Thursday, October 3, 2013

Catholic-Orthodox Schism (330-1453)

330 Constantine moves the capital of a united Roman state from Rome to Constantinople. This marks a permanent loss of Olympian status and privilege for the inhabitants of the city of Rome. This loss affects even the authority of the bishop of Rome in the eyes of Christians throughout Olympia.

410 The city of Rome is sacked for the first time in 800 years. The collapse of the western Roman state worsens communication between church leaders in Rome and Constantinople.

451 The churches of Alexandria and Antioch do not accept the results of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon. As a result, church leaders in Rome and Constantinople no longer consider them part of the universal Church. That leaves only church leaders in those two cities, past and present capitals of the Roman state, as rivals.

527-565 Justinian 1st, ruler of the Roman state and a Christian, understands himself to be responsible for the well-being of the Church and therefore superior in authority to every leader of it. Beginning with him in 537, and continuing until 752, the Roman ruler in Constantinople appoints all bishops in his lands including the one in Rome. Bishops in Rome do not enjoy this explicit subordination.

Oddly enough, Justinian is also the last ruler of the Roman state to speak Latin as his native language. This doesn't help communication either.

620 Heraclius, Roman ruler, makes Greek the official language of the Roman state.

640 Arab Muslim warriers sweep out of Levantia. This greatly distracts Roman rulers in Constantinople. It also worsens communication between Church leaders in Constantinople and Rome.

680 Bulgars, a Turkish Olympian people, take control of northern Hellenia from the Roman state in Constantinople. This further isolates Rome from Constantinople.

800 The bishop of Rome recognizes Charlemagne as ruler of the Roman state rather than the ruling Empress Irene in Constantinople.

863-885 Catholic Church leaders see themselves as competitors with Orthodox Church leaders for control of peoples and lands. They express hostility to the ministry of Cyril and Methodius, in Slavic, to the Slavic people living in Moravia (part of today's Czech Republic).

1014 The bishop of Rome changes the Nicene Creed without consulting the bishop of Constantinople. In 381, church leaders at the Second Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon affirmed their shared understanding that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father.” In 1014, the bishop of Rome decided that all Catholics would affirm that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” The unilateral addition of this phrase to an ecumenical statement further estranges Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

1053 The Roman emperor in Constantinople orders the closure of all Catholic church buildings in the city.

1054 The representative of the pope in Constantinople excommunicates the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church. In response, he excommunicates the pope's representative and all those who came with him from Rome. This date traditionally marks the beginning of what is called the Great Schism between Orthodox and Catholic churches which continues to this day.

1182 During the 1100s, merchants from Venice, Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi establish themselves in Constantinople. Eventually over 60,000 Catholics live in this capital of the Orthodox Roman state. But hostility between these merchants and their shared exploitation of working- and middle-class Orthodox Christians leads to an explosion of violence in 1182. Violent Orthodox Christians kill thousands of Catholics and force most of the rest to flee the city.

1185 Catholic soldiers of southern Latinia (today's southern Italy and Sicily) besiege the Orthodox city of Thessalonica and murder over 7,000 of its inhabitants as they loot it.

1204 Catholic Crusaders destroy Constantinople, rape and murder its inhabitants, replace the Orthodox state with their own Catholic control of Orthodox lands, and appoint their own Catholic bishop as leader of all Christians in Constantinople. This catastrophe definitively breaks the relationship between the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches.

1439 The Orthodox ruler of the Roman empire badly needs support in defense of Constantinople against threatening Turkish Muslim armies. At the Council of Florence, the emperor persuades his bishops to accept everything the pope wants in exchange for Catholic military support. These Orthodox bishops steel themselves and say they believe in the Holy Spirit proceeding also from the Son, in Purgatory, and in the unquestioned supremacy of the bishop of Rome over the bishop of Constantinople. When these Orthodox leaders return to Constantinople, however, they find no support whatsoever from its inhabitants. The people of Constantinople prefer Muslim rule or death to any support from Catholics.

1453 Turkish Muslim armies take control of Constantinople and put an end to the Orthodox Roman state.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven Farsaci. All rights reserved.