Okay, that's a little clearer. Well, it's hard to say exactly. 1054 is a pretty good start, since the mutual excommunications took place that year, but even then it was not certain that Rome would begin to form another religion. Many historians believe that the two could have been re-united if circumstances would have allowed it, but bitter feelings on both sides, as well as an ever-widening list of differences between the various rites (at the time there were many more than just Latin and Byzantine), perhaps caused a rift so large it could not be repaired. So the Schism really began about the time of the Chalcedonian Council, when West and Oriental began to separate from the East, and it continues with Latin innovations such as the Immaculate Conception.I have read many Orthodox articles regarding 1054 not being the Great Schism that everyone chalks it up to be. It was just an excommunication of certain "individuals", not certain Patriachates. This would certainly muddy the waters for me. To tie this in to my first question: How does this effect the saints we venerate? Such as Saint Francis of Assisi (I am only using him as a generic example)?
So the story is just too big to be told with one date, but if we have to pick a date, 1054 is certainly adequate.
Let's try an anology:
John and Susan get married in 1980. For the first 10 years they seem to have a good strong marriage. But then strains start to appear. In 1990, John loses his job, he starts drinking more, they are both under stress and there are several huge fights. However, they hang on in 1991, John gets a new job. The stress is reduced and things improve. But they aren't all the way back. John's new job has him working longer hours. Susan has more free time and over the next couple of years she takes up new activities that don't include John. As she spends more time on them and with the new friends associated with them, she's home less even John is not working. They are arguing more again. In 1995 things reach an explosive head, Susan leaves the house and goes to stay with a friend for 2 weeks. Eventually she comes home though, they reconcile and struggle on together for another year. Then there's another explosion and this time John storms out and files divorce papers in 1996. Again, two weeks later they meet for dinner, they try to reconcile, decide to see a councillor, maybe go on a trip together to try to work things out. The trip goes okay and John drops the divorce papers. But both are still feeling dissatisfied. Finally in 1997 they agree to a separation. Several times during the separation they meet, they have a nice time together, maybe even sleep together. But they also fight and neither can summon the will to get back together. So John re-files the divorce papers. Even then, they keep meeting occasionally talking, they both want to avoid divorce but they just can't seem to stay around each other more than 24 hours without fighting. Finally in 1998, the divorce becomes final. Even then, two years later, they meet at the party of a mutal friend, they have a great conversation, end up going home together. Things are great for week or two. And then there's another fight.
At what point did the two divorce? 1998. But roots of the divorce go much further back than that, you could as accurately say that the marriage, as a functioning relationship ended in in 1997 or 1996. And the relationship didn't completely end in 1998. Part linger, giving us 2000.
So let's say Susan took up pottery in 1991. Is that activity something that contributed to the divorce? Or to the marriage? Maybe, the time on her own, satisfying a creative impulse, helped strengthen her to deal with the troubles in her marriage and so helped her continue as long as she did; or maybe it was an escape, a part of her life she could shut John out of and thus a contributed to the divorce.
So 1054, the Roman delegate excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople and, by extension, anyone who remained in communion with him. Like John & Susan's divorce decree in 1998 that gives us a clear, formal date. But it doesn't mean that the West was perfectly Orthodox until 1054 and completely un-Orthodox (or heretical) after 1054. There was build-up. The issues that would eventually separate Rome from the Church started well before 1054, that's simply the date they reached a point that they could no longer be overlooked or worked around; and after 1054 Rome still retained many of the good things it had from the Church, but it was no longer a part of it.
Therefore, just because a practice was present in the West prior to 1054, doesn't make it Orthodox. Like Susan's pottery, one would have to examine it in light of Orthodoxy to see if it was a valid expression of Orthodoxy, or a symptom of the growing heterodoxy which would eventually lead Rome out of the Church. Practices after 1054 are even more problematic. Roman Catholics still believed many correct things (far more than, say, Muslims or Buddhists), and therefore they might develop useful thoughts or practices based on those correct things and without too much warping by the incorrect things. Or they might come up with a good idea that was also thoroughly mixed with their heterodox approach. It requires study, discernment, and, most importantly, submission to the Mind of the Church which was preserved in Orthodoxy to tell which was which (which is why, though I don't agree with them, I understand those who just take a blanket knee-jerk reaction of 'it's Western, avoid it'; they avoid the risk).