The Council of Ferrara/Florence and its repercussions on the Greek Church of Southern Italy – a new beginning or an ongoing decline?
Dr. Thomas Hofmann
In the context of the Council of Ferrara/Florence, the Roman Curia and various social circles in Italy were confronted with Greek theology and culture at an increasing rate. This effect was strengthened by some Greek protagonists who remained permanently at the Roman Curia, for example Isidore of Kiev and Bessarion. The latter, also called Cardinalis Graecus, took various measures to reorganize the Greek monasteries, combining these measures with a strong personal network-policy. The decline, however, was largely caused by demographic reasons and accelerated progressively. Neither the reunion of the Latin Church with Orthodox Churches nor humanism could halt this decline. The establishment of coordinated structures by a new 'ordo Sancti Basilii' and other measures had little effect. If the immigration of Albanian refugees, who lived according to the Greek rite in the second half of the 15th century, resulted in a certain demographic "compensation", the decisions of the Council of Trent finally eliminated all forms of religious diversity, even at a local level.