The Fall of Constantinople

My own work, inspired by Greek ballads on the Fall of Constantinople, May 29, 1453. Emperor Constantine XI died in communion with the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and is therefore venerated as a martyr by the Greek Catholics, though he has never been officially canonized.

In Holy Sofia the bells are all ringing,
The candles are lit and the censers are swinging,
The icons are carried, the folk tell their beads,
The Patriarch sings, and the Emperor reads,
The priests they are twelve and the deacons are seven,
But Our Lady Saint Mary is weeping in Heaven.
The cannonades pound on the Emperor’s wall,
And God has decreed that the city must fall.

The cannons are roaring, the walls have been shattered,
The Turks are inpouring, the Christians are battered.
Constantine casts off his mantle and crown,
Dressed as a soldier he cuts the Turks down.
In Holy Sofia is one priest remaining.
He lifts up the Host and the Chalice for saining.

His sword was in pieces, the Turks all around,
Constantine fell, all alone, to the ground.
The priest held Our Lord up and bowed to adore Him.
A niche in the wall he saw open before him.

Unknown is the cavern where Constantine sleeps,
Where John the Undying his lone vigil keeps.
Unseen by the Turks who pour in without number,
That priest in the walls of Sofia shall slumber.

Our Lady is weeping in Heaven so high,
“How long, O my Son, till my griefs be laid by?
When, O my Son, shall my joys have returning?
How long, O my Son, will Thine anger be burning?”
“It is but a while, O dear Mother Mine,
Until the great City again shall be thine.”

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