterwards became an ecclesiastic and patriarch of Constantinople, while the monk never acquired any ecclesiastical dignity, and perhaps died before the overthrow of the Byzantine empire: according to the latter, the layman died before the overthrow, while the monk survived it and became patriarch. We concur with Fabricius and others that the distinction of two Georgii and Gennadii is unsupported by evidence, and improbable in itself, and that there was only one person at that time who at successive periods of his life bore the names of George and Gennadius.
The subject is discussed by Allatius in his Diatriba de Georgiis,
contained in the 12th vol. of the Bibl. Gr.
of Fabricius, and by Fabricius himself in the 11th vol. of the same work.
It is to be observed that Allatius makes even a third Gennadius Georgius Scholarius, whom he terms Metropolita Phasorum, to whom Franciscus Philelphus addresses a Greek elegy in the second book of his Psychagogia Carm. Graec.
George Scholarius was probably a native of Constantinople, and obtained at an early age a high reputation for his attainments both in philosophical and legal knowledge, and for his eloquence.
The time of his birth is not known.
He enjoyed the friendship of the most important personages at the court of Constantinople, the emperor John II. Palaelogus, the princes Constantine (afterwards emperor) and Theodore Palaeologus, brothers of John, and the great duke Luke Notaras, son-in-law of John.
He corresponded with persons of eminence in Italy, including Franciscus Philelphus (who was intimate with George during his stay at Constantinople), Mark Lipomanus, and Ambrose the Camaldolite. Many of his letters to these persons are extant in MS. but without date or place of writing.
In A. D. 1438-39, George, who held the post of chief judge of the palace, attended the emperor John at the councils of Ferrara and Florence.
It is probable that he had been originally unfavourable to the project of uniting the Greek and Latin Churches, which formed the business of these councils; but his opinions were either changed or overruled by the emperor, who was anxious for the union; and though a layman, he was allowed to speak at the council in favour of the project. (Labbe, Concil.
vol. xiii. col. 478.)
The three orations ascribed to him and subjoined to the Acts of the Council (Labbe, vol. xiii. col. 563-675), are probably much interpolated.
A letter of his to the council is also subjoined to the Acts, col. 543-564.
A letter of Mark of Ephesus to George severely reprehends this dereliction of his former views; and it was possibly the influence of Mark which determined George, on his return to Constantinople, to give his most strenuous opposition to the union.
When Constantine XIII. Palaeologus ascended the throne, on the death of his brother John, A. D. 1448, George energetically disputed with the bishop of Cortona, the legate sent by Pope Nicholas V. to induce the new emperor to confirm the union of Florence; but fearing that his opposition would irritate the emperor, he retired into a monastery, which he had bound himself by a vow to do as early as his thirtieth year, but had hitherto been prevented by various circumstances from carrying into effect. When the pope renewed his efforts for the union (A. D. 1452), the Greek clergy, of whom the greater number and the most important were opposed to the union, were guided by the influence and advice of Gennadius; but the union was, notwithstanding their opposition, confirmed by the emperor. During the siege of Constantinople, Gennadius foretold the overthrow of the city and empire, as the penalty of their having betrayed the faith of their fathers.
On the capture of the city by Mohammed II, Gennadius attempted to escape, but was brought back.
The patriarch of Constantinople, a favourer of the union of Florence, had fled into Italy, and Mohammed directed the clergy of Constantinople to elect another in his room. Gennadius was unammously chosen, although against his own will; but after a time, disheartened by the condition of his church, he abdicated his patriarchal dignity, about A. D.). 1457, or 1458, according to somei indications in his own writings, or 1459, according to other statements.
After his abdication, the retired to a monastery near Serrae.
The time of his death is not known.
The writings ascribed correctly or otherwise to Gennadius, and extant in MS., are very numerous. They are given by Fabricius and Harless to the number of nearly a hundred; beside his letters, which are tolerably numerous, and have furnished Fabricius with the materials of his account of the writer. His Orationes
at the council of Florence have been noticed ; and an Apologia pro quinque Capitibus Concilii Florentini,
which, if it be really his, has been much interpolated, has been repeatedly printed in a Latin version in the Bibliotheca Patrum
(vol, xxvi. ed. Lyon. 1677), and elsewhere.
Expositon of the Christian Faith
His exposition of the Christian faith, ad dressed to Mohammed II., entitled Περὶ τῆς μόνης ὁδοῦ πρὸς την σωτηρίαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων
, exists in two forms, of which the shorter is given in the Turco-Graecia of Crusius, with a Latin and a Turkish version, the latter in Greek and Roman, or rather Italic characters. A Latin version is printed in the Bibliotheca Patrum and elsewhere. The Bibliothea Patrum contains a version of all or most of his other writings. An edition of this treatise, with a Latin version by J. A. Brassicanus, 8vo., Vienna, 1530, contains another piece ascribed to Gennadius, entitled Homologia sive Confessio Fidei.
A considerable part of his the works is on the question of the union of the churches, and these are almost entirely in MS.
Fabric. Bibl. Gr.
vol. xi. pp. 349-393; Allatius, Diatriba de Georg.
apud Fabric. Bibl. Gr.
vol. xii. ; Crusits, Turco-Graecia,
lib i. ii.