Schism of the 1054 [카톨릭은 왜 정교회에서 분열 하였는가]

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Schism of the 1054 [카톨릭은 왜 정교회에서 분열 하였는가]

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Schism of the 1054


When Saint Peter and Saint Paul first preach the word in the city, Rome became the center of the Christian church. This seems to be ideal, as the Roman Empire embraced many different national groups, languages and dialects that eventually had developed into a board Greco- Roman civilization. However, the claims of the Roman Church, based on the Lord’s words to Peter in Mt. 16: 18 (...” you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.”), created the Vicar of St. Peter.

This in turn led to the Roman Church’s belief in its exclusive inheritance of the divine commission and the divine promise. The Vicar of Saint Peter led the whole Western Church onto a heretical and ritual formalism from the genuine Christian faith. Also, in the centuries that followed, the unity of the Mediterranean world behind Rome began to disappear. The end result of these two issues was the schism between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.

In 1054, Pope Leo sent three legates, led by Humbert, to Constantinople to control Christianity there. The Patriarch of Constantinople had different ideas, however, and was reluctant to accept the Pope’s mandates and legates. Ultimately, the Patriarch refuses to submit to Humbert, who eventually lost patience and laid a Bull of Excommunication against the Patriarch, subsequently returning to Italy.

On a summer afternoon in the year 1054, Cardinal Humbert shook the dust off his feet and said, “Let God look and judge.” This was the official beginning of the great schism between the Orthodox east and the Roman west, between Byzantium and Rome, between more than anything else, Patriarch and Pope. The Byzantines and Romans blamed each other for the separation, the Byzantines calling the Romans too controlling and the Romans calling the Byzantines too proud and separatist. The causes of this schism, which begun in the third century, become not only a religious basis, but political roots as well.

I. Political Reason

In 286, the Emperor Diocletian (284- 305) divided the Roman Empire into the East Empire, with its capital in Nicodimia, and the West Empire, with its capital in Rome. His understanding was that there had always been an oriental world and an occidental one, and that the bases for these two civilizations were very different.

Eventually, this eased the transition caused when Constantine changed the capital from Rome to Constantinople. Constantine saw Christianity as both a way to God and a way to unite the Empire. As a symbol of this new era of unity, he made himself master of the Rome world.
By 324, Emperor Constantine had made a second imperial capital in the East, Constantinople, which stood alongside old Rome in Italy as a new center of the Roman world. Along with bringing about a union between the Roman Empire and the Christian Church, Constantine also endeavored to develop a uniform tradition, particularly by forcing change in the Eastern Church.

“Constantine found Christianity divided and torn over differences in traditions of doctrine and practice. Then the Emperor believed that it was just as important to achieve and maintain a uniform tradition as it was to decide what the correct tradition was.” (Lion, p. 238- 239)This effort at it uniformity eventually led to the opposite, as I helped to ostracize the Eastern Church.

More than a century later, Pope Leo the Great (440- 461) had not only to defend the city of Rome from barbarian invasions, but also to negotiate with the Vandal king. Leo’s attributes of public leadership and authority helped him to succeed beyond expectation in both endeavors. With his prominent administrative and leadership skills, Leo the Great become the “Father of the Papacy,” starting long rice in the power of the Pope, Gregory, was faced with a barbarian invasion with no apparent help forthcoming from Constantinople. Gregory took command of imperial as well as Church forces to defend his country, and he did so without the Emperor’s authorization. “Gregory’s period as pope, by its extension of the pope’s authority, marks the transition from the ancient world of Imperial Rome to the medieval Christendom united by the Roman Catholic Church.” (Lion:195). These extensions of Papal authority eventually emboldened the Western Church to the point where it was willing to directly challenge the Eastern Patriarch in 1054.

Another factor in the eventual schism between the two churches stemmed from the church’s response to the rapid spread of Islam in the sixth and seventh centuries. The Eastern Emperor, Alexius Comnenus, appealed to the Pope for assistance. If Pope Urban could evict the Muslims from the Holy Land, while at the same time demonstrating that the Eastern Church still needed the Pope, he would, in one fell sweep, have won a great victory over two adversaries. He began to recruit Crusaders from all over the western world. “Unfortunately, Urban’s pious hopes and the truly noble ideals that at least some of the crusaders brought to their task led to mostly ironic and tragic results.” (Noll, p. 139) The Pope’s forces, though they did no more and no less than their Eastern brethren, displeased the Emperor, and the Emperor in turn was not a favorite among the allies of the Pope. Although the Pope continued to send Crusaders, they met with no lasting success, and even eventually served to further widen the forming schism.

On Christmas Day in 800, the Pope crowned Charlemagne, king of the Franks, “Holy Roman Emperor.” Thus, a separate Roman Empire in the West was created. This may be the largest political reason for the schism between East and West:

It seems very likely that the papal coronation of Charlemagne as emperor was intended to show that the pope could delegate Imperial authority in the West to whom he would, in accordance with the terms of Constantine’s Gift. But it is certain that Charlemagne did not acquiesce in this view of this position. (Southern, p. 99)

Noll sees this as one of the great turning points in Christian history. Indeed, it seems as if this act, the crowning of another emperor, could have caused the schism by itself. “If the events of Christmas Day in the year 800 had not happened, much the same results would probably have marked the development of Christianity in the Middle Ages [as in ages past]. At the same time, however, the event was a dramatic symbol of relationships undergoing permanent change.”(Noll, p. 109) Southern agrees, saying that this act was “the greatest mistake the medieval popes ever made in their efforts.” (Southern, p. 97)

Another factor in the schism was that, by the year 450, there were very few in the Western Empire who could read and speak Greek. It was also rare for a Byzantine to speak Latin, the language of the West. They began to speak exclusively in their respective languages, keeping cultural overlap to a minimum, and drastically reducing communication among nations. The days when educated men were bilingual were over. Only interpretation by translation required bilingualism. People no longer drew upon the same sources, nor did they read the same books. As the bridges of understanding begun to burn, so the Greek East and Latin West drifted farther and farther apart.

II Ecclesiastical Difference

Before the culmination of the schism, there were certain ecclesiastical differences that contributed to the separation of the two churches. In the East, there was a strong sense of equality of all bishops. The East acknowledged the Pope as the first bishop in the church, but rather than viewed him as the spiritual head of the monarchy of the church; they viewed him as a first among equals. The East also had a strong secular head, the Emperor, while the West relied largely on the Pope. The Pope was set up as the absolute monarch in the church not only over his ecclesiastical subordinates but over secular rulers as well. The eastern Archbishop of Nicomedia wrote this of the differing opinions:

We do not deny to the Roman Church the primacy amongst the five sister Patriarchates… 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 issues without consulting us and even without our knowledge? If the Roman Pontiff, seated on the lofty throne of his glory, wishes to thunder at us… 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.

One of the major factors in the schism stemmed from the Latin word filioque, which means, “and from the Son.” In 589, the third Council of Toledo inserted filioque after the affirmation of faith. It would now read, “The Holly Spirit… who proceeds from the Father and from the Son.” Te Western Church gradually accepted this conception. The Orthodox, however, “complained that the West was violating the spirit and cannon of the council” (Noll, p. 136). These conflicting doctrines, double procession (where the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son), and single procession (the Holy Spirit comes only from the Father) become a major factor in the split between the two churches.

Another factor was that of the education of laymen. In Byzantium, there were many educated laymen who took an active interest in theology; the “lay theologian” had always been an accepted figure in the Eastern Church. But in the West, the only effective educated men proved to be the clergy. Theology become the preserve of priests, and most of the laity become less able to comprehend theological discussion. In the West, sharp division between the clergy and the laity took place, while in the East, the church established a special teaching office for the laity. Another difference was that the Eastern Church allowed for the marriage of its clergy, while the Western church believed in clerical celibasy.

The lack of a common language between Eastern and Western Christendom created communicational problems, and theological misunderstanding arose. In the early church there had been a unity of faith, but a diversity of teological schools. Now the churches began to develop differences in there concepts of faith itself. In the East, Greeks understood theology in the context of worship and in the light of the Holy Liturgy, while in the West, developed the concepts of Roman Catholic law.
There are three outstanding examples of this. The first is that, in the context of the Trinity, Latins started with the unity of the Godhead, while the Greeks begun with the threeness of the persons. While reflecting on the crucifixion, Greeks begun with Christ as a victor, while Latins thought of Him as a victim. Third, The Latins spoke more of redemption, while the Greeks thought of deification.

There were many other theological differences including, but not limited to the Romans reconciled penitents within the apse of the church, the Greeks did not. The Greeks excomunicated those who failed to take communion for three Sundays in a row, while the Romans did not. The Roman monks were allowed to take and own slaves, while slavery was noneexistent among the Greek monks. The Greeks were willing to accept widows as nuns, while the Romans did not.

At the ill- fated Nicean Ecumenical Council in 787, a major problem arose.
The East viewed itself as the center of learning and civilization, and the Western theologians had a hard time contributing on the subject of Christian worship.

Charlemagne and his councilors described the Council as “stupid and arrogant, and its decrees as erroneous, criminal, schismatical and lacking in all sense or eloquence.” (Southern, p. 62). As a result of this Nicean Council, the westerners began looking to the eastern church as the source of all the evils of the Council, and began to strengthen their own theology. The easterners began to view the westerners as ignorant, much like their emperor, Charlemagne. They felt that it was the Greek emperor’s place to teach them doctrinal discernment. Pope Nicholas felt otherwise. He wanted to extend the Western Church’s power and the power of the Papacy more specifically. In 865, Nicholas began to claim ultimate authority “over all the earth”, that is, over every church, both East and West. More specifically, Nicholas became the ultimate authority over all of the bishops af the West and, he felt of the East.
The Byzantines felt otherwse. This conflict had been brewing for some time. The East had no objections if the Pope wanted to claim absolute power- in the West. However, if the tried to interfere in the East, conflict was bound to arise.

The end result to the actions undertaken by the Western Church in 1054 was the conquest of Constantinople by western Crusaders in 1204. Under the influence of the Venetian merchants, the Fourth Crusade came to Constantinople not to battle to Islam, but to seek the conquest of their eastern brethren, supposedly in the name of the Roman Church.

For nine centuries the great city had been the capital of Christian civilization. It was filled with works of art that had survived from ancient Greece and with the masterpieces of its own exquisite craftsmen… but the French and Flemings were filled with a lust for destruction. They rushed in a howling mob down the streets and through the houses, snatching up everything that glittered and destroying whatever they could not carry, pausing only to murder or to rape, or to break open the wine cellars. Wounded women and children lay dying in the streets. For three days the ghastly scenes of pillage and bloodshed continued, till the huge and beautiful city was a shambles. (Noll, p. 141)

Thus, the result of centuries of bickering and infighting between the Eastern and Western Churches was the sack of Constantinople by people who were once considered brothers.


The great Schism was the result of centuries of build-up. There were doctrinal issues as well as political ones, and some issues stemmed from the separation of the eastern and western cultures. The pride of men would not allow for negotiation. One side was right and one wrong. Each side has grown separately, nurturing their own views and opinions, their own beliefs and systems of faith. Constantinople never truly recovered from the Crusader’s sack, and the symptoms and suspicions of the schism helped to bring about the separation of the Eastern and Western Empires.
Eventually, this separation helped to bring down the once- mighty Roman Empire.

May 7- 10, 1999. After the great Schism, begun in 1054, and the subsequent sack of Constantinople in 1204, Pope John Paul II makes the first visit by a pope to Romania, or any nation whose official church is Orthodox, in almost a millenium. The Romanian Orthodox Christians are full of hope, not becouse of any potential unity of the church, but becouse Romania is poised to join either NATO or the EU. Neue Zurcher Zeitung writes that, on his way to the orthodox land of Romania, the Pope’s plane flew over the island of Korfu, the cities of Olimp and Sofia. Why did Pope John Paul II choose Romania? It is because the Romanian Orthodox Church is like a bridge to the crossroads of the other Eastern Churches. Also Romania has the strongest wish to open itself to the West. Talks are ongoing between the Romania Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and other orthodox churches to try to repair what they can of the separation caused by the schism. And yet it seems as if the common people of Romania do not seem to really care about repairing the schism. They know only that the Roman Catholic Church has been an adversary for the last millenium.

A Lion Handbook. The History of Christianity. Australia: Lion Publishing, 1977.

Noll, Mark A Turning Points. New York: Baker Books, 1977.
Southern, R.W. Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages. London: Pengiun Books, 1990.

Dr. Ioan Ramureanu, Historia Bisericeasca Universala, 1992 Bucuresti, Romanian Orthodox Church


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