When Rome and Constantinople split, in what way did the other Eastern churches follow?

So like Alexandria, Antioch, etc… Were they influenced by Constantinople? Did it take a while for other eastern churches to develop into their side of the schism?

On a superficial level, it looks like Rome broke away since there were 4 other major patriarchates. But I think I have read this to be incorrect, even on an objective level, because some of these sees were directed by Constantinople.

My best argument against “primacy of honour” argument is the way the Melkites were treated by the Church of Constantinople. They elected an Arab Patriarch that was pro-Catholic, Constantinople declared it invalid. How can that be a “bishop amongst equals”? :eek:
To answer the question, it depends on what you mean. The Maronite Syriac Church has never been out of communion with Rome, but the liturgy is very much Syriac.

Alexandria and Antioch actually split off from Constantinople about six centuries before the Rome-Constantinople split in 1054 (note that it is not clear that there actually was a full split in 1054 - see usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/ecumenical/orthodox/filioque-church-dividing-issue-english.cfm).

Alexandria split off following the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451 because Alexandria rejected the doctrine of the dual natures of Christ, teaching instead that Christ had one nature (monophysitism - the heresy of Eutyches, who claimed that the Logos occupied the highest part of Christ’s soul, so Christ was missing part of his humanity), or as they claim today, a “compound nature” of God and man (miaphysitism - how this differs from Chalcedon I really don’t understand, it may be a language issue). Alexandria appointed their own Patriarch Timothy II in AD 457, while the Byzantine Empire from Constantinople tried to force their own Patriarch, Proterius.


Antioch has a more complicated history, because its region, Syria, was divided not only between Chalcedonians and monophysites, but also with Nestorians, who claimed that Jesus was two persons rather than one person (they would probably dispute that, again there are a lot of language issues in a world where one see was speaking Latin, another Greek, and another Syriac). And there were also orthodox believers in Syria, the Maronites, who always remained loyal to Rome. Meanwhile, the Byzantine Empire from Constantinople tried to force its own Patriarch on Antioch, so in the decades and centuries following the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, there was actually a 4 way split in Antioch:





I haven’t been able to find as much information on Jerusalem, most likely because it was a much smaller church compared to the other 4 (Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Constaninople) and didn’t have much influence outside its own limits, but it also appears to have split in a manner similar to Antioch, since it was roughly in the same region as Antioch


These divisions within the eastern church go back further than Chalcedon and Ephesus. When the church was still trying to overcome Arianism, Saint Jerome noted:

Since the East, shattered as it is by the long-standing feuds, subsisting between its peoples, is bit by bit tearing into shreds the seamless vest of the Lord, woven from the top throughout, since the foxes are destroying the vineyard of Christ, and since among the broken cisterns that hold no water it is hard to discover the sealed fountain and the garden inclosed …


Saint Jerome contrasted the rampant schism and heresy in the east with the unblemished orthodoxy and unity of the Church of Rome:

I think it my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church whose faith has been praised by Paul. I appeal for spiritual food to the church whence I have received the garb of Christ. The wide space of sea and land that lies between us cannot deter me from searching for the pearl of great price. Wheresoever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Evil children have squandered their patrimony; you alone keep your heritage intact. The fruitful soil of Rome, when it receives the pure seed of the Lord, bears fruit an hundredfold; but here the seed grain is choked in the furrows and nothing grows but darnel or oats. In the West the Sun of righteousness is even now rising; in the East, Lucifer, who fell from heaven, has once more set his throne above the stars. Isaiah You are the light of the world, you are the salt of the earth, you are vessels of gold and of silver. Here are vessels of wood or of earth, which wait for the rod of iron, Revelation and eternal fire.

  1. Yet, though your greatness terrifies me, your kindness attracts me. From the priest I demand the safe-keeping of the victim, from the shepherd the protection due to the sheep. Away with all that is overweening; let the state of Roman majesty withdraw. My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails. But since by reason of my sins I have betaken myself to this desert which lies between Syria and the uncivilized waste, I cannot, owing to the great distance between us, always ask of your sanctity the holy thing of the Lord. Consequently I here follow the Egyptian confessors who share your faith, and anchor my frail craft under the shadow of their great argosies. I know nothing of Vitalis; I reject Meletius; I have nothing to do with Paulinus. He that gathers not with you scatters; he that is not of Christ is of Antichrist.


Put another way: my friend is becoming more and more interested in Eastern Orthodoxy, which I am glad, since she is starting to study more historic Christianity compared to her upbringing. However, I feel like she is being enthralled by the spirituality and culture more than doctrinal issues, though she is looking at doctrine as well.

My main concern is that she will look to Orthodoxy as the authentic faith while assuming the Catholic Church is just a Western offshoot of the original Eastern Christian movement.

Again, I am glad she is at least looking for answers from the local Orthodox community: but I want her to know that Catholicism is just as valid—even if the local Catholic churches in town don’t emphasize certain eastern spiritual or liturgical customs.

How can I express that Catholicism is not just a Western offshoot? She will likely think of Alexandria, Antioch, etc as ancient Christian churches that took Constantinople’s side. Etx

Eastern Orthodoxy is an invention of the Byzantine Emperors and the church in Constantinople. It is not the tradition of any of the original churches that were acknowledged as the Sees of Saint Peter and the highest churches in the Church by the Council Nicea in AD 325 - Rome, Alexandria and Antioch.


Within a few decades of the transfer of the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople, the church in Constantinople was always trying to usurp the power of the other churches.



This got so bad that all out schism broke out between Rome and Constantinople in the 5th Century (the Acacian Schism - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacian_schism), but Constantinople eventually submitted to Rome, because everyone knew that Rome was the head of all churches. This was formalized with the Formula of Hormisdas (byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/122063/The%20Formula%20of%20Pope%20St%20Hormisd) in which all the bishops under Constantinople’s patriarchate declared:

For it is impossible that the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,” [Matthew 16:18], should not be verified. And their truth has been proved by the course of history, for in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been kept unsullied.


Following, as we have said before, the Apostolic See in all things and proclaiming all its decisions, we endorse and approve all the letters which Pope St Leo wrote concerning the Christian religion. And so I hope I may deserve to be associated with you in the one communion which the Apostolic See proclaims, in which the whole, true, and perfect security of the Christian religion resides. I promise that from now on those who are separated from the communion of the Catholic Church, that is, who are not in agreement with the Apostolic See, will not have their names read during the sacred mysteries. But if I attempt even the least deviation from my profession, I admit that, according to my own declaration, I am an accomplice to those whom I have condemned. I have signed this, my profession, with my own hand, and I have directed it to you, Hormisdas, the holy and venerable pope of Rome.

Also, look at the history of all the early heresies in the church. Every other see - Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem - fell for at least one (Constantinople fell for nearly all of them), but Rome always got it right:


Clearly the promise of John 16:13, “He will lead you into all truth”, rests in a unique way on the Church of Rome.

I think Plunia covers the issues pretty well. In short, here are the things to note:

*]There never were 5 Patriarchs. That’s a historical fiction. See THIS LINK for proof from the Ecumenical Councils themselves. Rome was never a Patriarch, because the Bishop of Rome was above Patriarch status.
*]The Ecumenical Councils clearly testify that the Pope was the highest authority in the Church, even Nicea itself shows this (see THIS LINK).
*]The Great Schism was really in 451, following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, when Alexandria and Antioch separated from Rome because they disagreed with the Council. It was only at the end of Chalcedon when Constantinople tried to gain Patriarch status, because before then it wasn’t even a Patriarchate, as Canon 28 plainly shows.
*]When Alexandria and Antioch separated, Constantinople remained in communion with Rome. The problem now was what about all those Christians in Alexandria and Antioch who wanted to remain in communion with Rome even though their local Patriarchs were in schism? The “solution” was to have Constantinople send Greek speaking Bishops to Alexandria (Coptic speaking Bishops) and Antioch (Syriac speaking Bishops) to ‘rule over’ those Christians who wanted to remain in communion. The result is that there were now TWO “Patriarchs” in Alexandrian and TWO in Antioch, one who was in communion and the other who was not. These Greek Bishops were not the original Patriarchs nor were they considered Patriarchs in the full sense, because now they were subordinate to Constantinople.
*]The result of Alexandria and Antoich leaving was from then on it was really Rome & Constantinople consisting of the Catholic Church. Then as time went on, the Byzantine Roman Emperor began to use politics to drive a wedge between Rome and Constantinople (and as a result many others in the East), until these tensions led to schism.

Introduce her to Eastern Catholicism.

Interesting comments on this thread. We think of the Great Schism as occurring in 1054 but the divide was actually a thousand year process. It did not become permanent until the Muslims conquered Constantinople in 1453.

The Church began in Judea and spread west. St. Peter went to Rome, the leading city of the world at that time. “All roads lead to Rome.” The Western Roman empire and the city of Rome declined as the barbarians attacked from the northwest. The Muslims attacked out of Arabia in the 7th century. The Eastern Roman Empire lasted to the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Russia was the only Eastern Christian country to remain free of Islamic rule, but, of course, fell under Communist rule in 1917. Western, Latin Christianity spread around the world but Eastern Orthodoxy could not. Therefore, today, Western Christianity, Catholic and Protestant, very greatly outnumbers the Eastern Orthodox.

I don’t believe you provide the appropriate links above. It goes to a page talking about an Old Testament prophecy for the church. But please give the links, id like to see them.

Thomas f Madden is a good source of information about Church history.


Here’s the Pentarchy (Five Patriarchs) :

Here’s the Council of Nicaea on the Papacy:

You are really scraping the bottom of the Catholic apologetics barrel.

Feel free to make a substantive criticism so that we can better understand the issues.

Bro, either address the points or don’t mock.

The Council of Nicaea is plain: There was only Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch at the start of the Council, meaning that there couldn’t even be a Pentarchy even if you wanted to argue all Bishops are equal. Only in Canon 7 was Jerusalem elevated, and only for reasons of honor, with the explicit affirmation that it was not to take on Metropolitan status. No mention of Constantinople…because it didn’t even exist yet.

And Contantinople was not even a Patriarch until 451 at the end of Chalcedon, when it made itself such in the controversial Canon 28, which was never approved by Rome, Alexandria, or Antioch (and maybe even Jerusalem).

Post charitably.

Historically speaking then, here’s a little test you can have her take

Ask her to find the

*]first time,
*]in writing,
*]properly referenced,
where the name “Orthodox Church” appears in history. If there is no reference properly referenced then no answer was given.

For Catholics it is an easy answer #34

I’m still not sure what this is supposed to prove?

It’s akin to asking for evidence one was there at a certain point in history

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