Shuttle Diplomacy

How unglamorous it all is now!

After a thousand year wait, a meeting in an airport departure lounge with no one to record it but the rather frumpish figure of the BBC’s ‘religious affairs correspondent’ Caroline Wyatt!

And all that midnight oil expended by Koch and Hilarion, cobbling together a statement too long for our dyslexic media to digest! Even the current hot topics – abortion and gay marriage – were excised from the reportage in favour of egregious historical misinformation.

Once it was very different.

When East met West at the Council of Florence, Benozzo Gozzuoli was on hand to do the honours. He painted the main protagonists as Magi, journeying toward Filippo Lippi’s Adoration of the Christ Child: the Byzantine Emperor, John VIII Palaeologus upright on his fine steed as Balthasar; Joseph, the Patriarch of Constantinople, less grandly seated, as the old man Melchior; and in the background, modestly – though he was, so to say, the founder of the feast – the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund.

And the Caroline Wyatt of the piece, destined to tell tales of the event to the next generation? The young Lorenzo, not yet magnificent, but with a bright eye and fine head of curly hair.

O tempora, o mores!

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