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The Great Schism between Rome and Constantinople Essay

The schism between the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Christians was mainly caused by heresy, in which the Orthodox Patriarchs deposed Pope Nicholas in 867 CE, the difference in language also caused controversy over the unity of one church so the Orthodox requested that there be two patriarchs, also when the Roman Church separated itself by the pretensions and became a monarchy without any further consultations from the Greeks. Also, the issues that surfaced after the date of the original schism were more important in maintaining the split between the two churches.

Document 5 is based on how the Patriarch Photius of Constantinople wrote a letter with charges against the Pope in 867 CE which doubted his knowledge over the Church and the Gospel. The document states, “Patriarch Photius of Constantinople, a letter to the Orthodox Patriarchs with charges against the Pope”, most of the document was written in a hostile manner. In addition, document 7 states that without any proof or arguments drawn from a Holy Scripture they simply accept union with Rome, which does not mean they are supporters of another nation instead of their own, it merely means they are prounionists.

In other words they were being misjudged over the fact that they did not have proof, similar to how they accused Pope Nicholas. Document 7 was in a tone that made the Byzantine diplomat from the Council of Lyons who wrote seem upset. Accordingly, document 8 article 6 states that according to Latin heresy if anyone fails to obey rules they will be punished. Furthermore, the Great Church appointed teachers to bring back Christians from the Latin heresy. And this document’s point of view is of an Orthodox Slavic kingdom in East Central Europe.

Issues after the date of the original schism were more important in maintaining the split between the two churches, for instance, on document 6 the language difference is what upset the Greek citizens of Constantinople,┬áso they wrote a request to Pope Innocent III on 1215 declaring that the loosened unity of the church was caused by the fact that there was only one patriarch which spoke another language. The Greeks felt minimized compared to the Latins because they thought it wasn’t proper to confess through an interpreter to a patriarch of another language, this document is based on a Greek citizen of Constantinople’s point of view. Also, document 9 was after the original schism, 1076 CE, and supports how the split was more important after 1054 by mentioning the King saying after trusting and subjecting himself to God he became what he was and was able to conquer while God protected him from any malice.

This document was written from the King of Sicily’s point of view which he wrote in a encouraging tone. The geographical location of the churches also contributed to the schism, for example, the Latin Catholics were located in Western and Northern Europe, with some parts of Central and Southern Europe too. On the other hand, the Eastern Orthodox was mostly in Eastern Europe, most of Southern Europe and parts of Central Europe. In the same fashion, their religious and political authority differences influenced the cause of separation being more important, as document 4 states.

From a Greek Orthodox Archbishop’s point of view it is easy to understand how they became upset. The debate held in Constantinople on 1136 CE was mainly about how the Roman Church separated itself from the rest of the church becoming a monarchy, without consulting the Greeks first. Also, document 2 says that the Greeks felt that if the Pope seated upon his sublime throne of glory wishes to hurl orders at them, and if he wishes to judge them and even to rule them and their churches at his own arbitrary pleasure, what kind of brotherhood would that be? This was from a Greek Orthodox Bishop’s point of view.

Document 2 is similar to the idea presented in document 3 which proposes that the Catholic Church wants to control Constantinople, and suggested that as long as they refused to obey, they would fall under the same excommunication as did the heads of the Church in Constantinople. This was from Pope John VIII’s point of view. On the other hand, the Catholic Church’s bishops preached to the army that Greeks were traitors and murderers, and by the authority of God and in the name of the pope, they would forgive the sins of all who attacked the Greeks. This was stated in┬ádocument 1, which merely meant that even after the original schism, the split between the Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians was manifested even further.

In conclusion , the schism was caused by all these reasons, some which occurred before the Great Schism and the others that happened after were the ones that generally manifested the split of the two churches. Some letters from the Catholic Church responding to the Greeks would have made this essay a little bit better, and would have prepared my comprehension of this even more.


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