Constantine XI Palaiologos
Constantine XI Palaiologos (Gr: Κωνσταντίνος ΙΑ' Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος, also Dragases ), was the last reigning emperor of the Palaiologos Dynasty as well as the last of the Roman Emperors. Born in 1404 AD in Mystras, he ruled from 1449 until his death on May 29, 1453, at the Fall of Constantinople.
Constantine was the son of Emperor Manuel II. He was trained as a soldier and in 1441 conquered the Morea Peninsula of Greece. It had long been under the Frankish principality of 'Achaia'  Constantine was crowned Emperor January 6, 1449 AD succeeding his brother. A little less than five years later in 1453 AD he was killed during the final assaults by the Turkish Sultan, Mehmed II on Constantinople. Constantine, with some 8,000 Greeks, Venetians, and Genoese, had faced 150,000 Turkish besiegers under the Sultan, and after almost two months of heroic defense, directed by the emperor, the city and the empire fell. Constantine died fighting with the last of his men.. Going back to Augustus and the ancient Roman Empire, he was the 138th and last Roman Emperor.
Orthodox do not consider Constantine XI a saint, though there are some who incorrectly, personally consider him so because of their love of the Byzantine (Roman) Empire. However, the last Emperor has never been recognized as a Saint due to his heretical beliefs and his compromising of the Faith in order to gain material aid from Latin lands. When the Empire was in need, he sought Latin military aid by reaffirming the heretical statements of the Council of Florence.. And it is said that he defiled the Church of Agia Sophia the day/night before the Fall with a blended Divine Liturgy and Latin mass. . In attempting to preserve an earthly Empire, he lost a Heavenly Kingdom. In contrast, there is a Saint of Serbia (Tzar Lazar), who gave up an earthly Kingdom for the Heavenly. The Faith is always more important than earthly possessions.
- Donald M. Nicol. The Immortal Emperor: The Life and Legend of Constantine Palaiologos, Last Emperor of the Romans. Cambridge University Press, 2002. ISBN 0521894093, 9780521894098 (174 pp)
- 'Achaia': A state established by the Crusaders.
- Columbia Encyclopedia: Constantine XI.
- Before becoming a nun and assuming the name Ipomoni, Helena was the mother of Constantine XI Palaiologos. She lived a monastic life for over 25 years, after entering into the habit after the death of her husband. She died 1450AD and is commemorated by the church May 29. The relics of her skull and her icon are found at the Monastery of St. Patapios, Loutraki of Korinthos, Greece.