Lina Murr Nehmé

Poet and Writer


Born in 1955. Lebanese.
Daughter of Alfred and May Murr.
Historian, painter, novelist, and professor of History of Art and Architecture at the Lebanese University.

- Comme un Torrent qui Gronde (1987, novel).
- Baalbek Monument Phénicien (1997, document proving that the monuments of Baalbek can only be Phoenician), and a touristic guide which completes it, Phoenician Baalbek (2001), also available in French : Baalbek la Phénicienne (2005) and Arabic : Baalbak al-Finiqiyyat (2001).
- Liban Assassiné (2008)
The Story of Taef (2009)
- Si Beyrouth parlait (2011)

- She also published a series of two books showing how some historical, psychological and artistic indications usually neglected can provide a far different view: La Renaissance en Question, 1-Des Origines à Léonard de Vinci (1998); 2-De Michel-Ange à nos jours: le Retour des Idoles (2000).

- After 12 years of Bible research, she is writing Prophéties de la Bible pour le Liban Moderne, a series of Bible studies published simultaneously in French and Arabic. The first, Habacuc and Obadiah, has been published in 2000 with the approval of Father Georges Rahmé. The second (in process) will study Bible texts about the Cedar.

- She has also published Barbara de Baalbek, a fiction with a historical background allowing the reader to live in the times and ambiance of the building of Baalbek’s temples.

- Finally, she published in Beirut a very controversial book called 1453: Mahomet II impose le Schisme Orthodoxe, which shows that the Orthodox Schism is illegal from the Orthodox point of view. She narrates the true story of the fourth Crusade and of the events that led to the fall of Constantinople and followed it. Using the facts themselves, she does not adopt the viewpoint of the old chroniclers if it is not consistent with these facts or with other facts given by other trustworthy first hand sources. She shows that old propaganda has corrupted the truth through many documents of their times, as much as modern propaganda does with many of todays’s documents (Paris 2003). Translated into English (1453 : Muhammad II imposes the Orthodox Schism) and in Arabic (1453 : Mouhammad et-Tani yafridou-l-inchiqaq el-Orthodoxi (2003).

Lina Murr Nehmé is also a painter, who won a degree from the Beaux-Arts of Paris (1982). She made her first exhibition at Halate (Lebanon, 1984), and then, exhibited many times in Lebanon, France and the United States.

She currently lives in Beirut, Lebanon.

Biographie (in French)
Lina Murr Nehmé est née le 12 juillet 1955. Diplômée des Beaux-Arts de Paris, elle vit à Beyrouth, où elle enseigne l’Histoire de l’Art à l’Université Libanaise. Son œuvre sur Baalbek lui a valu le Prix Saïd Akl.

Elle a déjà publié:

Chez F.-X. de Guibert :
1453 : Mahomet II impose le Schisme Orthodoxe

Chez Aleph & Taw :
Baalbek Monument Phénicien
Baalbek la Phénicienne
Prophéties de la Bible pour le Liban moderne
La Renaissance en Question (2 vol.)
1453 : Muhammad II imposes the Orthodox Schism (également traduit en arabe)
Phoenician Baalbek (également traduit en arabe)

Order the Book Online


Scholarios took part in the Council of Florence in which he called upon the Orthodox to embrace the Union of the Churches. A little time after his return to Constantinople, however, he retracted and claimed that the conflict between the two Churches was so serious that Christ was against the unity of the Christians, that is, against the only thing that could save Constantinople from the Turkish invasion.

Scholarios revealed his true motivations by accepting the position of Patriarch offered him by the Turkish Sultan, his expensive gifts and a full exemption from the taxes he levied on the Christians. The chronicler of Muhammad II wrote, He made him Patriarch and High Priest of the Christians, and gave him, among many other rights and privileges, the rule of the Church and all its power and authority.

Afterwards, Afterwards, the Sultan convened a synod to “elect” him, and he solemnly gave him the Patriarchal Staff and Pallium.

He also appointed him Ethnarch.

The Ethnarch is a ruler who represents the invader, and it is in this capacity that Scholarios helped the Ottomans to impose, upon the people he had sold, the myth of a legal Orthodox schism.

To justify himself, he claimed that pressures had been exerted in Florence that rendered the decrees of the Council void, since the Westerners had made their offer of military assistance conditional upon the cessation of the Schism.

If that were true, what would there be to say about the pressures exerted on the Synod that elected him under the patronage of a Sultan who resorted to murder when he was crossed? Such an election is null and void from the Orthodox point of view: a Moslem does not have the right to convene a synod. Much less can he name the Patriarch.

His propaganda claimed that the Byzantines were happy to be governed by a man of their nation. To realize what the situation really was, one must imagine the same misfortunes falling upon Rome, which resembles the Constantinople of 1453 in the abundance of her churches, in her beauty, in the number of her holy relics, in the scorn in which she holds her Anointed One and his display of pageantry, and in her certainty of being superior, as a Christian city, to all the other cities in the world.

Let us now imagine an Oriental dictator conquering Rome after an atrocious massacre. Let us imagine his tanks entering Saint Peter’s Basilica, blazing a bloody path amidst the crowds of faithful seeking sanctuary in it. Let us imagine this dictator then entering and climbing up on the papal altar, like an idol on its pedestal, while on his orders a proclamation is read, transforming Saint Peter’s Basilica into a temple of his religion. Let us imagine him executing all the notables of Rome who would have been hostile to him, and thereupon imposing the chief of the collaborators as Pope upon the Christians. Let us then imagine him convening a conclave composed of the few Cardinals he left alive, in order to confirm his nomination by “electing” this collaborator. Let us imagine his bestowing upon him the Pallium, giving him valuable gifts, exempting him from the taxes he would levy on the other Christians, then appointing him also President of the Italian Republic in order to be able to control the population more effectively.
Let us furthermore imagine the feelings of the Romans with respect to this instrument of the occupant, and we will realize how the average Christians of Constantinople regarded Scholarios.
It is unfortunate that their version of the facts was not written—or if it was, it has not reached us, because the only Patriarchs accepted by the Ottomans were those who repressed the freedom of expression. Hence, the truth of what the eyewitnesses really felt, died with them. And out of ignorance, we, the Orthodox, have been repeating through the centuries the version the Sultans wished us to repeat: that the Catholic West was apostate; that the Council of Florence was not valid because the Byzantine participants had betrayed the Orthodox dogma; that Emperor John VIII had acted there under pressure—and therefore, that Scholarios’ annulment of the Union decree was legal.

The truth is far more honourable for us.

In the Council of Florence, the Orthodox refused to add the Filioque to the Creed, refused to modify Saint Basil’s liturgy, refused to use unleavened bread for the Liturgy, refused to authorize the Pope to appoint the Patriarch of Constantinople, refused even to allow the Patriarch’s election to be held outside of Constantinople. Moreover, they did not make one single dogmatic renunciation: they united themselves with the Latins only after the Latins had conceded that the Holy Spirit has a single principle, the Father.

However they did abandon pride in Florence, by accepting the Pope’s primacy. But they were far from doing that because they were subjected to pressure. They were, in fact, subjected to an opposite pressure, since the Pope was at the time in a position of extreme weakness. Italian armies were waging war on him in the field, and a Republic had been proclaimed in Rome. He was a refugee in Florence, and the rich Italian merchants despised him. At the same time, the King of France was waging a theological war against him through the Council of Basel. The aim of this war was the final destruction of Papal power.

The military and financial interests of Emperor John VIII should have prompted him to abandon the Pope and make an agreement with the Council of Basel in order to please the King of France and obtain his military assistance. By refusing to prostitute himself, he saved the Church from a new Western schism and enhanced the prestige of the Pope in the West forever.
This act of heroism proves that the Council of Florence was completely free and disinterested. This is the prime condition for a Council to be ecumenical and moved by the Holy Spirit.
The other two conditions are that it include the most important personalities of the two Churches and that they submit themselves to the texts of the Bible and of the ancient Fathers of the Church. If such was the case, then the Union of the Churches promulgated by the Council of Florence, would be irrevocable as far as the Orthodox are concerned, and the existence of the schism would be illegal.

The time has come to see what really happened by confronting the numbers, the texts and the deeds and to rehabilitate the victims of Constantinople by exposing the true faces of their executioners and of those who betrayed them.

However, let it be clearly understood that, by accusing personalities of the past, my book does not intend to attack in any way the Pope, or the present Catholic or Orthodox Patriarchs or Bishops, who are the victims—and not the authors—of this historical lie imposed by the Ottomans. As a Greek Orthodox residing in Beirut, I am on the contrary proud of my Archbishop, Elias Audi, and of the head of my Church, Ignatios Hazim, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, who contradicted Scholarios by declaring in 1983 in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris, “The disagreement between the Orthodox and the Catholics is not dogmatic… We are capable of uniting with Rome because we are stubbornly faithful to our roots.”

Had the Hierarchy of Constantinople been composed of men like these at this fateful moment, they would have risen against the Sultan, refusing to flee or become his instruments when he was enslaving their people and transforming their churches into mosques. He would therefore have been forced, either to kill them, or to leave their Church alone.

In both cases, he would not have been able to impose such a flagrant lie on the Orthodox of the whole world.

Text of the cover:

“The disagreement between the Orthodox and the Catholics is not dogmatic... We are capable of uniting with Rome because we are stubbornly faithful to our roots.”

Thus spoke, in June 1983, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatios IV Hazim, in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.

Thus also spoke the Orthodox who, in 1439, had put an end to the Schism after interminable discussions with the Catholics at the Council of Florence.

At this Council, the scholarly George Scholarios had called upon them to embrace the Union of the Churches. A short time after his return to Constantinople, however, he retracted and claimed that the causes of the Schism were so grievous that Christ did not want the unity of the Christians, that is, the only thing that could save Constantinople from the Turkish invasion.
After the fall of Constantinople, Scholarios revealed his true motives by accepting the position of Patriarch offered him by the Turkish Sultan, his expensive gifts and a full exemption from the taxes he levied on the Christians. And he helped the Ottomans to impose on the Orthodox the myth of a legal Schism.

From the Orthodox point of view, a Moslem cannot convoke a synod to elect a Patriarch, nor choose that Patriarch, especially if there is a legitimate one. And the decree of such an “Antipatriarch” certainly cannot prevail against that of a Council which included the heads of the two Churches. The Council of Florence is therefore still valid from the Orthodox point of view.
People say that History repeats itself. It is all the more true, when it comes to the tragic story of the fall of Constantinople…

The same Book available in French

II- Interview with Lina Murr Nehme concerning her book: '1453: MUHAMMAD II IMPOSES THE ORTHODOX SCHISM'

Q: LMN, why did you write the book called, “1453 : Mehmet II Imposes the Orthodox Schism?”

LMN: Because it is enough to narrate what really happened to change the peoples’ views.
How many people know that the Union of the Churches of Rome and Constantinople had been proclamed in Florence in 1439, then in Constantinople in 1452 ? However a few months later, Constantinople fell, with torrents of blood, into the hands of Muhammad II, Sultan of the Turks. And the land of the Byzantines became Moslem and got to be called Turkey.
Mehmet II killed those who annoyed him. Would he let his new subjects freely practice their religion? Yes, on condition that the leader of their Church be in his pay and at his feet.
What made the union of the Churches fail was also what made of the Byzantine lands a Moslem country. That story of violence and love, of hate, of treason and heroism, concerns us today more than ever, because it confirms the saying “History repeats itself”.
Proving all that was my objective in writing 1453 : Mehmet II Imposes the Orthodox Schism. It took seven years of work. With all my heart, I hope it will help you to read between the lines of current events.

Q: To whom is your book addressed ?

LMN: To a very vast public : the history of this period was filled with stories that were humorous and others that were sad, with anecdotes, with suspense, with surprise reversals, with adventures, with absurdity, with marvels of resistance and heroism and with marvels of cowardice. What happened is so unbelievable, and the stories of the period are so poignant or scandalous that I had to cite them and put images for me not to be accused of exaggerating. I also put images to please the eye, to recreate the atmosphere of those times, because I was trained as an artist.

Q: What echoes do you get about your book from the Orthodox ?

LMN: I thought that after the publication of this book, there would no longer be a single Orthodox on earth who would accept to speak to me. I thought they would have neither the humility, nor the love to accept such a painful truth. I thought that even the Catholics would fight me. And I have been fought, which proves that my book is having an impact. However I am not fought by the Orthodox as such, on the contrary: in Lebanon, the Orthodox are the ones who have most served my book. Perhaps it is because in Lebanon, we love each other, among communities, and would like union. A practicing Orthodox journalist set as a condition for her help that this book would help the union. Also, we are lucky to have a Patriarch who desires union, and who has the courage to say the truth. It is Ignatius IV Hazim, the Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. He said in Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, in June 1983, “The disagreement between Orthodox and Catholics is not dogmatic…We are able to unite with Rome because we are stubbornly loyal to our roots.”

Q: Yet there is nonetheless some theology in this book, otherwise, why the title, Mehmet II Imposes the Orthodox Schism?

LMN: Certainly: for those who are interested, I put a technical section at the end of the book. In that part, I also ask common sense questions such as, “Can Orthodoxy be represented by the leaders of the collaboration with the enemy?” A very grave question, because Constantinople was a theocraty; the chief collaborators were thus those who worked to replace Orthodoxy with Islam. It so happens that they were also the leaders of the party opposed to the Union. Inversely, the leaders of the party in favor of the Union were also the leaders of the defense of Constantinople. I also show, with facts that are generally not noticed, that the Orthodox were in their majority favorable to the Union at the time. It is the contrary of what one reads generally in books, but so be it. As for me, I prove what I say.
Of course though, the traitors will accuse the others of treason in order to camouflage their own treason. And their accusations have endured, because history is written by the victors. It is not the fault of the Orthodox of today if, for four centuries, insistence has been placed on details to prevent them from seeing this side of things.