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The East–West Schism[1] divided medieval Christianity into Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively. Relations between East and West had long been embittered by political and ecclesiastical differences and theological disputes.[2] Pope Leo IX and Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius heightened the conflict by suppressing Greek and Latin in their respective domains. In 1054, Roman legates travelled to Cerularius to deny him the title Ecumenical Patriarch and to insist that he recognize the Church of Rome's claim to be the head and mother of the churches.[2] Cerularius refused. The leader of the Latin contingent, Cardinal Humbert, excommunicated Cerularius, while Cerularius in return excommunicated Cardinal Humbert and other legates.[2]

The Western legates' acts might have been of doubtful validity due to Leo's death, while Cerularius's excommunication applied only to the legates personally.[2] Still, the Church split along doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political, and geographical lines, and the fundamental breach has never been healed. The Crusades, the Massacre of the Latins in 1182, the capture and sack of Constantinople in 1204, and the imposition of Latin Patriarchs made reconciliation more difficult.[2] This included the taking of many precious religious artifacts and the destruction of the Library of Constantinople. On paper, the two churches actually reunited in 1274 (by the Second Council of Lyon) and in 1439 (by the Council of Florence), but in each case the councils were repudiated by the Orthodox as a whole. In 1484, 31 years after the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks, a Synod of Constantinople repudiated the Union of Florence, making the breach between the Patriarchate of the West and the Patriarchate of Constantinople final. In 1965, the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople nullified the anathemas of 1054.[2] Contacts between the two sides continue: every year a delegation from each joins in the other's celebration of its patronal feast, Saints Peter and Paul (29 June) for Rome and Saint Andrew (30 November) for Constantinople, and there have been a number of visits by the head of each to the other.


There was no single event that marked the breakdown. In the centuries immediately before the schism became definitive, a few short schisms between Constantinople and Rome were followed by reconciliations. Even during the period of Early Christianity, part of the East was in disagreement with Pope Victor I over the Quartodeciman question.

Rise of Constantinople

John Binns writes that, after the fall and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, the natural leading centres of the Church were Antioch and Alexandria. Constantinople was not founded (that is, renamed from "Byzantium") until after the First Council of Nicaea (325).

The historian Will Durant writes that, after Jerusalem, the church of Rome naturally became the primary church, the capital of Christianity.[3] Rome had an early and significant Christian population.[3] It was closely identified with Paul the Apostle, who preached[4] and was martyred there, and the Apostle Peter, who was a martyr there as well. While the Eastern cities of Alexandria and Antioch produced theological works, the bishops of Rome focused on what Romans admittedly did best: administration.[3]

In the early church, up until the ecumenical councils, Rome was regarded as an important centre of Christianity, especially since it was the capital of the Roman Empire. Bishops of churches in the eastern and southern Mediterranean generally recognized the persuasive leadership and authority of the Bishop of Rome. But these bishops did not regard the Bishop of Rome as infallible, nor did they acknowledge any juridical authority of Rome.

In the fourth century, when the Roman emperors were trying to control the Church, theological questions ran rampant throughout the Roman Empire[5]. The influence of Greek speculative thought on Christian thinking led to all sorts of divergent and conflicting opinions[6]. Theology was also used as a weapon against opponent bishops, because being branded a heretic was the only sure way for a bishop to be removed by other bishops—incompetence was not sufficient grounds for removal.


The patriarchs of Constantinople often tried to adopt an imperious position over the other patriarchs. The opinion of the Bishop of Rome was often sought, especially when the patriarchs of the Eastern churches were locked in fractious dispute. The bishops of Rome never obviously belonged to either the Antiochian or the Alexandrian schools of theology, and usually managed to steer a middle course between whatever extremes were being propounded by theologians of either school. Because Rome was remote from the centres of Christianity in the eastern empire, it was frequently hoped its bishop would be more impartial. For instance, in 431, Cyril, the patriarch of Alexandria, appealed to Pope Celestine I, as well as the other patriarchs, charging Nestorius with heresy, which was dealt with at the Council of Ephesus (431).

The opinion of the bishop of Rome was always canvassed, and was often longed for. However the Bishop of Rome's opinion was not always accepted by all. For instance, the Tome of Leo of Rome was highly regarded, and formed the basis for the formulation of the Council of Chalcedon (451). But it was not universally accepted and was even called "impious" and "blasphemous" by some.[7] The next ecumenical council corrected a possible imbalance in Pope Leo's presentation. Although the Bishop of Rome was well respected even at this early date, the concept of the primacy of the Roman See and Papal Infallibility were developed much later.


When the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great embraced Christianity, he summoned the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in 325 to resolve a number of issues which troubled the Church. The bishops at the council confirmed the position of the metropolitan sees of Rome and Alexandria as having authority outside their own province, and also the existing privileges of the churches in Antioch and the other provinces.[8] Later, these sees were called Patriarchates and were given an order of precedence: Rome, though it was no longer capital of the empire, was naturally given first place, then came Alexandria and Antioch. In a separate canon, the Council also approved the special honor given to Jerusalem over other sees subject to the same metropolitan.[9]

Soon, Constantine erected a new capital at Byzantium, a strategically-placed city on the Bosporus. He renamed his new capital Nova Roma (New Rome), but the city would become known as Constantinople. The Second Ecumenical Council, held at the new capital in 381, elevated the see of Constantinople itself, to a position ahead of the other chief metropolitan sees, except that of Rome.[10] Mentioning in particular the provinces of Asia, Pontus and Thrace, it decreed that the synod of each province should manage the ecclesiastical affairs of that province alone, except for the privileges already recognized for Alexandria and Antioch.[11]

Council of Chalcedon

The Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon in 451 confirmed the authority already held by Constantinople. There were now five patriarchs presiding over the Church within the Byzantine Empire, in the following order of precedence: the Patriarch of Rome, the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Patriarch of Antioch and the Patriarch of Jerusalem (see Pentarchy).

Empires East and West

Disunion in the Roman Empire further contributed to disunion in the Church. The Emperor Diocletian famously divided the administration of the eastern and western portions of the Empire in the early 4th century, though subsequent leaders (including Constantine) aspired to and sometimes gained control of both regions. Theodosius the Great, who established Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, died in 395 and was the last Emperor to rule over a united Roman Empire. Following his death, the division into western and eastern halves, each under its own Emperor, became permanent. By the end of the 5th century, the Western Roman Empire had been overrun by the Germanic tribes, while the Eastern Roman Empire (known also as the Byzantine Empire) continued to thrive. Thus, the political unity of the Roman Empire was the first to fall. These Germanic tribes, particularly the Franks, influenced and changed the Latin Church.

In the West, as a practical matter, the collapse of civil government left the Church in charge in many areas, and bishops took to administering secular cities and domains.[3] When royal and imperial rule reestablished itself, it had to contend with power wielded independently by the Church. In the East, however, imperial and, later, Islamic rule dominated the Eastern bishops.[3]

Language and culture

Many other factors caused the East and West to drift further apart. The dominant language of the West was Latin, whilst that of the East was Greek. Soon after the fall of the Western Empire, the number of individuals who spoke both Latin and Greek began to dwindle, and communication between East and West grew much more difficult. With linguistic unity gone, cultural unity began to crumble as well. The two halves of the Church were naturally divided along similar lines; they developed different rites and had different approaches to religious doctrines. Although the Great Schism was still centuries away, its outlines were already perceptible.[12]

Dark Ages

Following the Sack of Rome by invading European Goths, Rome slid into the Dark Ages which affected most parts of Western Europe, and became increasingly isolated from the churches in the eastern and southern Mediterranean. This was a situation which suited and pleased many of the patriarchs and bishops of those churches.[13]

It was not until the rise of Charlemagne and his successors that the Church of Rome arose out of obscurity on the back of their military successes.

Papal Supremacy and Pentarchy

Icon depicting Emperor Constantine and the Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea (325) as holding the Nicene Creed in the wording as modified in 381.

The primary causes of the Schism were disputes over conflicting claims of jurisdiction, in particular over papal authorityPope Leo IX claimed he held authority over the four Eastern patriarchs (see also Pentarchy)—and over the insertion of the Filioque clause into the Nicene Creed by the Western patriarch in 1014.[14] Eastern Orthodox today state that the 28th Canon of the Council of Chalcedon explicitly proclaimed the equality of the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople, and that it established the highest court of ecclesiastical appeal in Constantinople.

Eastern Orthodox argue that the seventh canon of the Council of Ephesus explicitly prohibited modification of the Nicene Creed drawn up by the first Ecumenical Council in 325. The Council made this prohibition despite the fact that the earlier second Ecumenical Council, had already modified the Creed adopted at Nicaea, making additions such as "who proceeds from the Father".[15][16] It is claimed that this was a change of the wording, not of the substance,

There were other less significant catalysts for the Schism however, including variance over liturgical practices.

Other points of conflict

Many other issues increased tensions.

  • Emperor Leo III the Isaurian outlawed the veneration of icons in the 8th century. This policy, which came to be called Iconoclasm, was rejected by the West.
  • The Western Church's insertion of "Filioque" into the Latin version of the Nicene Creed.
  • Disputes in the Balkans, Southern Italy, and Sicily over whether Rome or Constantinople had ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
  • In the East, endorsement of Caesaropapism, subordination of the church to the religious claims of the dominant political order, was most fully evident in the Byzantine Empire at the end of the first millennium,[17] while in the West, where the decline of imperial authority left the Church relatively independent,[18] there was growth of the power of the Papacy.
  • As a result of the Muslim conquests of the territories of the patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, only two rival powerful centres of ecclesiastical authority, Constantinople and Rome, remained.[19]
  • Certain liturgical practices in the West that the East believed represented illegitimate innovation: the use of unleavened bread for the Eucharist, for example (see Azymite).
  • Celibacy among Western priests (both monastic and parish), as opposed to the Eastern discipline whereby parish priests can be married men.

Mutual excommunication of 1054

Most of the direct causes of the Great Schism, however, are far less grandiose than the famous Filioque. The relations between the papacy and the Byzantine court were good in the years leading up to 1054. The emperor Constantine IX and the Pope Leo IX were allied through the mediation of the Lombard catepan of Italy, Argyrus, who had spent years in Constantinople, originally as a political prisoner.

Patriarch Michael I ordered a letter to be written to the bishop of Trani in which he attacked the "Judaistic" practices of the West, namely the use of unleavened bread. The letter was to be sent by John to all the bishops of the West, including the Pope. John promptly complied and the letter was passed to Humbert of Mourmoutiers, the cardinal-bishop of Silva Candida, who translated the letter into Latin and brought it to the Pope, who ordered a reply to be made to each charge and a defence of papal supremacy to be laid out in a response.

Although he was hot-headed, Michael was convinced to cool the debate and thus attempt to prevent the impending breach. However, Humbert and the Pope made no concessions and Humbert was sent with legatine powers to the imperial capital to resolve the questions raised, once and for all. Humbert, Frederick of Lorraine, and Peter, Archbishop of Amalfi arrived in April 1054 and were met with a hostile reception; they stormed out of the palace, leaving the papal response with Michael, who in turn was even more angered by their actions. The patriarch refused to recognise their authority or, practically, their existence.[20] When Pope Leo died on April 19, 1054, the legates' authority legally ceased, but they effectively ignored this technicality.[21]

In response to Michael's refusal to address the issues at hand, the legatine mission took the extreme measure of entering the church of the Hagia Sophia during the Divine Liturgy and placing a bull of excommunication on the altar.

The consummation of the East–West Schism is thus generally dated from the year 1054, when this sequence of events took place. However, these events only triggered the beginning of the schism, and it was not actually consummated by the seemingly mutual excommunications. The New Catholic Encyclopedia reports that the legates had been careful not to intimate that the bull of excommunication implied a general excommunication of the Byzantine Church. The bull excommunicated only Caerularius, Leo of Achrida, and their adherents. Thus, the New Catholic Encyclopedia argues that the dispute need not have produced a permanent schism any more than excommunication of any "contumacious bishop." The schism began to develop when all the other Eastern patriarchs supported Caerularius. According to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, it was the support of Emperor Michael VI Stratiotikos that impelled them to support Caerularius.[22] Some have questioned the validity of the bull on the grounds that Pope Leo IX had died at that time and so the authority of the legates to issue such a bull is unclear.[21]

The legates left for Rome two days after issuing the bull of excommunication, leaving behind a city near riot. The patriarch had the immense support of the people against the emperor, who had supported the legates to his own detriment. To assuage popular anger, the bull was burnt, and the legates were anathematised. Only the legates were anathematised and, in this case too, there was no explicit indication that the entire Western church was being anathematised.

In the bull of excommunication issued against Patriarch Michael by the papal legates, one of the reasons cited was the Eastern Church's deletion of the "Filioque" from the original Nicene Creed. In fact, it was precisely the opposite: the Eastern Church did not delete anything. It was the Western Church that added this phrase to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.[21]

"Even after 1054 friendly relations between East and West continued. The two parts of Christendom were not yet conscious of a great gulf of separation between them. … The dispute remained something of which ordinary Christians in the East and West were largely unaware."[23] In fact, efforts were made in subsequent centuries by Popes and Patriarchs to heal the rift between the churches. However, a number of factors and historical events worked to widen the separation over time.[24]

Fourth Crusade and other military conflicts

The participants (crusaders and Venetians) in the Fourth Crusade captured and sacked Constantinople in 1204, looting The Church of Holy Wisdom and various other Orthodox holy sites, and converting them to Latin Catholic worship. The holy artifacts were taken to the West. The victors set up in what had been the empire's territory a number of feudal crusader states, of which the most important was the Latin Empire of Constantinople, thus initiating the period of Greek history known as Frangokratia (dominion by the Franks). The break-up of the Byzantine Empire is seen as a factor that led to its conquest by Islam. The crusaders also appointed a Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. An attempt by the Latin Empire to capture the city of Adrianople, then a Bulgarian possession, was defeated in the Battle of Adrianople (1205).

In northern Europe, the Teutonic Knights, after their successes in the northern crusades,[25] attempted to conquer also the Orthodox Russian Republics of Pskov and Novgorod, an enterprise endorsed by Pope Gregory IX.[25] One of the major defeats they suffered was the Battle of the Ice in 1242. Sweden also undertook several campaigns against Orthodox Novgorod. There were also conflicts between Catholic Poland and Orthodox Russia. Such conflicts solidified the schism between East and West.

Reunion attempts

The Second Council of Lyon was convoked to act on a pledge by Byzantine emperor Michael VIII to reunite the Eastern church with the West.[26] Wishing to end the Great Schism that divided Rome and Constantinople, Gregory X had sent an embassy to Michael VIII Palaeologus. On June 29, 1274, Gregory X celebrated a Mass in St John's Church, where both sides took part. The council declared that the Roman church possessed “the supreme and full primacy and authority over the universal Catholic Church.” The council was seemingly a success, but did not provide a lasting solution to the schism; the Emperor was anxious to heal the schism, but the Eastern clergy proved to be obstinate. However, Michael VII's son and successor Andronicus II repudiated the union.

In the 15th century, the eastern emperor John VIII Palaeologus, pressed hard by the Ottoman Turks, was keen to ally himself with the West, and to do so he arranged with Pope Eugene IV for discussions about reunion to be held again, this time at the Council of Ferrara-Florence. After several long discussions, the emperor managed to convince the Eastern representatives to accept the Western doctrines of Filioque, Purgatory and the supremacy of the Papacy. On 6 June 1439 an agreement was signed by all the Eastern bishops present but one, Mark of Ephesus, who held that Rome continued in both heresy and schism. It seemed that the Great Schism had been ended. However, upon their return, the Eastern bishops found their agreement with the West broadly rejected by the populace and by civil authorities (with the notable exception of the Emperors of the East who remained committed to union until the Fall of Constantinople two decades later). The union signed at Florence has never been accepted by the Eastern churches.

Fall of Constantinople

In 1453, the Eastern Roman Empire fell to the Ottoman Empire. But Orthodoxy was still very strong in Russia which became autocephalous (since 1448, although this wasn't officially accepted by Constantinople until 1589); and thus Moscow called itself the Third Rome, as the cultural heir of Constantinople.

Eastern Christians expressed a belief that the Fall of Constantinople was God's punishment for the Emperor and clergy accepting the West's doctrines of Filioque, Purgatory and the supremacy of the Papacy. The West did not fulfil its promise to the Eastern Emperor of troops and support if he agreed to the reconciliation. The Sack of Constantinople is still considered proof by the East that the West ultimately succeeded in its endeavor to destroy the East.

Under Ottoman rule, the Orthodox Church acquired power as an autonomous millet. The ecumenical patriarch was the religious and administrative ruler of the entire Rum Millet (Ottoman administrative unit), which encompassed all the Eastern Orthodox subjects of the Empire. Those appointed to the role were chosen by the Muslim State. In fact, Mehmed II when he conquered the City formally assumed the legal function of the Byzantine Emperors, and the appointment of the patriarch Gennadius II. Mehmed and his agents did all they could to stamp out pro-Roman parties among the Greek Christians, and to that end Mehmed enormously strengthened the Greek church, as this helped to protect the Ottoman Sultunate from any united Christian foe.

As a result of the Ottoman conquest, the entire Orthodox communion of the Balkans and the Near East became suddenly isolated from the West. For the next four hundred years, it would be confined within the Islamic world, with which it had little in common religiously or culturally. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Churches from Wallachia and Moldavia were the only part of the Orthodox communion that remained outside the control of the Ottoman Empire.

Rise of the Russian Orthodox Church

The growing might of the Russian state contributed also to the growing authority of the Autocephalous Russian Church. In 1589, Metropolitan Job of Moscow became the first Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus'; making the Russian Church one of the five honourable Patriarchates.

However, in 1721 Tsar Peter I abolished completely the patriarchate and so the Church effectively became a department of the government, ruled by a Most Holy Synod composed of senior bishops and lay bureaucrats appointed by the Tsar himself. An independent (from the state) patriarchate was reestablished in 1917, but after the death in 1925 of Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow, who had been persecuted by the Soviet authorities, the patriarchate remained vacant until 1943, when, during the Second World War, the Soviet government allowed somewhat greater freedom to the Church.

The Uniate question

The Eastern Catholic Churches consider themselves to have reconciled the East and West Schism by keeping their prayers and rituals similar to those of Eastern Orthodoxy, while also accepting the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. Some Eastern Orthodox charge that joining in this unity comes at the expense of ignoring critical doctrinal differences and past atrocities.

Since the beginnings of the Uniate movement, there have been periodic conflicts between the Orthodox and Uniate in Ukraine and Belarus, then under Polish rule,[27] and later also in Transylvania. During Russia's Time of Troubles there was a plan by the conquering Polish monarchy (of Latin Rite, not Uniate) to convert all of Russia to Roman Catholicism. The Russian national holiday, Unity Day, was established due to this conflict. Patriarch Hermogenes was martyred by the Poles and their supporters during this period (see also Polish-Lithuanian-Muscovite Commonwealth).[28].[29]

Similar pressure was also used by the Orthodox against Eastern Catholic Churches such as the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.[30]

At a meeting in Balamand, Lebanon in June 1993, the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church the delegates of the Eastern Orthodox Churches declared "...and that what has been called 'uniatism' can no longer be accepted either as a method to be followed nor as a model of the unity our Churches are seeking" (section 12 of the document).

At the same time, the Commission stated:

  • Concerning the Eastern Catholic Churches, it is clear that they, as part of the Catholic Communion, have the right to exist and to act in response to the spiritual needs of their faithful.
  • The Oriental Catholic Churches who have desired to re-establish full communion with the See of Rome and have remained faithful to it, have the rights and obligations which are connected with this communion.

First Vatican Council

The doctrine of papal primacy was further developed in 1870 at the First Vatican Council which declared that "in the disposition of God the Roman church holds the preeminence of ordinary power over all the other churches". This council also affirmed the dogma of papal infallibility, declaring that the infallibility of the Christian community extends to the pope himself, when he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.

Recent efforts at reconciliation

Second Vatican Council

A major event of the Second Vatican Council, known as Vatican II, was the issuance by Pope Paul VI and Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras of a joint expression of regret for many of the past actions that had led up to the Great Schism between the Western and Eastern churches, expressed as the Catholic-Orthodox Joint declaration of 1965. At the same time, they lifted the mutual excommunications dating from the eleventh century.[31]

Joint Theological Commission

The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church first met in Rhodes in 1980.

Other moves toward reconciliation

In June 1995, Patriarch Bartholomew I, who was elected as the 273rd Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in October 1991, visited the Vatican for the first time, when he joined in the historic inter-religious day of prayer for peace at Assisi. Pope John Paul II and the Patriarch explicitly stated their mutual "desire to relegate the excommunications of the past to oblivion and to set out on the way to re-establishing full communion."[32]

In May 1999, John Paul II was the first pope since the Great Schism to visit an Eastern Orthodox country: Romania. Upon greeting John Paul II, the Romanian Patriarch Teoctist stated: "The second millennium of Christian history began with a painful wounding of the unity of the Church; the end of this millennium has seen a real commitment to restoring Christian unity." Pope John Paul II visited other heavily Orthodox areas such as Ukraine, despite lack of welcome at times, and he said that healing the divisions between Western and Eastern Christianity was one of his fondest wishes.

In June 2004, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I's visit to Rome for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (29 June) afforded him the opportunity for another personal meeting with Pope John Paul II, for conversations with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and for taking part in the celebration for the feast day in St. Peter's Basilica.

The Patriarch's partial participation in the Eucharistic liturgy at which the Pope presided followed the program of the past visits of Patriarch Dimitrios (1987) and Patriarch Bartholomew I himself: full participation in the Liturgy of the Word, joint proclamation by the Pope and by the Patriarch of the profession of faith according to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in Greek and as the conclusion, the final Blessing imparted by both the Pope and the Patriarch at the Altar of the Confessio.[33] The Patriarch did not fully participate in the Liturgy of the Eucharist involving the consecration and distribution of the Eucharist itself.[34][35]

In accordance with the Roman Catholic Church's practice of including the clause when reciting the Creed in Latin,[36] but not when reciting the Creed in Greek,[37] Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have recited the Nicene Creed jointly with Patriarchs Demetrius I and Bartholomew I in Greek without the Filioque clause.[38][39] The action of these Patriarchs in reciting the Creed together with the Popes has been strongly criticized by some elements of Eastern Orthodoxy, such as the Metropolitan of Kalavryta, Greece, in November 2008[40]

Prospects for reconciliation

Despite efforts on the part of Catholic Popes and Orthodox Patriarchs to heal the schism, only limited progress towards reconciliation has been made over the last half century. One stumbling block is the fact that the Orthodox and the Catholics have different perceptions of the nature of the divide.

Most of the ecclesiological issues seem to be within the realm of compromise and accommodation with the exception of the doctrines of Papal Primacy and Papal supremacy. The official Catholic teaching is that the Orthodox are schismatic meaning that there is nothing heretical about their theology, only their unwillingness to accept the supremacy of the Pope which is presented in Catholic teaching as an ecclesiological issue, not a theological one. With respect to Primacy of the Pope, the two churches agree that the Pope, as Bishop of Rome, has primacy although they continue to have different interpretations of what that primacy entails. The Eastern Orthodox insist that the primacy is largely one of honor, the Pope being "first among equals" primus inter pares. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, insists on the doctrine of Supremacy. It is widely understood that, if there is to be reconciliation, both sides will have to compromise on this doctrine. Although some commentators have proposed ways in which such compromise can be achieved, there is no official indication that such compromise is being contemplated.

From the perspective of the Catholic Church, the ecclesiological issues are the central issue which is why they characterize the split between the two churches as a schism. In their view, the Eastern Orthodox are very close to them in theology and the Catholic Church does not consider the Orthodox beliefs to be heretical. In contrast, the Catholic Church does consider a number of Protestant doctrines to be heretical. However, from the perspective of Orthodox theologians, there are theological issues that run much deeper than just the theology around the primacy and/or supremacy of the Pope. In fact, unlike the Catholics who do not generally consider the Orthodox heretical, some prominent Orthodox theologians do consider the Catholic Church to be heretical on fundamental doctrinal issues of theology.

These doctrinal issues center around the Orthodox perception that the Catholic theologians lack the actual experience of God called theoria and thereby fail to understand the importance of the Heart as Noetic or Intuitive faculty. It is the Catholic Church's reliance on pagan metaphysical philosophy and rational methods such as scholasticism rather than on intuitive experience of God (theoria) that causes Orthodox to consider the Catholic Church heretical. Other points of doctrinal difference include a difference regarding human nature as well as a difference regarding original sin, purgatory and the nature of Hell.

The most frequently discussed point of theological difference is embodied in the dispute regarding the inclusion of the Filioque in the Nicene Creed. From the perspective of the Catholic Church, the Filioque is seen as the primary theological obstacle to reconciliation. The Orthodox, on the other hand, view inclusion of the phrase to be almost heretical (see also the Trinity section). The Catholic Church does not consider the Filioque as an insurmountable obstacle. In contrast, the Orthodox view the unilateral insertion of Filioque into the Creed as a much more important issue than the Catholics do; where the Catholics have striven to be flexible, the Orthodox seem to admit to little room for flexibility, if any.

More importantly, the Orthodox see the Filioque as just the tip of the iceberg and really just a symptom of a much more deeply rooted problem of theology, one so deeply rooted that they consider it to be heretical and even, by some characterizations, an inability to "see God" and know God. This heresy is allegedly rooted in Frankish paganism, Arianism, Platonist and Aristotelian philosophy and Thomist rational and objective Scholasticism. In opposition to what they characterize as pagan, heretical and "godless" foundations, the Orthodox rely on an intuitive and mystical knowledge and vision of God (Theoria) based on Hesychasm and noesis. While Catholics accept the Eastern Orthodox intuitive and mystical understanding of God as valid, they consider it to be complementary to the rational and philosophical Scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas. Pope John Paul II has characterized the Western and Eastern approaches as operating as "two lungs" in the Body of Christ.[41] In contrast, the Eastern Orthodox reject the rational and philosophical foundations of Western Christianity as pagan and heretical and assert that until the Western Church learns to see God and know God as the Eastern Church does, there cannot be even the remotest possibility of reconciliation.

Despite this pessimistic opinion of the prospects for reconciliation, Patriarchs of the Eastern Orthodox Church have shown a willingness to work with successive Popes of the Catholic Church in joint ecumenical efforts. A Joint Theological Commission meets regularly to identify areas where progress is needed in order to achieve reconciliation.

Theological issues

Some Eastern Orthodox theologians point to a number of theological issues outstanding. These issues have a long history as can be seen in the 11th Century works of Orthodox theologian and saint Nikitas Stithatos.

In the Roman Catholic Church too, some writers can be found who speak pejoratively of the Eastern Orthodox Church and its theology, but these writers are marginal.[42] The official view of the Catholic Church is that expressed in the Decree Unitatis redintegratio of the Second Vatican Council:

In the study of revelation East and West have followed different methods, and have developed differently their understanding and confession of God's truth. It is hardly surprising, then, if from time to time one tradition has come nearer to a full appreciation of some aspects of a mystery of revelation than the other, or has expressed it to better advantage. In such cases, these various theological expressions are to be considered often as mutually complementary rather than conflicting. Where the authentic theological traditions of the Eastern Church are concerned, we must recognize the admirable way in which they have their roots in Holy Scripture, and how they are nurtured and given expression in the life of the liturgy. They derive their strength too from the living tradition of the apostles and from the works of the Fathers and spiritual writers of the Eastern Churches. Thus they promote the right ordering of Christian life and, indeed, pave the way to a full vision of Christian truth.[43]

The Roman Catholic Church's attitude was expressed by Pope John Paul II in the image of the Church "breathing with her two lungs".[44][45] He meant that there should be a combination of the more rational, juridical, organisation-minded "Latin" temperament with the intuitive, mystical and contemplative spirit found in the east.[46]


Eastern Orthodox charge that the Eastern and Western churches have different approaches to understanding the Trinity. The influence of St Augustine and, by extension, that of Thomas Aquinas in the western Mediterranean on this issue are not generally accepted in the Orthodox Church.[47]

Various Orthodox theologians argue that the Filioque clause is symptomatic of this difference.[48][49][50][51]

The "Filioque", Latin for "and (from) the Son", was added in Western Christianity to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. This insertion emphasizes that Jesus, the Son, is of equal divinity with God, the Father. The doctrine expressed by this phrase, as inserted into the Nicene Creed, is accepted by the Catholic Church,[52] by Anglicanism[53] and by Protestant churches in general.[54] Christians of these groups generally include it when reciting the Nicene Creed. Nonetheless, these groups recognize that Filioque is not part of the original text established at the First Council of Constantinople in 381 and they do not demand that others too should use it when saying the Creed. Indeed, the Roman Catholic Church does not add the phrase corresponding to Filioque (καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ) to the Greek text of the Creed, even in the liturgy for Latin Rite Catholics.[55]

At the 879-880 Council of Constantinople the Eastern Orthodox Church anathematized the "Filioque" phrase, "as a novelty and augmentation of the Creed", and in their 1848 encyclical the Eastern Patriarchs spoke of it as a heresy.[56] It was qualified as such by some of the Eastern Orthodox Church's saints, including Photios I of Constantinople, Mark of Ephesus, Gregory Palamas, who have been called the Three Pillars of Orthodoxy.

The Eastern church believes by the Western church inserting the filioque unilaterally (without consulting or holding council with the East) into the Creed that the Western church broke communion with the East.[57]

Orthodox theologians such as Vladimir Lossky criticize the misguided focus of Western theology of God in 'God in uncreated essence', which he alleges is a modalistic and therefore a speculative expression of God that is indicative of the Sabellian heresy.[58] Orthodox theologian Michael Pomazansky argues that, in order for the Holy Spirit to proceed from the Father and the Son in the Creed, there would have to be two sources in the deity (double procession), whereas in the one God there can only be one source of divinity, which is the Father hypostasis of the Trinity, not God's essence per se.[59] In contrast, Bishop Kallistos Ware suggests that the problem is more one of semantics than of basic doctrinal differences.[60]

Pope John Paul II recited the Nicene Creed several times with patriarchs of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Greek according to the original text.[61] Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have recited the Nicene Creed jointly with Patriarchs Demetrius I and Bartholomew I in Greek without the Filioque clause.[38][39] The action of these patriarchs in reciting the Creed together with the Pope has been strongly criticized by some elements of Eastern Orthodoxy, such as the Metropolitan of Kalavryta, Greece.[62][63][64]

Experience of God (Theoria) vs Scholasticism

Vladimir Lossky, a noted modern Eastern Orthodox theologian, argues the difference in East and West is due to the Roman Catholic Church's use of pagan metaphysical philosophy (and scholasticism) rather than actual experience of God called theoria, to validate the theological dogmas of Roman Catholic Christianity. For this reason, Lossky argues that Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics have become "different men".[65] Other Eastern Orthodox theologians such as John Romanides[66] and Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos have made similar pronouncements.[67] According to the Orthodox teachings, Theoria can be achieved through ascetic practices like hesychasm (see St John Climacus), which was condemned as a heresy by Barlaam of Seminara.

Orthodox theologians charge that, in contrast to Orthodox theology, western theology is based on philosophical discourse which reduces man and nature to cold mechanical concepts.[68][69] Orthodox theologians argue that the mind is the focus of Western theology, whereas in Eastern theology, the mind must be put in the heart, so they are united into what is called nous,[70][71][72] involving the unceasing Prayer of the heart.[73]

In Orthodox theology, mankind as a complete whole is called the soul, the Nous being often referred as the "eye of the heart or soul",[74][75] and mankind's reason being called logos or dianoia,[76] while mankind's spirit and body are energies vivified by the soul.[77] According to Orthodox theology, noetic understanding can be neither circumvented nor satisfied by rational or discursive thought (i.e. systematization),[74] and denying the needs of the human heart (a more Western expression would be the needs of the soul) causes various negative or destructive manifestations such as addiction, atheism and evil thoughts etc.[78][79]

Orthodox theologians assert that the theological division of East and West culminated into a direct theological conflict known as the Hesychasm controversy during several councils at Constantinople New Rome, between the years 1341-1351. They argue that this controversy highlighted the sharp contrast between what is embraced by the Roman Catholic Church as proper (or orthodox) theological dogma and how theology is validated and what is considered valid theology by the Eastern Orthodox. The essence of the disagreement is that in the East one cannot be a genuine true theologian or teach knowledge of God, without having experienced God, as is defined as the vision of God (theoria). At the heart of the issue was the teaching of the Essence-Energies distinctions (which states that while creation can never know God's uncreated essence, it can know His uncreated energies) by Gregory Palamas. It is important to note also that the Roman Catholic Church has explicitly taught that Hesychasm was a new phenomenon that was specific to the 13th century and a heresy which goes against the Roman Catholic theology which builds on the metaphysics of Aristotle and scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas.

Sin, Purgatory and the Immaculate Conception

Another point of theological contention between the western and eastern churches, is the doctrine of purgatory (as it was shown at the Second Council of Lyons and the Council of Ferrara-Florence).[80] It was developed in time in western theology, according to which, those who are in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, undergo a cleansing fire, to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,[81] however eastern theology considers that suffering cannot purify sin, since it has a different view of sin (and considers suffering as a result of a spiritual sickness).[82] Western theology usually considers sin, more like a legalistic or judiciary act, which mainly requires punishment and forgiveness,[83] while eastern theology considers the desire to sin, as the result of a spiritual sickness (caused by Adam and Eve's pride), which needs to be cured.[84] According to orthodox theologians, the western teaching of Augustine of Hippo about Original Sin, that all people inherit the sin of Adam and Eve[85] is incorrect, since they believe that people inherit only the spiritual sickness (in which all suffer and sin) of Adam and Eve, caused by their ancestral sin (their choice for self-love, instead of loving God).[86][87] At the Council of Ferrara-Florence, the Orthodox Bishop Mark of Ephesus argued that there are no purifing fires,[88] this also involves however, according to eastern theologians, differences about the way Heaven and Hell are seen.[89] The eastern Church, believes that hell or eternal damnation and heaven exist and are the same place, which is being with God, and that the very same Divine love (God's uncreated energies) which is a source of bliss and consolation for the righteous (because they love God, His love is Heaven for them), is also a source of torment (or a "Lake of Fire") for sinners (because they don't love God, they will feel His love this way).[90][91][92][93]

Orthodox theologians also consider that the doctrine of Original Sin has led western theology to develop the doctrine about the "Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary" (which was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854).[94] Eastern theologians consider this doctrine to be wrong, since it claims that God Himself protected the Virgin Mary from sin, so that she could give birth to Christ, while they believe that the Virgin Mary was chosen to give birth to Christ, because of her own desire to love God and follow God's will.[95][96][97]

Ecclesiological issues

Many of the issues that currently separate the two churches are ecclesiological. Several of the issues mentioned below have been raised against the Western Church for centuries, as can be seen in The Byzantine Lists: Errors of the Latins, by Tia M. Kolbaba (University of Illinois Press, 2000), which treats of the Latins' prohibition of clerical marriage, the addition to the creed, improper Lenten fasting, fasting on the Sabbath, azymes in the Eucharist, errors involving baptism, marriage within forbidden degrees, failure to revere icons, bishops wearing rings, insufficient reverence for the Virgin Mary, making the sign of the cross incorrectly, various liturgical differences and many similar errors.

Ecclesiological structure

A major sticking point is the style of church government. The Orthodox Church has always maintained the original position of collegiality of the bishops resulting in the structure of the church being closer to a confederacy in structure..[98] The Orthodox have synods where the highest authorities in each Church community are brought together, but unlike Roman Catholicism no central individual or figure has the absolute and infallible last word on church doctrine. In practice, this has sometimes led to divisions among Greek, Russian, Bulgarian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches, as no central authority can serve as a rallying point for various internal disputes. The Second Vatican Council has re-asserted the importance of collegiality to a degree that appears satisfying to most if not all ecclesial parties.

Papal privilege and authority

The Roman Catholic Church's current official teachings about papal privilege and power that are unacceptable to the Eastern Orthodox churches are the dogma of the pope's infallibility when speaking officially "from the chair of Peter (ex cathedra Petri)" on matters of faith and morals to be held by the whole Church, so that such definitions are irreformable "of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church" (ex sese et non ex consensu ecclesiae)[99] and have a binding character for all (Catholic) Christians in the world; the pope's direct episcopal jurisdiction over all (Catholic) Christians in the world; the pope's authority to appoint (and so also to depose) the bishops of all (Catholic) Christian churches except in the territory of a patriarchate;[100] and the affirmation that the legitimacy and authority of all (Catholic) Christian bishops in the world derive from their union with the Roman see and its bishop, the Supreme Pontiff, the unique Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ on earth.

Principal among the ecclesiological issues that separate the two churches is the meaning of papal primacy within any future unified church. The Orthodox insist that it should be a "primacy of honor", as in the ancient church and not a "primacy of authority",[101] whereas the Catholics see the pontiff's role as requiring for its exercise power and authority the exact form of which is open to discussion with other Christians.[102]

The declaration of Ravenna in 2007 re-asserted these beliefs, and re-stated the notion that the bishop of Rome is indeed the protos, although future discussions are to be held on the concrete ecclesiological exercise of papal primacy.

Apostolic succession

Some of the Orthodox Churches unofficially acknowledge Apostolic succession within the Catholic Church and admit the validity of its episcopal ordination. The relationship between the Antiochian Orthodox and the Maronite Catholic bishops is a case in point.


Some Orthodox Churches do not require baptism in the case of a convert already baptized in the Catholic Church. Most Orthodox Churches allow marriages between members of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

The Catholic Church allows its clergy to administer the sacraments of Penance, the Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick to members of the Eastern Orthodox Church, if these spontaneously ask for the sacraments and are properly disposed.[103] It also allows Catholics who cannot approach a Catholic minister to receive these three sacraments from clergy of the Eastern Orthodox Church, whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided.[104] Catholic canon law allows marriage between a Catholic and an Orthodox only if permission is obtained from the Catholic bishop.[105]

The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches authorizes the local Catholic bishop to permit a Catholic priest, of whatever rite, to bless the marriage of Orthodox faithful who being unable without great difficulty to approach a priest of their own Church, ask for this spontaneously.[106] In exceptional circumstances Catholics may, in the absence of an authorized priest, marry before witnesses. If a priest who is not authorized for the celebration of the marriage is available, he should be called in, although the marriage is valid even without his presence.[107] The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches specifies that, in those exceptional circumstances, even a "non-Catholic" priest (and so not necessarily one belonging to an Eastern Church) may be called in.[108]

See also


  1. Sometimes called the Great Schism, a term that is also applied to the Western Schism (Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3, article Great Schism)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Cross, F. L., ed., ed (2005). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280290-9. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Durant, Will. Caesar and Christ. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1972
  4. Acts 28:17-31
  5. John Binns, An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2002, pp 162-164
  6. John Binns, An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2002, p68
  7. The Sixth Book of the Select Letters of Severus, Patriarch of Antioch, vol. II, p. 254
  8. "Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges" (First Ecumenical Council, Canon VI).
  9. "Since custom and ancient tradition have prevailed that the Bishop of Ælia [i.e., Jerusalem] should be honoured, let him, saving its due dignity to the Metropolis, have the next place of honour" (First Ecumenical Council, Canon VII
  10. "The Bishop of Constantinople, however, shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome; because Constantinople is New Rome" (Second Ecumenical Council, Canon III)
  11. "Let the Bishop of Alexandria, according to the canons, alone administer the affairs of Egypt; and let the bishops of the East manage the East alone, the privileges of the Church in Antioch, which are mentioned in the canons of Nice, being preserved; and let the bishops of the Asian Diocese administer the Asian affairs only; and the Pontic bishops only Pontic matters; and the Thracian bishops only Thracian affairs" (Second Ecumenical Council, Canon II)
  13. Aristeides Papadakis The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy, SVS Press, NY, 1994 esp p14
  14. Aristeides Papadakis The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy, SVS Press, NY, 1994 p14)
  15. The seventh canon of the Council of Ephesus declared: "It is unlawful for any man to bring forward, or to write, or to compose a different (ἑτέραν) Faith as a rival to that established by the holy Fathers assembled with the Holy Ghost in Nicæa. But those who shall dare to compose a different faith, or to introduce or offer it to persons desiring to turn to the acknowledgment of the truth, whether from Heathenism or from Judaism, or from any heresy whatsoever, shall be deposed, if they be bishops or clergymen; bishops from the episcopate and clergymen from the clergy; and if they be laymen, they shall be anathematized"
  16. (Extracts from the Acts of the Council of Ephesus). The creed quoted in the Acts of the Council of Ephesus (the Third Ecumenical Council) is that of the first Ecumenical Council, not the creed as modified by the second Ecumenical Council, and so does not have additions such as "who proceeds from the Father" (ibidem).
  17. "Church and State in the Byzantine Empire". Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. 
  18. "Church and State in Western Europe". Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. 
  19. "During the decade following the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632, his followers captured three of the five 'patriarchates' of the early church — Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem — leaving only Rome and Constantinople." (Encyclopaedia Britannica).
  20. Norwich, John J. (1967). The Normans in the South 1016-1130. pp. 102. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Norwich, John J. (1992). Byzantium, The Apogee. pp. 320–321. 
  22. New Catholic Encyclopedia. "" 1053 he [Michael Caerularius] sends off a declaration of war, then shuts up the Latin churches at Constantinople, hurls a string of wild accusations, and shows in every possible way that he wants a schism, apparently for the mere pleasure of not being in communion with the West. He got his wish. After a series of wanton aggressions, unparalleled in church history, after he had begun by striking the pope's name from his diptychs, the Roman legates excommunicated him (16 July 1054). But still there was no idea of a general excommunication of the Byzantine Church, still less of all the East. The legates carefully provided against that in their Bull. They acknowledged that the emperor (Constantine IX, who was excessively annoyed at the whole quarrel), the Senate, and the majority of the inhabitants of the city were "most pious and orthodox." They excommunicated Caerularius, Leo of Achrida, and their adherents. This quarrel, too, need no more have produced a permanent state of schism than the excommunication of any other contumacious bishop. The real tragedy is that gradually all the other Eastern patriarchs took sides with Caerularius, obeyed him by striking the pope's name from their diptychs, and chose of their own accord to share his schism. At first they do not seem to have wanted to do so. John III of Antioch certainly refused to go into schism at Caerularius's bidding. But, eventually, the habit they had acquired of looking to Constantinople for orders proved too strong. The emperor (not Constantine IX, but his successor) was on the side of his patriarch and they had learned too well to consider the emperor as their over-lord in spiritual matters too. Again, it was the usurped authority of Constantinople, the Erastianism of the East that turned a personal quarrel into a great schism."" 
  23. Bishop Kallistos (Ware), p. 67
  24. Gallagher, Clarence (2008). The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies. Oxford University Press. pp. 596. ISBN 0199252467, 9780199252466. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 Christiansen, Erik (1997). The Northern Crusades. London: Penguin Books. pp. 287. ISBN 0-14-026653-4. 
  26. Wetterau, Bruce. World history. New York: Henry Holt and company. 1994.
  27. Dimitry Pospielovsky, The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia, p. 97
  28. Reverend R Thornton. Lives of Eminent Russian Prelates. Kessinger Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-4179-4649-0. Page 3
  29. "He endured to the end and was accounted worthy of the crown of martyrdom: inflexible alike to prayers and threats, he was starved to death in prison, to be a pledge of deliverance to his country". -- A N Mouravieff. A History of the Church of Russia, 1842, reprinted 2004. ISBN 1-4179-1250-2. Page 166.
  30. The Ukrainian Greek Catholics: A Historical Survey
  32. Common Declaration
  33. Report on Catholic-Orthodox Relations
  34. Presentation of the Celebration
  35. Common Declaration
  36. Missale Romanum 2002 (Roman Missal in Latin), p. 513
  37. Ρωμαϊκό Λειτουργικό 2006 (Roman Missal in Greek), vol. 1, p. 347
  38. 38.0 38.1 programme of the celebration
  39. 39.0 39.1 Video recording of joint recitation
  40. The Metropolitan's own blog, reported also by this Religious News Agency and the Russian Orthodox
  41. “I, myself, have often spoken of the ‘two lungs’ – the East and the West – without which Europe could not breathe. There will be no peaceful Europe in the future, nor one whose civilisation will shine forth, without this osmosis and this sharing of values which are different yet complementary. It is on this ‘humus’ that the Europeans are called to build up their common house” (John Paul II 22 December 1989)
  42. An example is Curiosities from the "Orthodox" Arena, by Atila Sinke Guimarães
  43. Unitatis Redintegratio 17
  44. Encyciclical Ut unum sint, 54
  45. Apostolic Constitution Sacri Canones
  46. Obituary of Pope John Paul II
  47. Romanides, John S.. Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and Doctrine — [ Part 2 Empirical Theology versus Speculative Theology -Empirical Theology-]. "A basic characteristic of the Frankish scholastic method, mislead by Augustinian Platonism and Thomistic Aristotelianism, had been its naive confidence in the objective existence of things rationally speculated about. By following Augustine, the Franks substituted the patristic concern for spiritual observation, (which they had found firmly established in Gaul when they first conquered the area) with a fascination for metaphysics. They did not suspect that such speculations had foundations neither in created nor in spiritual reality." 
  48. Pomazansky, Michael. Orthodox Dogmatic Theology. "The ancient Orthodox teaching of the personal attributes of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit was distorted in the Latin Church by the creation of a teaching of the procession, outside of time and from all eternity, of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son — the Filioque. The idea that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son originated in certain expressions of Blessed Augustine. It became established in the West as obligatory in the ninth century, and when Latin missionaries came to the Bulgarians in the middle of the ninth century, the Filioque was in their Symbol of Faith." 
  49. Romanides, John S.. "Part I: Augustine's Teachings Which Were Condemned As Those of Barlaam the Calabrian by the Ninth Ecumenical Council of 1351.". "Augustine unknowingly rejects the doctrine of the ecumenical councils concerning the Old Testament Lord of glory incarnate and his Vatican and Protestant followers do the same" 
  50. Romanides, John S.. "Filioque". "The pretext of the Filioque controversy was the Frankish acceptance of Augustine as the key to understanding the theology of the First and Second Ecumenical Synods." 
  51. Romanides, John S.. "Filioque". "During the ensuing centuries long course of the controversy, the Franks not only forced the Patristic tradition into an Augustinian mold, but they confused Augustine's Trinitarian terminology with that of the Father's of the First and Second Ecumenical Synods. This is nowhere so evident as in the Latin handling of Maximos the Confessor's description, composed in 650, of the West Roman Orthodox Filioque at the Council of Florence (1438-42). The East Romans hesitated to present Maximos' letter to Marinos about this West Roman Orthodox Filioque because the letter did not survive in its complete form." 
  52. Catechism of the Catholic Church. pp. 246–248. 
  53. "Article 5 of the Thirty-Nine Articles". 
  54. Lutheranism (Book of Concord, The Nicene Creed and the Filioque: A Lutheran Approach), Presbyterianism (Union Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, Reformed Presbyterian Church); Methodism (United Methodist Hymnal)
  55. Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity: The Greek and the Latin Traditions regarding the Procession of the Holy Spirit (scanned image of the English translation on L'Osservatore Romano of 20 September 1995); also text with Greek letters transliterated and text omitting two sentences at the start of the paragraph that it presents as beginning with "The Western tradition expresses first …"
  56. Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, 1848 A Reply to the Epistle of Pope Pius IX, "to the Easterns"
  57. Quoting Aleksey Khomyakov on the filioque and economy of the Eastern Churches and Roman Catholicism pg 87 The legal formalism and logical rationalism of the Roman Catholic Church have their roots in the Roman State. These features developed in it more strongly than ever when the Western Church without consent of the Eastern introduced into the Nicean Creed the filioque clause. Such arbitrary change of the creed is an expression of pride and lack of love for one's brethren in the faith. "In order not to be regarded as a schism by the Church, Romanism was forced to ascribe to the bishop of Rome absolute infallibility." In this way Catholicism broke away from the Church as a whole and became an organization based upon external authority.History of Russian Philosophy by Nikolai Lossky ISBN 9780823680740
  58. Lossky, Vladimir (1997). The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. SVS Press. ISBN ISBN 0-913836-31-1. 
  59. Pomazansky, Michael. "On the procession of the Holy Spirit". "Oneness of Essence, and it is absolutely essential to distinguish this from another dogma, the dogma of the begetting and the procession, in which, as the Holy Fathers express it, is shown the Cause of the existence of the Son and the Spirit. All of the Eastern Fathers acknowledge that the Father is monos aitios, the sole Cause” of the Son and the Spirit. Orthodox Dogmatic Theology" 
  60. "The Filioque controversy which has separated us for so many centuries is more than a mere technicality, but it is not insoluble. Qualifying the firm position taken when I wrote The Orthodox Church twenty years ago, I now believe, after further study, that the problem is more in the area of semantics than in any basic doctrinal differences." (Bishop Kallistos Ware, Diakonia, quoted from Elias Zoghby's A Voice from the Byzantine East, p.43)
  61. Agreed Statement of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, 25 October 2003
  62. The Metropolitan's own blog
  63. Ο Πάπας, ο Πατριάρχης και η…ένωση των εκκλησιών
  64. The kiss of Judas
  65. In the Introduction pg 21 "We have become different men" The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, by Vladimir Lossky, SVS Press, 1997. (ISBN 0-913836-31-1) James Clarke & Co Ltd, 1991. (ISBN 0-227-67919-9)
  66. Romanides, John S.. "FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE/EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY". "A basic characteristic of the Frankish scholastic method, misled by Augustinian Platonism and Thomistic Aristotelianism, had been its naive confidence in the objective existence of things rationally speculated about. By following Augustine, the Franks substituted the patristic concern for spiritual observation, (which they had found firmly established in Gaul when they first conquered the area) with a fascination for metaphysics. They did not suspect that such speculations had foundations neither in created nor in spiritual reality. No one would today accept as true what is not empirically observable, or at least verifiable by inference, from an attested effect. So it is with patristic theology. Dialectical speculation about God and the Incarnation as such are rejected. Only those things which can be tested by the experience of the grace of God in the heart are to be accepted. "Be not carried about by divers and strange teachings. For it is good that the heart be confirmed by grace," a passage from Hebrews 13.9, quoted by the Fathers to this effect." 
  67. Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos. "Knowledge of God according to St. Gregory Palamas". ""As I have indicated, Barlaam insisted that knowledge of God depends not on vision of God but on one's understanding. He said that we can acquire knowledge of God through philosophy, and therefore he considered the prophets and apostles who saw the uncreated light, to be below the philosophers. He called the uncreated light sensory, created, and "inferior to our understanding". However, St. Gregory Palamas, a bearer of the Tradition and a man of revelation, supported the opposite view. In his theology he presented the teaching of the Church that uncreated light, that is, the vision of God, is not simply a symbolic vision, nor sensory and created, nor inferior to understanding, but it is deification. Through deification man is deemed worthy of seeing God. And this deification is not an abstract state, but a union of man with God. That is to say, the man who beholds the uncreated light sees it because he is united with God. He sees it with his inner eyes, and also with his bodily eyes, which, however, have been altered by God's action. Consequently theoria is union with God. And this union is knowledge of God. At this time one is granted knowledge of God, which is above human knowledge and above the senses."" 
  68. Pomazansky, Michael. 
  69. "Roman Catholicism rationalizes even the sacrament of the Eucharist: it interprets spiritual action as purely material and debases the sacrament to such an extent that it becomes in its view a kind of atomistic miracle. The Orthodox Church has no metaphysical theory of Transsubstantiation, and there is no need of such a theory. Christ is the Lord of the elements and it is in His power to do so that 'every thing, without in the least changing its physical substance' could become His Body. Christ's Body in the Eucharist is not physical flesh." History of Russian Philosophy by Nikolai Lossky ISBN 9780823680740 p. 87
  70. Rossi, Vincent. "Schism of Mind and Heart". 
  71. "The Relationship between Prayer and Theology" from the official website of the "The American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese"
  72. "The difference is between the cure of a neurobiological sickness residing in a short-circuit between the heart and the brain and no cure." from "THE CURE OF THE NEUROBIOLOGICAL SICKNESS OF RELIGION, THE HELLENIC CIVILIZATION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, CHARLEMAGNE'S LIE OF 794, AND HIS LIE TODAY" by John Romanides
  73. Romanides, John. THE CURE OF THE NEUROBIOLOGICAL SICKNESS OF RELIGION, THE HELLENIC CIVILIZATION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, CHARLEMAGNE'S LIE OF 794, AND HIS LIE TODAY. "the unceasing prayer in the hearts which repairs the short-circuit between the heart and the brain." 
  74. 74.0 74.1 Neptic Monasticism
  75. Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos (January 1, 2005). Orthodox Psychotherapy CHAPTER III. Birth of Theotokos Monastery,Greece. 
  76. What is the Human Nous? by John Romanides
  77. "as the Trinitarian God is Nous, Word and Spirit, so the soul too has nous, word and spirit." (but in humans' case they "are not hypostases") Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos (2005), Orthodox Psychotherapy, Tr. Esther E. Cunningham Williams (Birth of Theotokos Monastery, Greece), ISBN 9789607070272
  78. "JESUS CHRIST - THE LIFE OF THE WORLD", John S. Romanides
  79. "THE ILLNESS AND CURE OF THE SOUL" Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos
  80. Catholicism in the Third Millennium By Thomas P. Rausch, Catherine E. Clifford ISBN 9780814658994
  83. "Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment." CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
  84. "Human nature, according to St Symeon, needs a physician who can heal it from its corruptibility, and this physician is Jesus Christ Himself." An Online Orthodox Catechism
  85. "Adam's sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted" CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
  86. "Augustine claims that all humans have sinned in Adam. The Council, however, interprets Rom. 5:12 as saying that, "By one man sin entered the world, and by sin death, and thus to all men [death] passed, in which all have sinned." In other words all sin because of the spiritual death which each one suffers by not being in communion with the glory of God." from "THE CURE OF THE NEUROBIOLOGICAL SICKNESS OF RELIGION, THE HELLENIC CIVILIZATION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, CHARLEMAGNE'S LIE OF 794, AND HIS LIE TODAY" by John Romanides
  87. Ancestral Versus Original Sin: An Overview with Implications for Psychotherapy by V. Rev. Antony Hughes, M.Div St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  88. Life After Death by Metropolitan Hierotheos
  89. "Paradise and Hell are an energy of the uncreated grace of God, as men experience it, and therefore they are uncreated. According to the holy Fathers of the Church, there is not an uncreated Paradise and a created Hell, as the Franco-Latin tradition teaches". Life After Death by Metropolitan Hierotheos
  90. An Online Orthodox Catechism
  91. "the biblical concept of heaven and hell also becomes distorted, since the eternal fires of hell and the outer darkness become creatures also whereas, they are the uncreated glory of God as seen by those who refuse to love." Filioque by John Romanides
  92. Life After Death by Metropolitan Hierotheos
  93. "Hell is not so much a place where God imprisons man, as a place where man, by misusing his free will, chooses to imprison himself. And even in Hell the wicked are not deprived of the love of God, but by their own choice they experience as suffering what the saints experience as joy. ‘The love of God will be an intolerable torment for those who have not acquired it within themselves" (V. Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 234 ISBN 9780913836316).
  94. "The Orthodox Way" by Kallistos Ware ISBN 9780913836583
  95. "from the first instant of her conception, the Blessed Virgin Mary was, by a most singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the human race, preserved from all stain of Original Sin. It is a doctrine revealed by God, and therefore to be firmly and steadfastly believed by all the faithful (from the Bull Ineffabilis Deus)." WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ORTHODOXY AND ROMAN CATHOLICISM? By Father Michael Azkoul
  96. "However, we do believe that the Virgin Mary is an image, as St. Maximos the Confessor says, of the Christian goal of becoming Christ-like, of theosis. Just as the Theotokos gave birth to Christ in a bodily way, so we must, St. Maximos tells us, give birth to Christ in an unbodily or spiritual way. In so doing, we imitate her practical spiritual life, including the purity and humility by which she formed her free will into perfect obedience to the Will of God.", "we cannot lose sight of the importance of free will in the development and expression of her rich personality." An Orthodox View of the Virgin Mary
  97. "The Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895"
  98. Quoting Aleksey Khomyakov pg 87 The legal formalism and logical rationalism of the Roman Catholic Church have their roots in the Roman State. These features developed in it more strongly than ever when the Western Church without consent of the Eastern introduced into the Nicean Creed the filioque clause. Such arbitrary change of the creed is an expression of pride and lack of love for one's brethren in the faith. "In order not to be regarded as a schism by the Church, Romanism was forced to ascribe to the bishop of Rome absolute infallibility." In this way Catholicism broke away from the Church as a whole and became an organization based upon external authority. Its unity is similar to the unity of the state: it is not super-rational but rationalistic and legally formal. Rationalism has led to the doctrine of the works of superarogation, established a balance of duties and merits between God and man, weighing in the scales sins and prayers, trespasses and deeds of expiation; it adopted the idea of transferring one person's debts or credits to another and legalized the exchange of assumed merits; in short, it introduced into the sanctuary of faith the mechanism of a banking house. History of Russian Philosophy by Nikolai Lossky ISBN 978-0823680740 p. 87
  99. "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, chapter 4". 
  100. "Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 181". 
  101. as can be seen in the words of Archbishop Nicetas of Nicomedia of the Twelfth Century: “My dearest brother, we do not deny to the Roman Church the primacy among the five sister patriachates and we recognize her right to the most honorable seat at the Ecumenical Council. But she has separated herself from us by her own deeds when through pride she assumed a monarchy which does not belong to her office… How shall we accept decrees from her that have been issued without consulting us and even without our knowledge? If the Roman pontiff seated on the lofty throne of his glory wished to thunder at us and, so to speak, hurl his mandates at us from on high and if he wishes to judge us and even to rule us and our churches, not by taking counsel with us but at his own arbitrary pleasure what kind of brotherhood, or even what kind of parenthood can this be? We should be the slaves not the sons, of such a church and the Roman see would not be the pious mother of sons but a hard and imperious mistress of slaves.”The Orthodox Church London by Ware, Kallistos St. Vladimir's Seminary Press 1995 ISBN 978-0913836583
  102. In 1995 Pope John Paul II wrote: "With the power and the authority without which such an office would be illusory, the Bishop of Rome must ensure the communion of all the Churches." He invited "Church leaders and their theologians to examine with me in a patient and fraternal dialogue on this subject, a dialogue in which, leaving useless controversies behind, we could listen to one another, keeping before us only the will of Christ for his Church and allowing ourselves to be deeply moved by his plea 'that they may all be one ... so that the world may believe that you have sent me' (Encyclical Ut unum sint section 96). The Ravenna document of 13 October 2007 is one response to this invitation.
  103. Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, 125; cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 844 §3 and Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 671 §3
  104. Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, 123; cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 844 §2 and Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 671 §2
  105. Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 813 and Code of Canon Law, canon 1124
  106. Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 833
  107. Code of Canon Law, canon 1116 and Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 832
  108. Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 832


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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at East–West Schism. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.