For Borromeo and Robb: The Greek Schism
#1
The Greek Schism, about which space permits us to say very little, was caused by something that must have seemed trivial at Constantinople. On 23 November, 858, the Patriarch Ignatius was deposed, and on 25 December in the same year Photius succeeded him. Ignatius was deposed because he had refused Communion to the Emperor Bardas, who was living openly in sin with his daughter-in-law. It was not the first time at Byzantium that for more or less lawful actions an orthodox patriarch had been deposed and another appointed in his place. Thus, among other examples, Macedonius II had succeeded Euphemius in 496; John III had succeeded Eutychius in 565; Cyrus had succeeded Callinicus in 706, and John VI had replaced Cyrus in 712, without causing any great commotion. Ignatius might then have let things take their course and waited in his retreat till fortune turned his way once more. This he did not do, and, if he was somewhat lacking in suppleness, his right was incontestable. Once he had refused to consent to his deposition, Pope Nicholas I was bound to uphold him and to condemn Photius, who was an outright usurper. Photius was clever enough to see that a rupture with Rome on this point would not satisfy even the Greeks, so he cast about for another issue. He took, one by one, the many causes for separation that had been in the air for centuries and united them into a body of doctrine; then, confident in his learning and prestige, he decided to give battle. The insertion of the "Filioque" clause in the Creed, the procession of the Holy Ghost ab utroque, etc., were so many reasons which were bound to have their effect upon the leading minds when the question of the separation came up. Then again the popes' acknowledgment of the Frankish kings as Emperors of the West was bound to carry weight in Byzantine political circles. Moreover, it was evident by this time that between the Latin and Greek worlds there existed a chasm which must grow broader with the years. However, the Photius affair was arranged. Ignatius forgave his rival and, it appears, on his death-bed designated him as his successor. Pope John VIII sanctioned this choice, and if subsequent popes excommunicated Photius it was for special reasons not yet sufficiently known.

In 886, Photius was deposed by the Emperor Leo VI, who disliked him, and, between 893 and 901, a reconciliation of the two Churches was effected by Pope John IX and the Patriarch Antonius Cauleas. During the entire tenth century, and the first part of the eleventh, relations between the Roman and the Greek Churches were excellent. There were, no doubt, occasional difficulties, always unavoidable in societies different in customs, speech, and civilization, but we may almost go so far as to say that the union between the Churches was as deep and sincere as it was during the first three centuries of Christianity. Michael Cærularius, however, desired a schism for no other reason, apparently, than to satisfy his pride, and in 1054 he succeeded in making one at the very time when everything seemed to promise a lasting peace. For this purpose he brought forward, besides the theological reasons stated by Photius, many others that Photius had neglected or merely hinted at, and which were judged particularly fitted to catch the popular fancy. The use of azymes, or unleavened bread, in the liturgy, the celibacy imposed on all priests in the West, the warlike manners of Western bishops and priests, the shaven face and the tonsure, the Saturday fast, and other such divergencies of practice were used to discredit the Latin Church. Thoughtful men may not have been misled by these specious arguments, but the mass of the people and the monks were certainly influenced, and at Constantinople it was they who made up public opinion. For this very reason the policy of Michael Cærularius, petty and superficial as it was, was better fitted than that of Photius to bring about permanent results. Indeed, so thoroughly did it cut off the Greek peoples from Rome that since then she has never won them back.

Unfortunately, this movement of separation under Photius and Michael Cærularius was on foot at the very time when the Slavs were being converted to Christianity, a fact in the history of the evangelization of the nations second only in importance to the conversion of the Germanic races. The Servians and Croatians, settled by the Emperor Heraclius (610-41) on the lands they still inhabit, had adopted the Christian teaching of Roman priests and bishops. But the progress of the new religion was so slow that a second conversion was deemed necessary. It took place under the Emperor Basil the Macedonian (867-86); as it was entrusted to Byzantine missionaries the Greek Rite of Constantinople was adopted. This had no small weight in detaching from Rome whole provinces that were formerly subject to it, and when these numerous Servian Churches broke away from Byzantium, it was to organize autonomous ecclesiastical bodies independent of both Rome and Constantinople. In this way a whole region was lost to Catholicism. The Bulgarians, who had crossed the Danube about the same time as the Servians, formed a more or less homogeneous nation with the Slavs and became a warrior people that more than once struck terror into the heart of the Byzantine Basileus. Towards the end of 864, or in the opening months of 865, their king, Boris, was baptized by a Greek bishop and took the name of Michael after his godfather, the Emperor of Byzantium. Photius, who was patriarch at the time, did not see his way to granting all the demands of King Boris, so, like a cunning politician, the latter turned to Rome and succeeded in obtaining successively several missionaries to organize the new-born Church within his territory. His next step was to send away all the German and Byzantine missionaries whom he found there. His real ambition was to have a patriarch of his own who would anoint him emperor just as the Greek patriarch anointed the Basileus at Constantinople, and as the pope anointed the Germanic emperor of the West. Whether he got his patriarch from Rome or from Constantinople mattered little; the main thing was to have one at any cost. Rome did not fall in with his plan, and Boris turned again to Constantinople, thereby initiating a serious misunderstanding between Rome and Constantinople which considerably added to the strain occasioned by the affairs of Ignatius and Photius. Rome claimed the Bulgarians as inhabitants of ancient Illyricum (her former ecclesiastical territory) and as having been baptized by her missionaries; Constantinople claimed that its priests had converted the Bulgarians, that the land was once imperial territory, and that the Council of Chalcedon had given Constantinople the right to consecrate bishops for all barbarian countries. Between the two Churches the Bulgarians did not know which way to turn. They retained the Byzantine Rite, which, with its elaborate ceremonial, made a deep impression upon their child-like imaginations, and, formally, they submitted to Greek bishops, until they should have bishops and a patriarch of their own. When, in 886, the disciples of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, expelled from Moravia by King Swiatopluk, took refuge in Bulgaria, they were received with open arms. The newcomers introduced into Bulgaria the Byzantine Liturgy, but in the Slavonic tongue, whereas hitherto the Bulgarian priests had used the Greek language. From Bulgaria this Byzantino-Slavonic Liturgy spread among the Servians, the Russians, and all the Slav peoples.

The first Bulgarian patriarchate was originally established at Pereiaslaf, then was transferred to various centres in Western Bulgaria, finally to Ochrida. In 1019 it was suppressed, when the town of Ochrida fell into the hands of the Byzantines, or rather it was converted into an independent archbishopric. As such it lasted until 1767 when it was definitively suppressed. However, independent patriarchate or autonomous archdiocese, the Bulgarian Church was from its foundation powerfully influenced by Constantinople; the long series of its Greek or Hellenistic archbishops shared at all times the anti-Roman feelings of that city. The Russian Church is also a spiritual daughter of Constantinople (see RUSSIA). We need not relate here the conversion of that nation; it probably took place about 853, perhaps a little earlier, and both Latins and Greeks probably participated in it. Progress was very slow, however, and when the Czarina Olga wished to become a Christian she had to go to Constantinople for instruction and baptism, on which occasion she took the name of Helena (c. 956 or 957). Olga's conversion had no great influence; the czar, Sviatoslav (964-972), refused to yield to her wishes that he should also be a Christian. It was not till 989 that Prince Vladimir allowed himself to be baptized, and ordered that his subjects should ever afterwards receive baptism.

The Russian Church was probably organized at this time, and a Greek metropolitan sent by the Byzantine patriarch was installed at Kiev, the Russian capital. Unfortunately, we have no "Notitia Episcopatuum" of the Byzantine Church contemporary with this event. The "Notitia" of 980 naturally makes no reference to Kiev, and the next "Notitia" goes from 1081 to 1118 only; in that year the metropolitan See of Kiev appears as number 60; similarly, in the "Notitia" of Manuel Comnenus which appeared about 1170. In this document Kiev appears as presiding over eleven suffragan sees, and this is the earliest information we have concerning the hierarchy of the Russian Church. The head of this Church had a rather inferior place in the Byzantine hierarchy, but exercised the prerogatives of an exarch and, once installed, administered freely his ecclesiastical province. He consecrated its bishops, crowned its czars, and he usually resided at Kiev. Generally, a Greek was chosen for the office so that the medieval Russian Church was but an extension of the Byzantine Church, sharing the liturgy, the dogmatic teaching, and the ecclesiastical antipathies of the latter.

Efforts towards reunion; the Crusades (eleventh to fifteenth century)

In spite of the emperor and the Court, who favoured an understanding with Rome and the West, Michael Cærularius proclaimed his schism in 1054. He was followed by most of the clergy, also by the monks and the Greek people. Peter, the Patriarch of Antioch, held aloof from this violent measure, but died soon afterwards, and his successor went over to Cærularius. The Patriarch of Alexandria, usually resident at Constantinople, sided with the bishop of the capital; the Greek Archbishop of Ochrida was devoted to Cærularius and was one of the first to stir up the question of the azymes as a grievance against Rome. Lastly, the head of the Russian Church was only a metropolitan dependent on the Byzantine Church. Therefore, with the exception of the insignificant Patriarch of Jerusalem, who at first tried to agree with both parties, all the Greek Churches had taken sides against Catholicism about the end of the eleventh century. In the years that elapsed from the death of Photius (891) to the fall of Constantinople (1453) the anti-Roman doctrine of the Greek Church took definite shape. Photius was the first who attempted to co-ordinate all possible reasons of complaint against the Latins. He enumerated seven chief grievances: the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, the insertion of the "Filioque" clause in the Creed, the primacy of the pope, the reconfirmation of those confirmed by Greek priests, the Saturday fast, the use of milk foods during the first week of Lent, the obligation of celibacy on the priests. The last three do not in any way affect dogma, and as much might be said of the second. The reconfirmation of those already confirmed seems to have been a false accusation, unless some Latin missionaries sinned through excess of zeal. The primacy of the pope had always been recognized by the patriarchs of the East, and by Photius himself, as long as the pope was willing to condescend to their wishes. The first letter of Photius to Pope Nicholas I does not differ from those of his predecessors, save for its more submissive tone and more humble diction. Appeals to the pope from the East between the second and ninth centuries are very numerous. And as for the Greek theory of the procession of the Holy Ghost, it was no new thing in the ninth century; St. John Damascene and St. Maximus of Chrysopolis had favoured this doctrine long before Photius and were never accused of heresy. It would, therefore, have been easy to find a common ground or compromise that would have harmonized the teaching of both schools. Passing from Photius to Michael Cærularius, we find only one new complaint directed against the Latins, and that liturgical: the use of unleavened bread. On this point the dispute was impossible of settlement, since each Church had been using its own particular kind of bread from time immemorial. Fresh differences in the meantime arose: the placing (about the thirteenth century) of the Epiclesis before the Consecration; Purgatory, which the Greeks would not admit, although they prayed for the dead and mortified themselves in their behalf; the full glorification of the just prior to the general judgment; the general judgment itself, which they rejected, as did also some Latin medieval theologians; the giving of communion to the laity under one species; baptism by infusion. To all these differences were to be added in the nineteenth century the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and that of Papal Infallibility. Merely for the sake of recording them, we may mention liturgical differences, as the manner of fasting in Lent, the adoption of a new calendar, the manner of making the sign of the cross -- causes of offence which the Greek clergy took pleasure in keeping alive, and which made a deep impression on a people devoted to trifles and, generally, very ignorant.

Papal efforts at reunion

The breach declared in 1054 has never been repaired. Yet this has not been the fault of the popes. As early as 1072 we find Alexander II eager for reunion. This attempt failed because of the unflinching opposition of the philosopher Michael Psellos, the Patriarch Xiphilinos, and their fanatical friends. Thenceforth until the fall of Constantinople (1453) the popes multiplied letters, embassies, and paternal advice to win back the erring Greeks to the fold of orthodoxy, and to keep them there on their return. All in vain. The two reconciliations effected by the Councils of Lyons (1274) and of Florence (1439) were solely due to the efforts of the popes and the Byzantine emperors. At Lyons Michael VIII, Palæologus, a clever politician, proclaimed himself and his people Catholics in order to save his crown and to stay the formidable armament of Charles of Anjou. At Florence John VII, Palæologus, came to beg men and arms from Europe to save his capital from the threatening Turks. It would be difficult for an impartial historian to affirm the sincerity of their desire for religious union. One thing is certain, their clergy followed them with the greatest reluctance, and at Lyons the Greek clergy kept aloof from any union with Rome, and would not listen to it at any price. Michael Palæologus was hardly dead (1282) when his son Andronicus undid all that he had accomplished, and even denied religious burial to his father; moreover, the Catholic patriarch, John Veccos, was deposed together with all his friends.

John VII, Palæologus, who had agreed to the union at Florence, either could not, or did not dare, proclaim it in his capital. He feared either the anathemas or the intrigues of men like Mark of Ephesus, or George Scholarios. His brother, Constantine Dragases, the last of the Byzantine emperors, died heroically for his country. He, also, feared at the beginning of his reign to impose the union on his clergy and people. He had to wait until 12 December, 1452, hardly six months before the entry of the Turks into the capital, when Cardinal Isidore solemnly proclaimed the union of Florence in the church of Saint Sophia. Admiral Notaras cynically observed that the Greeks preferred the turban of the prophet to the tiara of the pope. It must, however, be acknowledged that the seeds of union sown by the missionaries and by the envoys of Rome have never been completely stifled. There have always been Greeks who were sincerely Catholics, even in the darkest days of their country's history. Among them some have always defended with their pens, and often at the risk of their lives, the unity of the Church and the primacy of Rome. Demetracopoulos, it is true, has published a lengthy list of the principal anti-Roman writers among the Greeks, but it would be easy to prepare another very large work of the same kind exhibiting the pro-Catholic activity of many Greeks. John Veccos (Beccos), George Acropolites, Isidore of Kiev, Bessarion, Arcudius, Allatius, are names that carry weight with any unbiassed historian, and they had many disciples and imitators.

With few exceptions the popes have always leaned to the religious policy of recovering the East by every means of pacification and, when necessary, by theological controversy. This last means, however, was as a rule foredoomed to failure. Polemics have rarely converted anyone, and when carried on, as in the Middle Ages, with syllogisms and, above all, with insults and outrages, then, instead of conciliating and calming angry souls, they leave behind them only bitterness, asperity, and sometimes hate. If the popes, however, were misled in their choice of weapons, or rather, if their religious representatives in the East abused controversy and polemic, it must be conceded that the popes stopped there. The violent solution of the Eastern question by the sword -- the crusade which was to profit only the Westerns -- was no doing of the popes. In his stirring appeal at Clermont-Ferrand that set afoot the first armed enterprise, Urban II exhorted the Christians of the West to save their brethren in the East, even before undertaking to free Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulchre. Moreover -- it is almost too well known to need repeating here -- Innocent III denounced vigorously the diversion of the Fourth Crusade to an attack on Zara and Constantinople for the almost exclusive profit of Venice. From 1261 to 1282 (the Sicilian Vespers) Charles of Anjou was hindered from making war on Michael Palæologus and recapturing Constantinople solely by the influence of the Roman Curia. It would therefore be an injustice to blame the popes for the abortive issue of the Crusades. Had they been supported earnestly by East and West alike, Christendom would have fared immeasurably better. Unfortunately, the Catholic States, especially the Italian Republics, were too selfish to grasp the high moral and religious significance of the conduct and aims of the popes. As a rule, the only success of contemporary politicians was in embarrassing the popes. The East, moreover, it must be admitted, did its share in frustrating the work of the Crusades. Far from assisting the generous West in its sublime effort to save Christendom, the Greeks saw in the Crusades only sources of profit for themselves or attempted to hinder their success. While their theologians and polemical writers showed more rudeness and spleen in controversy than did the Latins, their princes and emperors were likewise less disinterested than the leaders of the Crusades. It is to be carefully noted that the crusading movement was by no means a complete failure. At the time of the First Crusade, in the eleventh century, the Turks were in possession of Nicæa, within a stone's throw of Constantinople. Before the Frankish knights Islam retreated, or at least ceased its conquests, in Asia Minor, in Syria, and even in Egypt. And if in the fourteenth century it was enabled to resume its conquering march and cross into Europe, a menace to Christian civilization, it was in consequence of the cessation of the Crusades. Nor must the foundation of the many Catholic institutions in the East, which long outlasted the Crusades, be reckoned as useless. It was their slow but continuous efforts that paved the way for the emancipation of many Christian peoples from the Turkish yoke, and brought about in those countries that increasing influence of the Catholic religion which we now behold. "More important perhaps", says M. Bréhier in "L'Eglise et l'Orient au moyen âge: les Croisades" (Paris, 1907), p. 354, "are the results which the Crusades never dreamed of and which sprang from the contact of Christendom and the Orient. The very complex question as to what European civilization owes to the East cannot be discussed here; yet every day we find traces of the charm which the culture of the East exercised on Europe before and during the Crusades. What we are most concerned with is the advance thus made in geographical knowledge and, in consequence, in the spread of European civilization by expeditions and travels in the East. Asia was really discovered in the thirteenth century by those Italian missionaries and merchants who were the guests of the Mongolian Khans. For the first time since the expedition of Alexander, countries which until then had remained in the penumbra of legend appeared as a reality." Literature, finally, owes much to the Crusades, which, by the literary relations they established between the Latin and Greek worlds, called forth the magnificent movement of the Renaissance.
Reply
#2
I know you mean well Vetus, but what does this have to do with doctrine?  I'm aware of the politics Vetus.  Despite all of it, I agree with Orthodoxy on doctrine which has its roots firmly in the beginning of Christianity as opposed to Roman Catholicisms innovative doctrines arrived at in the Middle Ages.  Again, I know you mean well but each of us can throw out our own side of history.  You'll say such and such from the RC prospective, I'll say such and such from the Orthodox perspective.  Who knows which is right?  Neither of us were there and the writers we are citing from both sides are biased, lets be honest.  However, doctrine and dogma we can talk about objectively. 

Reply
#3
(06-24-2009, 07:14 PM)Borromeo Wrote: Despite all of it, I agree with Orthodoxy on doctrine which has its roots firmly in the beginning of Christianity as opposed to Roman Catholicisms innovative doctrines arrived at in the Middle Ages. 

Innovative? There is no "cut-off" from guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit didn't guide 7 councils and then say "that is enough, stick with it".

The doctrine doesn't change, it is only refined and appended. While denying what the Orthodox do does relieve the stress caused by the modern attacks on the Church, it involved a denial of the Truth. The Truth which will set you free. The Truth which Satan hates.
Reply
#4
(06-24-2009, 07:14 PM)Borromeo Wrote: However, doctrine and dogma we can talk about objectively.

Objectively speaking, Christ founded the Church upon St. Peter not upon the Patriarch of Constantinople or Moscow. Objectively speaking, all early Church fathers agreed that "Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia". Now, if you want to buy the eastern schismatic propaganda without looking at the facts of history, fine. However, you owe to yourself and to your soul at least to consider the catholic side of things.

In the end, only the grace of God can convert you.
Reply
#5
(06-24-2009, 07:18 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: In the end, only the grace of God can convert you.

And personal acceptable. God doesn't force us to accept.
Reply
#6
(06-24-2009, 07:19 PM)Rosarium Wrote:
(06-24-2009, 07:18 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote: In the end, only the grace of God can convert you.

And personal acceptable. God doesn't force us to accept.

I personaly accept the Orthodox Church and with that I sense a great burden has been lifted off of me. 

I sincerely thank you for your concern.

God bless.
Reply
#7
(06-24-2009, 07:32 PM)Borromeo Wrote: I personaly accept the Orthodox Church and with that I sense a great burden has been lifted off of me.
 

What burden? The burden of truth? Being christian is hard.

You seriously need to do a profound re-read of Church history and you need to pray more than ever before so that God may grant you the grace of conversion. Have you read anything that has been posted on these forums? Have you read the threads about "Saint" Photius and Michael Caerularius that I posted recently (besides this one)? You (and Robb) apparently only give credit to the eastern schismatic side.

I don't know your personal disappointments regarding the Church but schism and heresy is the worst "solution" you could find.

Quote:I sincerely thank you for your concern.

We will keep praying for you.
Reply
#8
(06-24-2009, 07:32 PM)Borromeo Wrote: I personaly accept the Orthodox Church and with that I sense a great burden has been lifted off of me. 
I have decided to "carry my cross" in the Church.

Quote:I sincerely thank you for your concern.

God bless.
Life is hard, and we have no way of knowing how much another has to work, so we cannot judge, and I will pray you find truth in all things.

Reply
#9
Vetus,

Let me repeat:  I am not personally disappointed in the Roman Catholic church.  I just deny many of their doctrines, therefore that makes me not a Roman Catholic...right?  Unlike the current pope and many of the RC bishops, I can't attend a RC Mass and pretend I'm Catholic when I know in my mind and heart that I do not subscribe to its doctrines, beliefs, devotions, etc, etc.  That, my friend, is a burden.  To live a lie (I mean no disrespect to Benedict XVI)  is HUGE burden.  My entire understanding of God is much closer to the Orthodox than the RC.  I'm a fish out of water in the RC church, most especially in the traditional RC church. 
Reply
#10
(06-24-2009, 07:45 PM)Borromeo Wrote: Vetus,

Let me repeat:   I am not personally disappointed in the Roman Catholic church.  I just deny many of their doctrines, therefore that makes me not a Roman Catholic...right?  Unlike the current pope and many of the RC bishops, I can't attend a RC Mass and pretend I'm Catholic when I know in my mind and heart that I do not subscribe to its doctrines, beliefs, devotions, etc, etc.  That, my friend, is a burden.  To live a lie (I mean no disrespect to Benedict XVI)  is HUGE burden.   My entire understanding of God is much closer to the Orthodox than the RC.  I'm a fish out of water in the RC church, most especially in the traditional RC church.   

What doctrines do you find unacceptable? Perhaps they aren't as burdensome to accept as you thought.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)