1054 AD and the "Great Schism" divides the Christian religion - East and West
the day the Western Latin Christians and the Eastern Greek Christians excommunicated each other.
ways, and the end of Christian unity.
Satan's approach to undoing Yeshua's growing congregation was to use incremental steps of division, sowing discord, breach, and disunion within the church, which included several important schisms over doctrine and practice. Each of these disputes, however, were eventually mended over in the spirit of brotherly compromise. Up until the final break of 1054 which has remained in place for the past thousand years.
The first important schism occurred in 484 AD as the result of the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD). The second in 680 AD over the issue of Monothelitism. The third in 754 and 787 AD over the issue of religious icons. The fourth in 879 AD over the Filioque clause and the primacy of Rome. Then in 1054 AD came the "Great Schism."
This study will take a look at each of these smaller schismatic episodes.
In the post apostolic period of the church, something of a 'constitutional' division arose amongst the leaders of the early church. Among the Latins in the West, it was thought that the church should best be governed by a single individual as the temporal representative, or Vicar of Christ. An individual who would possess supreme authority over Christ's church on earth. Others would argue that such authority was never meant to be held in the hands of any single individual, but rather that the Vicar was meant to be the Holy Spirit. However, that was a concept that never sat well with the Nicolaitan sense of self-importance. The Greek Eastern church on the other hand, adopted a slightly different organizational model, whereby the church would be governed by a council of five elders, which would later come to be called 'Patriarchs', each seated in his own Metropolitan Diocese.
Yet even among the council of five, a pecking order was quick to develop, to determine which would be 'first among equals'. The First Council of Constantinople in 381 AD had elevated the see of Constantinople above all other Metropolitan sees except for Rome (see history of councils). It also divided and marked the boundaries within the Eastern Empire of the five canonical territories of the five civil dioceses. Diocese of Egypt (metropolis in Alexandria), Diocese of the East (metropolis in Antioch), Diocese of Asia (Metropolis of Ephesus), Diocese of Pontus (metropolis in Caesarea Cappadociae), and Diocese of Thrace (metropolis in Heraclea, later under Constantinople).
In spite of many differences, there had existed a considerable amount of tolerance between Rome, and the five Eastern diocese. The East and West had remained in a more or less respectful relationship, tactfully smoothing over their differences. However, that tolerance broke down in 1053, as the first step was taken in the process that would lead to the ultimate breaking away. It started when the Greek churches in southern Italy were ordered to either close or conform to Latin practices. After all, these Greek churches were on Italian soil. In retaliation, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael I Cerularius, ordered the closure of all Latin churches in the great Byzantine city of Constantinople. The table was set. Irritating animosity was emerging again like an itch that wouldn't go away.
Shortly afterwards, in 1054, a Roman papal legation was dispatched by Leo IX to Constantinople for the purpose of informing Cerularius that Rome had denied him the title he had sought of "Ecumenical Patriarch," insisting that he recognize the Roman Pope's claim to be the head of all the churches, including those in the East.
There was an urgent secondary purpose for the papal legation in traveling to Constantinople, which was to seek help from the Byzantine Emperor, Constantine IX, in combating the Norman conquest of southern Italy and Sicily. Cerularius flatly refused the papal requests and ordered the ambassadors from Rome to return from whence they came. Therefore, the leader of the legation, Cardinal Humbert, excommunicated him. In return Cerularius excommunicated Humbert and the papal legates that accompanied him.
One might marvel at the irony of these small fits of human temper, juxtaposed against the enormity of the consequences. Because Leo IX had died after dispatching Humbert et al, the excommunication of Cerularius was technically invalid. In addition, Cerularius' excommunication of the papal legation would only have applied to the legates individually.
Still, these actions would come to constitute the ultimate division of Christianity, the end of church unity, and the end of universal Christian brotherhood. The Christian religion split along doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political, and geographical lines. Each side at times accusing the other of having fallen into heresy, or schoolyard finger pointing as to which side had initiated the division. The Massacre of the Latins in 1182, the West's retaliation in the sacking of Thessalonica in 1185, the capture and sacking of Constantinople in 1204 (the fourth crusade), were events that only served to harden the posture each side stood against the other.
There is another irony found in this whole ecumenical mess. Most Christian people, east or west, were completely unaware of the event that would come to be known as the "Great Schism." Outside the corridors of power, it was an entirely unknown development. Nobody knew anything about an event that had driven a wedge through the heart of the church. Even among the clergy, it was thought at the time, that the relatively minor disagreements that had led to the mutual excommunications were essentially of no great significance. Surely, the church established by Jesus the Christ, Yeshua the Messiah, and guided by the Holy Spirit could withstand the winds of fraternal bickering. The Messiah's church was certainly made of stronger, better stuff.
No. It was made of humans. From this point on, it seems the Roman church should no longer have been referring to itself as "Catholic," or "Katholikos" given that from this point forward, it was neither "universal," nor "complete." Perhaps more accurately, it should have begun calling itself, "the Roman element of the Lord's bifurcated church." However, it remains in a pathetic state of denial. Yeshua had prophetically warned us of this potential eventuality with the words:
Not counting the break with Judaism, it was the first major break
the devil's laughter still echoes through the lofty ceilings of Christendom.
a brief study on the wedge issues of division
In addition to those listed above, there are many more issues that have come to separate the two primary confessions of the Christian church. Some of these include the doctrines of purgatory, the Immaculate Conception, the nature of original sin, the date of Easter, fasting on Saturdays throughout the year, omitting the "Alleluia" in Lent, or depicting Christ as a lamb in their iconography. Larger disputes also reveal division between Eastern and Western attitudes toward celibacy for priests and deacons, with the East affirming the right of married men to become priests (though forbidding priests to marry and forbidding bishops to live with their wives).
Certain liturgical practices in the West that the East believe represent illegitimate innovation such as the use of unleavened bread for the Eucharist. Azymite is Greek for "people of unleavened bread." It was a term of reproach used by the Eastern Orthodox churches since the eleventh century against the Latin Churches, who, together with the Armenians and the Maronites, celebrate the Eucharist with unleavened bread. Apparently, the Eastern churches feel that the use of unleavened bread is too "Jewish" for a Christian church, associated as it is with the Passover celebration. Some Latin antagonists have responded by assailing the Greeks as "Fermentarians."
Whether the bread which Jesus used at the Last Supper was leavened or unleavened is the central question giving rise to
this issue. Yet, for anyone who knows anything about scripture, there is no debate. The Last Supper was a celebration of "the feast of unleavened bread," of which, Passover is a part. These are required feasts of God according to the Torah. Yeshua and the apostles would have used unleavened bread. The Fermentarians have chosen to stand on an odd element of replacement theology.
After Rome had attempted to replace a seated Patriarch with another that would be more favorable to their side in the Filioque dispute, three councils were held, two by Constantinople, and one by Rome. The Orthodox responded to this replacement by denouncing the new Patriarch and excommunicating the pope that had presided over the Roman council. They denounced the pope's attempt to control affairs outside the purview of Rome, and also denounced the addition of the Filioque as a heresy. Ever since, each church has recognized its own councils as legitimate and does not recognize those of the other.
Principal among the ecclesiastical issues that separate the two churches has always been the meaning of papal primacy. This issue has been a pebble in the shoe of the church since the early years of the Quartodeciman debates (approx. 189 AD). The churches in Rome did not celebrate the Passover (memorializing the sacrifice) annually, arguing that they commemorated the sacrifice (Last Supper) every Sunday in the eucharist and had no need for a special annual recognition of it. Instead, in Rome, they marked an annual celebration called "Easter," (a word not found in the Bible, but rather the name of a pagan fertility goddess) commemorating the resurrection rather than the sacrifice. The churches of Asia Minor, however, did celebrate an annual Pesach (Passover). The synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are traditionally interpreted as identifying the Last Supper as a Passover meal, while the Gospel of John implies that the crucifixion itself, occurred on Passover. Therefore, early Christians (who were Jews, or were taught by Jews) felt justified in celebrating the Passover feast on the fourteenth day of the Jewish lunar month of Nisan, the 'preparation' day on which Jews had offered the Passover sacrifice. These Christians were given the name Quartodecimanii from the Latin, meaning “Fourteenthers.”
The Western church put pressure on the Eastern church to conform in practice, but the Eastern church resisted, insisting that the Roman bishop had not the authority to demand such change in long standing tradition. The Eastern church insisted that Roman primacy should be a "primacy of honor," as in the ancient church, and not a "primacy of authority," as it developed over time.
According to Eastern belief, the test of Christian faith is defined by adherence to the authority of sacred scripture and then by the holy tradition of the church which was built upon those scriptures. It is not defined by adherence to any particular see such as Rome. It is the position of the Eastern church that it has never accepted the premise that the bishop of Rome has any ecclesiastical right, or in any way has been ordained as the leader of the entire church. All bishops are equal therefore every church under every bishop is to be as honored as every other.
Orthodoxy teaches that the church is in the image of the heavenly trinity and reflects the reality of the incarnation. The body of Christ must always be equal with itself. Any changes to the understanding of the church's structure would reflect a change in the understanding of the trinity. Yet the assertion stands, that "papal primacy" reflects an imbalance in the church, and thus upon the understanding of the trinity.
Ignatius of Antioch taught through his epistles, that just as the Father is the principal of unity within the Holy Trinity, so the bishop is the center of the visible unity of the Church on earth. Ignatius sets out how he believes the structure of the church is a reflection of the trinity in one of his epistles:
"In like manner, let all reverence the deacons as an appointment of Jesus Christ, and the bishop as Jesus Christ,
who is the Son of the Father, and the presbyters as the Sanhedrin of God, and assembly of the apostles. Apart
from these, there is no Church."
In other words, we are all expected to revere the professional clergy, acknowledging the perfect structure. The Eastern church maintains that all bishops are equal. All are called to be rock, as was Peter. All bishops, in all locations are considered to be the spiritual descendants of Peter, the so-called Prince of the Apostles. As a reflection of the Trinity the church is united by love, not a formal adherence to one particular bishop in one particular location. For the Eastern Greek church, each individual, to truly be a Christian must also be engaged in this unity of love with other persons. The Trinity too, is joined by a union of love, with each member of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, fully God. Each church is fully catholic, united by love. The word "catholic" is generally translated as "universal," but in fact is more accurately translated as "complete." Therefore, each church is fully complete, united by love, in the same way the godhead is complete in its unity, bound by love. To change the structure of the church would change how we perceive the godhead, and also how we would interact with each other.
In other words, the objection is that if one bishop has primacy over all the others, and the others are subordinated, then this would be a reflection of subordinationism, which is explicitly denied in the trinitarian doctrine. This would warp the church and throw doctrine out of balance. Yet the very idea of identifying Peter as the "Prince of the Apostles" would also reflect an imbalance within the church, subordinating the other apostles, but we're not allowed to point out such incongruity.
The Eastern bishops understood that all bishops, not just the bishop of Rome, are the successors of Peter (who incidentally, never self-identified as the prince or the 'leader' of the Apostles) and pointed out that Patriarch Bartholomew had recently reiterated his explicit rejection of the Roman Catholic interpretation of the "keys of Peter." In Orthodox ecclesiology, all bishops possess a fundamental equality, even if, because of practical reasons, some are given a higher position than others.
The Roman Catholic church has only stiffened its position over time. They called the First Vatican Council as recently as 1870. The affirmation of the doctrine of primacy declared that "in the disposition of God the Roman church holds the preeminence of ordinary power over all the other churches." This council also affirmed the dogma of papal infallibility, declaring that the infallibility of the Christian community extends to the pope himself, when he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church. These new dogma, as well as the dogma of the Immaculate Conception promulgated in Ineffabilis Deus a few years prior, are unequivocally rejected by the Eastern Church as heretical.
All of the debate over which bishops are superior to other bishops amounts to nothing more than gourmet baloney. None of this is what Yeshua had in mind for His congregation. What the Messiah said can be found in Matthew 23: 8-12. "You have one teacher, and you are all brothers." In light of the Messiah's words, one wonders how a professional clergy class was ever to develop at all, let alone a pecking order. The Messiah has the final word, not the Bishop of Rome. The bishops of Rome merely muscled their way to the front of the line and declared themselves the head of Messiah's church on earth, the Vicars of Christ, never-minding there is no scriptural support for this claim. It remains a brilliantly executed Machiavellian power play.
monothelytism - the will and the nature - an absurd metaphysical debate borne of trinitarianism
Papal primacy - an issue unexpectedly exposing wrinkles in the trinitarian concept
the filioque clause, changing the creed - more wrinkles related to the trinitarian concept
From the Council of Toledo, 589 AD, came the addition of the filioque clause (pronounced - philly-oak) which would stir up heated division in the church. Filioque is Latin for "and the Son," and was added to Western Christianity's Latin version of the text of the Nicene Creed, though it was an unauthorized deviation from the original Greek text. The Latin version additionally added the phrase "God of God" and used the singular "I believe" instead of the original "We believe." Filioque states that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as from the Father, a doctrine accepted by the Catholic Church, by Anglicanism and by Protestant churches in general. Christians of these groups generally include it when reciting the Nicene Creed.
The insertion of the filioque clause in the Latin version, in brackets, was considered a doctrinal betrayal by the Eastern church (see - Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed). The Western church was thought to have doctrinally broken communion with their Eastern brothers. The Western Latin version of the Nicene Creed (accepted in Rome in 1014) was objected to as having been done without holding council or obtaining consent from the Eastern Churches. You can't just change a creed, a concise statement of essential beliefs, once it's been agreed to by all.
At the 879 AD Council of Constantinople the Eastern Orthodox Church anathematized the "filioque" phrase as a novelty and augmentation of the Creed and spoke of it as a heresy. It was identified as such by some of the Eastern Orthodox Church's most prominent fathers, including Photios I of Constantinople, Mark of Ephesus, and Gregory Palamas, who are collectively thought of as the Three Pillars of Orthodoxy. The Eastern church believes that when the Western church inserted the filioque unilaterally into the Creed that the Western church essentially betrayed the unity that had existed with the East. Yet the entire concept of the creeds are a novelty of men, primarily intended to exclude unpopular segments of the brotherhood. In this case, it would wind up helping to exclude the entire Greek Eastern church from the realm of Western Latin "orthodoxy." There would henceforth be two competing orthodoxies.
It isn't as small a matter as one might think at first glance. Some argue that, in order for the Holy Spirit to proceed from the Father and the Son as stated in the Latinized version of the Creed, there would have to be two sources in the deity (double procession), whereas in the one godhead singularity there can only be one source of divinity, which is the Father hypostasis (substance) of the trinity. Double procession, as expressed in the filioque clause, exposes the true polytheistic nature of the trinitarian contrivance. Whereas without the filioque clause, the original Greek version of the Creed does a better job of standing up the false image of monotheism, cloaked behind the camouflage of rhetorical, ecclesiastic trickery.
Before anybody's brain explodes trying to hack their way through the nuanced metaphysical blather that beset the Christian religion so long ago, we should endeavor to unravel some of the terminology. First of all, this is Greek philosophically based Christo theology which is a contradiction in terms at best. The great schism was preceded by the great and enduring mismatch of Judeo-Christian teaching and the elite erudite schools of Greek philosophy with a liberal blending of Roman paganism.
Monothelitism: Jesus had two natures, human and divine, but only one will.
Monophysitism: Jesus had only one nature, either human, divine or a combination of the two - but not two, only one nature.
Miaphysitism: The Human and Divine natures of Christ are married into one "without separation, without confusion, and without alteration."
During the 5th century, some regions of the Christian church were thrown into confusion because of the debates that erupted over the "nature" of Jesus Christ. Although the church had already determined that Christ is the son of God, second person of the trinity, just what his exact incarnate nature was, remained a matter open to debate. The Church had declared heretical the notion that Jesus was not fully divine at the First Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.). This was settled during the debates over Arianism, and the council had declared that Jesus was "God the Son become human". However, in arguing that he was both God and man, there now emerged a dispute over exactly how the human and divine natures of Christ actually existed within the singular entity that was the incarnate Messiah, Yeshua, the anointed of God.
The question is a spin-off of trinitarian teaching, arising from the accounts of Yeshua's prayers on the night he was to be arrested. In his fervent prayers asking God the Father to grant him a reprieve from the suffering he knew he was about to endure.
The submissive deference Yeshua exhibited towards the Father is the point around which the universe of this debate revolves. According to the tenets of trinitarianism, the will and nature of the Father are the same as the that of the Son, yet Yeshua's prayers indicate that they are not the same, and that the Father's is superior. The will of the Son clearly places itself under submission to the will of the Father. The mandate cried out --- resolve this inconsistency!
If Yeshua's sacrifice represents the "first fruits" of mankind, then he must have been fully human. And yet, he clearly possessed supernatural powers, and performed miracles of healing, casting out demons, and many other marvels. So there was an element of the divine, or 'superhuman' in him, but would that negate any of his humanness? How could his sacrifice carry the weight it did, if he had such an advantage over ordinary humans?
The theology accepted by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Reformed churches, is that Christ remains in two distinct natures, yet these two natures come together within his one hypostasis (substance). This position was opposed by the Monophysites who held that Christ could possesses only one nature and it had to be fully human in order for his sacrifice to have validity. Eutychianism is one type of monophysitism, holding that the human and divine natures of Christ were fused into one new single (mono) nature.
Monophysites believed Christ, as the incarnation of the eternal Son or Word (Logos) of God, had only a single "nature" which was either divine or a synthesis of divine and human. Monophysitism is in contrast to dyophysitism which maintains that after the incarnation, Christ maintained two natures, one divine and one human. The monophysite belief was concentrated mainly in the Alexandrian community, where Christians had come to believe that Jesus was, while of one nature, balanced more towards the divine side. After all, he was the teacher of divine truth, and in order to have possessed that truth, he must have been primarily divine.
Catholic, Orthodox and Protestants reject monophysitism as they believe Jesus had two natures, human and divine. They tolerate Miaphysitism, but keep it at arms-length. The Armenian and Coptic Churches (and other Oriental Orthodox churches) uphold miaphysitism, also rejecting monophysitism.
Monothelitism once enjoyed a lot of support after first being formulated but was rejected in 680 by pretty much all interested parties. It had been in 638 AD that the Byzantine emperor Heraclius tried to unite all of the various factions within the empire with this new formula that he believed was more inclusive and more elastic. It was an attempt to bridge the gap between the monophysite and the Chalcedonian positions, but it too was ultimately rejected by the members of the Chalcedonian synod, despite at times having the support of the Byzantine emperors and even the pope of Rome, Honorius I.
Some are of the opinion that monothelitism was at one time held by the Maronites, but the Maronite community, for the most part, dispute this, stating that they have never been out of communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Still, Chalcedon began to divide the church with breakaways from Egypt, Armenia, Syria and Mesopotamia.
There are two major doctrines that can indisputably be called "monophysite." Apollinarianism holds that Christ had a human body and human "living principle," but that the Divine Logos had taken the place of the nous, or thought processes, analogous but not identical to what we might call a mind. Apollinarism was condemned as heretical at the First Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381. The other major doctrine was Eutychianism which holds that the human and divine natures of Christ were fused into one new single (mono) nature: His human nature was "dissolved like a drop of honey in the sea," and his nature was therefore divine. Eutychianism was repudiated at the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451. Eutychianism was additionally condemned at the Third Council of Ephesus in 475. This great debate has never been settled to the general satisfaction of the Messiah's congregation.
The issue of icons - are we, as Christians, governed by scripture, or pagan traditions adopted by the church
Yahweh, God Almighty Himself, spoke to this issue long ago in language plain and easily understood. One wouldn't think there would be any sort of controversy over this issue. In the second of the Ten Commandments presented to Moses, it is written:
You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God . . . (Exodus 20: 4,5)
Yeshua the Messiah never spoke to the issue of images and icons. He didn't need to because he and his followers were Jewish and the Jewish people knew and understood the commandment. They lived apart from and did not follow the practices of the pagans. Yet, the Roman Catholic church has all but removed the second commandment from the Decalogue with a wink and a nod (who's going to notice?). Roman Catholicism has literally edited the second commandment out of the Ten Commandments. Then they deceitfully divided the tenth commandment, 'covetousness', into two sections (wife, and property) in order to maintain the illusion of 'ten' commandments. Honestly, there is no fear of God in these bastardizing violations of scripture.
Without the second commandment, churchgoers are free to genuflect and pray to carved, graven, or painted images, particularly of Mary, considered the greatest of all Catholic saints, often referred to as 'the queen of heaven'. To these they pray for intercession before God, or for divine intervention and favors in some personal matter. There are graven images of vast numbers of Roman Catholic saints, often used as good luck charms or talismans for keeping evil spirits away. These are traditional practices of paganism, not found in Judaism, and have no place within Christianity. Even the Roman Catholic crucifix is the graven image of Christ on the cross, whereas most Protestant crosses omit the graven image of the suffering Messiah. The controversy between iconoclasts (the term literally means 'breaker of icons') and iconophiles, revolved around the excessive religious attention, and the miracles credited to icons by some members of the church, drawing too close to acts of worship, and constituting acts of idolatry. They forget, our God is a jealous God.
There's probably no other issue where it is more painfully obvious, that the Nicene church, foundation of the Christian religion, is not so much a branch of Judaism, as one would expect, but more rooted in paganism and Greek philosophy, than the issue of icons.
The Byzantine Emperor Leo III forbade the veneration of religious images in a 730 AD edict, which did not apply to other forms of art, including images of the emperor, or religious symbols such as the cross. Apparently, he did not think there was any need to consult church officials before condemning image veneration and was surprised at the opposition that rose up against the edict. The Patriarch of Constantinople, Germanos I, a confirmed iconophile is said to have resigned in the wake of Leo's decree, but not for theological reasons. It seems what worried Germanos was that the ban of icons would prove that the Church had been in error for a very long time, and therefore confirm the criticisms of Jews and Muslims. He was right.
The issue was taken up at the Council of Hieria in 754, also known as Constantinople V (see - Councils). The controversial council of 754 AD condemned the use of icons, stating:
The Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) - known by many as "Chalcedon the Ominous"
The Council of Chalcedon took up numerous issues including some adjustments in the pecking order concerning the eminence and authority of the major metropolitans (the term 'patriarch' didn't come into use until 531 AD). Once these issues were settled, they took up other concerns.
The grave consequences of the council's rulings were in the alienation of a huge segment of the church. Curiously, in spite of losing a large segment of the Eastern brotherhood, the Eastern Orthodox Church still celebrates these events as expressed in commemorative hymns such as the "Holy Fathers of the 4th Ecumenical Council, who assembled in Chalcedon," except in Russia where the numbering is different, and they honor the feast of the "Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils." In these, the
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; The distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person (prosopon) and one Subsistence (hypostasis), not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.
"We define that the holy icons, whether in color, mosaic, or some other material, should be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on the sacred vessels and liturgical vestments, on the walls, furnishings, and in houses and along the roads, namely the icons of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, that of our Lady the Theotokos (mother of God), those of the venerable angels and those of all saintly people.
hymns praise the council's pious fathers while denouncing the anathematized (cursed) opponents as slaves of Nestorius, holding Christ in contempt, or minions of the misguided Arius. These cursed Christian brothers are condemned in song, to the fires of Gehenna.
In the lead up to the Council of Chalcedon, Flavian, the Bishop of Constantinople, had excommunicated one of his presbyters, named Eutyches. He and Eutyches both wrote to Pope Leo I in Rome, Flavian to explain, and Eutyches to appeal the excommunication. Leo responded with a letter to Flavian which came to be known as 'Leo's Tome'. The Tome became the subject of much heated debate during the Chalcedonian council. In it, Leo lays out in no uncertain terms, the Roman Catholic position on the nature of Christ as defined in the Nicene Creed (see the creeds). He asserts that Christ had two natures, one human and capable of death, and the other divine and not capable. He rebuked Eutyches for misunderstanding the words of the creed. He points out that the interval of time between the resurrection and the ascension provided proof of the two natures, revealed, and put openly on display.
Some of the bishops objected to the concepts expressed in Leo's Tome, on the grounds that the creed defined two physis and that such a concept was basically a restatement of Nestorianism. Nestorianism had already been rejected at the council of Ephesus (431 AD).
The non-Chalcedonian churches represented a substantial segment of the Eastern church, and it would be these that would repudiate the Chalcedonian confession, refusing to approve concepts articulated in Leo's Tome. These congregations included, among others, the important see of Alexandria, known today as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Nonetheless, the council produced, over the objections of many, the "Confession of Chalcedon," or the "Chalcedonian Definition," based on Leo's Tome. The Confession is an example of how the most insufferable fabrications can be swallowed if they are sufficiently sugar-coated with a sprinkling of scriptural truth. Judge for yourself, in this statement of essential beliefs, what stands out as unscriptural, or inspired as a creatively composed deception? The English language version of the Chalcedonian Confession reads as follows:
"The unlawful art of painting living creatures blasphemed the fundamental doctrine of our salvation--namely, the Incarnation of Christ, and contradicted the six holy synods. . . .
Chalcedon the Ominous - 451 A.D.
Chalcedon was a small port city near the Bosporus in Asia Minor
All of these issues were driving division within the Lord's church. Nonetheless, the various breakaway congregations all maintained tolerant, brotherly relations as people with more in common than not. The church literally endured one minor schism after another but held together. That is how things stood for a thousand years, until the excommunications of 1054 AD. Since then, each congregational communion, East and West, recognizes its own councils as legitimate and does not recognize the other's. They've largely gone their separate ways, and that is how things have stood for the second thousand years. There is no sign of reconciliation in sight. Conciliatory overtures have been made but have not succeeded in bridging the great divide between the two communions.
Today these elements of church history are largely unknown among the people of either communion, as the issues of division are no longer explicitly taught in their respective congregations. The clergy prefers to keep it hushed amongst themselves, because they don't want people to begin questioning, or thinking about these issues anew.
They also don't want people wondering about how willful, obstinate clergymen could allow this great schism to happen to the Lord's blessed community of brothers and sisters. Instead, there are desperate attempts to maintain the illusion of separate orthodoxies with a more or less collegial acceptance of differences. Besides, over the subsequent thousand years, there have been so many lessor schisms, reformations, and schisms within schisms, that the very concept of unity in brotherhood has been dissolved and largely discarded as an inconsequential ecclesiastical burden. The Messiah's congregation has long lost any resemblance to the original apostolic brotherhood. Such are the works of the professional clergy, the Nicolaitans, those who take it upon themselves to define 'orthodoxy.' Such are the puffed-up vessels of leaven, where the religious clergy of Christendom have shaped their vocations and province, patterned after the established regulatory authority of the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, rabbis, and priests as in the days of Yeshua. Not to mention how they imitate the structure of the pagan churches that had so dominated the Roman Empire back in the day. Shame on y'all.
A brief look at some lesser theological disagreements
The Council of Chalcedon concluded with some highly significant consequences for the Orthodox Christians in Egypt, and all of Christendom in general. There were a series of persecutions, first by the Roman and later by the Byzantine empires. Demands were made, that followers of the Egyptian Orthodox church pledge their agreement to Leo's Tome, otherwise known as the Chalcedonian Confession. They refused. This led to a period of persecution, martyrdom, and death for thousands of Egyptian Christians and clergy which lasted up until the Islamic conquest of Egypt in the seventh century. As a result, The Council of Chalcedon is referred to as "Chalcedon, the Ominous" among Coptic Egyptians on account of how it led Christians to violent, murderous persecution of other Christians for the first time in history. This Chalcedonian schism was an earlier, lessor schism, which helped set the table for the Great Schism which would come later. Even today, Coptic Orthodox Christians hold themselves apart from the followers of Chalcedon.
in a house divided, brother against brother.
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. - Mark 3:24,25
Long before the ultimate break in 1054, there were the lesser, divisive, contentious squabbles, each building on the other over time. An astute reader may notice, none of these divisive issues centers around the coming "Kingdom of God." What they were missing in all these disputes was how best to serve the primary instructions of the Lord, Yeshua. These men were acting more like a gathering of vultures ripping at the flesh and bones of a carcass - the remains of what had been the apostolic community of the Lord, fighting for the best piece, or the biggest share, metaphorically speaking of course, in a strictly spiritual sense. - (see - Matthew 24:28) But it must be understood, they were in no way advancing the cause of the Messiah they claimed to serve.
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” - Matthew 26:39
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. - 1 John 5:3
the Roman Catholic version of the Ten Commandments
apparently the church finds the 2nd commandment burdensome
as taught in their catechism schools.
see - Creeds
see - Councils and Synods
How might Solomon have judged this matter? Cut the child in half! Let the woman who truly loved the child give up her claim, that the child might live. The East or the West - which loved, or valued the 'unified' brotherhood more? As it turned out, neither side was willing to relinquish their sanctimonious claim to superior liturgical orthodoxy, and so the child was severed into two bifurcated segments. All this for the irreconcilable differences of cavalier, disagreeable, and self-important men of the cloth. Of course, it could not have been any other way.
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” - Matthew 26:42
So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. - Matthew 26:44
If anyone shall endeavour to represent the forms of the Saints in lifeless pictures with material colours which are of no value (for this notion is vain and introduced by the devil), and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, etc. . . . let him be anathema."
Whenever these representations are contemplated, they will cause those who look at them to commemorate and love their prototype. We define also that they should be kissed and that they are an object of veneration and honor (timitiki proskynisis), but not of real worship (latreia), [you have to admire the parsing of words] which is reserved for Him Who is the subject of our faith and is proper for the divine nature...."
The difference is, the Orthodox limit their icons to two-dimensional images of saints or the Christ (i.e., paintings, tapestries, mosaics). They argue that these are acceptable because they are not "carved," or graven three dimensional. However, the commandment clearly says, "or any likeness." They also argue that the images are not "exact" likenesses of the saints they represent, and therefore, the veneration does not violate God's law. They argue that they do not worship the images, but only "venerate" them, trying to draw a very fine distinction of terms. Yet in Eastern Orthodox churches, bowing to an icon is sometimes required. Calling the icon an object of "art" does not diminish the transgression or the offense to God.
In spite of whatever the church leaders may teach, there is absolutely no mention in writings of the pre-Nicene church of any worship or veneration of idols or icons. Such things simply didn't exist in the Jewish tradition. Certainly not in the apostolic period where it was clearly understood that to attach any religious significance whatsoever to an inanimate object, wasn't merely harebrained, it was flirting with great sin. The origin of the practice seems to have followed the influx of pagan converts into the church after the First Council of Nicaea (325 AD). It was reaffirmed by the Second Council of Nicaea (787 AD) which concluded that images are to be venerated but not worshipped, which some might call a distinction without a difference. Shame on y'all.
Where churches of the East differ from those of the West, and therefore draw a distinct division, is in the artistic presentation of the images. While the Eastern Orthodox churches have always been as heavily polluted with icons as the Western church, in modern times they approach the issue differently, choosing twisted, tricky semantics in order to excuse their practices of image worship. In either the Roman or Eastern cases, the flocks they shepherd are treated like morons by the superior, enlightened, all knowing, clergy class that directs and orders their faith in conflict with God's teachings. Either that, or the clergy class is happily willing to sacrifice truth and salvation in order to accommodate the wishes of the congregations, rather than offering pointed Biblical instruction on the matter.
In other words, images and icons good. The issue was further argued at the Council of Constantinople, 869 - 870 AD., known as the fourth ecumenical council by Eastern reckoning. The council reaffirmed the decisions of the Second Council of Nicaea in support of icons and holy images and required the image of Christ to have veneration equal with that of the gospel book. East and West had found a spark of agreement, even if it was in foolish violation of the commandments of God. The council determined, "If anyone does not venerate the image of Christ our Lord, let him be deprived of seeing him in glory at his second coming. The image of his all-pure Mother and the images of the holy angels as well as the images of all the saints are equally the object of our homage and veneration."
In other words, images and icons bad. Instead, we should seek to honor the saints by imitating their faithful virtues. However, this council would later have its rulings completely overturned by the Council of Nicaea II in 787 AD which decreed:
THE DEVIL'S STRATEGY OF DIVIDE AND CONQUER COMES INTO PLAY
The schism between the Western and Eastern Christians resulted from a long history of political, cultural and theological disputes that divided the church over many centuries. Scholars regard the mutual excommunications of 1054 as simply the final act in a long running drama of disagreement and dispute, climaxing with the ultimate parting of the
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