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East-West Schism

Greek: Σχισμα του 1054
What: The division of Chalcedonian Christianity into the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
Year: 1054
Pope of Rome in 1054: Leo IX
Patriarch of Constantinople in 1054: Michael Cerularius

Pope Benedict XVI and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I standing on the balcony of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul in 2006.

Pope Benedict XVI and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
standing on the balcony of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
in Istanbul in 2006.

The East-West Schism (sometimes referred to as the Great Schism) of 1054 involved Christianity dividing into Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) branches that would later form the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. The two sides had always had their differences in the past centuries before the schism. Among them were the issue of the filioque, whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the eucharist, the Pope’s claim to universal jurisdiction, Constantinople’s geographical position in relation to the Pentarchy, the date of Easter and the differences in language between Greek and Latin.

In 1054, Pope Leo IX and the Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius officially split the two divisions of East and West. The Roman legates traveled to Constantinople to deny Cerularius the title of Ecumenical Patriarchand to recognize the church of Rome’s to be the head and mother of the churches. Cerularius refused and thus begun the divide between the two churches. They both excommunicated each other and split the church along doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political, and geographical lines and has never recovered since.

Each church accused the other for the division. The Crusades, the Massacre of the Latins in 1182, the capture and sack of Constantinople in 1204, the imposition of Latin Patriarchs, the taking of many previous religious artifacts and the destruction of the Library of Constantinople made reconciliation more difficult. However, it is important to note that the two sides have made goodwill gestures to each other in recent years. Every year a delegate from each church joins the other in celebration of its patronal feast, and there have been a number of visits by the head of each church to the other.

The Ancient Church:

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