What caused the Great Schism?

I am curious about the history of the Church.

What caused the Great Schism? Who’s fault was it (if anyone’s)?

A number of factors, the East and West had been growing apart for many hundreds of years starting with Latin vs Greek in language and liturgy, then the external factors of the fall of the Roman empire when Rome was taken over by invading barbarians and the capital of the Roman empire had moved to Constantinople, making the Patriarch there seemingly more politically influential. And then after the Muslims conquered and subjugated the East the two sides were living very differently, Rome in feudal lifestyle and Constantinople under Muslim rule. Then the Roman Church adopted the filioque which was rejected by the Eastern Church, even though it came from Augustine who is a saint even in the Eastern Church, and that finally split the Church. Somewhere in there or after the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople, I believe, excommunicated each other.

The patriarch of Constantinople outlawed the Latin Mass in the city in favor of his own liturgy. Cardinal Humbert was sent as an emissary to negotiate, and both men had a reputation for being flamboyant. After a series of highly unsuccessful and uncharitable talks, the cardinal issued an excommunication on the patriarch (which he didn’t have the authority to give in the first place) and the patriarch issued the excommunication in turn. Meanwhile, during the squabbling, the Pope was at war with Norman invaders and had been captured, and subsequently died in captivity. The damage was never undone. Technically speaking, during the events, there actually never was a grand, blanket excommunication on the entire Latin Church or on all of the Eastern Churches, but just on certain individuals.

There has been East/West tension for centuries beforehand. The Roman Empire was governed by two emperors; one in the west and one in the east. Arianism was more rampant in the east during its heyday. Islam came in the 7th century and besieged many eastern Christians compared to the relatively more secure Rome (though with the number of Popes killed in post-Roman Europe, it wasn’t exactly a safe place). Byzantium had a waning sense of connection with their western brethren as they fought to secure their border and this eventually snapped during the above mentioned unfortunate events.

The major factor for the divide between east and west is about ethnicity and pride rather than doctrine. It was a matter of insubordination, not heresy.

Woah, talk about a series of greatly unfortunate events! Is there any chance of uniting again after separated for so long?

Any chance that Christendom might be reunited was ruined by the Protestant Reformation.


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