I recently have read the Catholic Encyclopedia article,"The Eastern Schism."ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š It can be found here: http://www.traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Encyclopedia/Eastern_Schism.html
Although I have many many questions concerning wht is written there, I was just wondering if the Orthodox who read this thread can perhaps comment on some selections that I feel are most likely to be objected by Orthodox.
I'm still trying to understand the 1054 Schism.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š It is really complicated, and I am not sure if I will ever completely see which side has the better argument.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š I apologize if I have asked similiar questions in the past.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š But, I really do appreciate each new Orthodox insight into what is written by the West against the East, especially since there aren't too many history books written from an Orthodox perspective.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š But in any case, here are the selections.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š To make responses easier, I have numbered each paragraph, even though the numbers do not necessarily suggest the numerical value of the paragraph in the source text.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š I also have underlined certain passages that I see as provocative:
We have already seen that the suffragans of the patriarchs would naturally follow their chiefs. If then Constantinople had stood alone her schism would have mattered comparatively little. What made the situation so serious was that the rest of the East eventually sided with her. That followed from her all too successful assumption of the place of chief see in the East. So the advance of Constantinople was doubly the cause of the great schism. It brought her into conflict with Rome and made the Byzantine patriarch almost inevitably the enemy of the pope; at the same time it gave him such a position that his enmity meant that of all the East.
This being so, we must remember how entirely unwarrantable, novel, and uncanonical the advance of Constantinople was. The see was not Apostolic, had no glorious traditions, no reason whatever for its usurpation of the first place in the East, but an accident of secular politics. The first historical Bishop of Byzantium was Metrophanes (315-25); he was not even a metropolitan, he was the lowest in rank a diocesan bishop could be, a suffragan of Heraclea. That is all his successors ever would have been, they would have had no power to influence anyone, had not Constantine chosen their city for his capital. All through their progress they made no pretense of founding their claims on anything but the fact that they were now bishops of the political capital. It was as the emperor's bishops, as functionaries of the imperial Court, that they rose to the second place in Christendom. The legend of St. Andrew founding their see was a late afterthought; it is now abandoned by all scholars. The claim of Constantinople was always frankly the purely Erastian one that as Caesar could establish his capital where he liked, so could he, the civil governor, give ecclesiastical rank in the hierarchy to any see he liked.
The 28th canon of Chalcedon says so in so many words. Constantinople has become the New Rome, therefore its bishop is to have like honour to that of the patriarch of Old Rome and to be second after him. It only needed a shade more insolence to claim that the emperor could transfer all papal rights to the bishop of the city where he held his court.
Let it be always remembered that the rise of Constantinople, its jealousy of Rome, its unhappy influence over all the East is a pure piece of Erastianism, a shameless surrender of the things of God to Caesar. And nothing can be less stable than to establish ecclesiastical rights on the basis of secular politics. The Turks in 1453 cut away the foundation of Byzantine ambition. There is now no emperor and no Court to justify the oecumenical patriarch's position. If we were to apply logically the principle on which he rests, he would sink back to the lowest place and the patriarchs of Christendom would reign at Paris, London, New York. Meanwhile the old and really canonical principle of the superiority of Apostolic sees remains untouched by political changes. Apart from the Divine origin of the papacy, the advance of Constantinople was a gross violation of the rights of the Apostolic Sees of Alexandria and Antioch. We need not wonder that the popes, although their first place was not questioned, resented this disturbance of ancient rights by the ambition of the imperial bishops.
But Photius had formed an anti-Roman party which was never afterwards dissolved. The effect of his quarrel, though it was so purely personal, though it was patched up when Ignatius died, and again when Photius fell, was to gather to a head all the old jealousy of Rome at Constantinople. We see this throughout the Photian Schism. The mere question of that usurper's pretended rights does not account for the outburst of enmity against the pope, against everything Western and Latin that we notice in government documents, in Photius's letters, in the Acts of his synod in 879, in all the attitude of his party. It is rather the rancour of centuries bursting out on a poor pretext; this fierce resentment against Roman interference comes from men who know of old that Rome is the one hindrance to their plans and ambitions. Moreover, Photius gave the Byzantines a new and powerful weapon. The cry of heresy was raised often enough at all times; it never failed to arouse popular indignation. But it had not yet occurred to any one to accuse all the West of being steeped in pernicious heresy. Hitherto it had been a question of resenting the use of papal authority in isolated cases. This new idea carried the war into the enemy's camp with a vengeance. Photius's six charges are silly enough, so silly that one wonders that so great a scholar did not think of something cleverer, at least in appearance. But they changed the situation to the Eastern advantage. When Photius calls the Latins "liars, fighters against God, forerunners of Antichrist", it is no longer a question merely of abusing one's ecclesiastical superiors. He now assumes a more effective part; he is the champion of orthodoxy, indignant against heretics.
After Photius, John Bekkos says there was "perfect peace" between East and West. But the peace was only on the surface. Photius's cause did not die. It remained latent in the party he left, the party that still hated the West, that was ready to break the union again at the first pretext, that remembered and was ready to revive this charge of heresy against Latins. Certainly from the time of Photius hatred and scorn of Latins was an inheritance of the mass of the Byzantine clergy. How deeply rooted and far-spread it was, is shown by the absolutely gratuitous outburst 150 years later under Michael Caerularius (1043-58). For this time there was not even the shadow of a pretext. No one had disputed Caerularius's right as patriarch; the pope had not interfered with him in any way at all. And suddenly in 1053 he sends off a declaration of war, then shuts up the Latin churches at Constantinople, hurls a string of wild accusations, and shows in every possible way that he wants a schism, apparently for the mere pleasure of not being in communion with the West. He got his wish. After a series of wanton aggressions, unparalleled in church history, after he had begun by striking the pope's name from his diptychs, the Roman legates excommunicated him (16 July, 1054). But still there was no idea of a general excommunication of the Byzantine Church, still less of all the East. The legates carefully provided against that in their Bull. They acknowledged that the emperor (Constantine IX, who was excessively annoyed at the whole quarrel), the Senate, and the majority of the inhabitants of the city were "most pious and orthodox". They excommunicated Caerularius, Leo of Achrida, and their adherents.
This quarrel, too, need no more have produced a permanent state of schism than the excommunication of any other contumacious bishop. The real tragedy is that gradually all the other Eastern patriarchs took sides with Caerularius, obeyed him by striking the pope's name from their diptychs, and chose of their own accord to share his schism. At first they do not seem to have wanted to do so. John III of Antioch certainly refused to go into schism at Caerularius's bidding. But, eventually, the habit they had acquired of looking to Constantinople for orders proved too strong. The emperor (not Constantine IX, but his successor) was on the side of his patriarch and they had learned too well to consider the emperor as their over-lord in spiritual matters too. Again, it was the usurped authority of Constantinople, the Erastianism of the East that turned a personal quarrel into a great schism. We see, too, how well Photius's idea of calling Latins heretics had been learned. Caerularius had a list, a longer and even more futile one, of such accusations. His points were different from those of Photius; he had forgotten the Filioque, and had discovered a new heresy in our use of azyme bread. But the actual accusations mattered little at any time, the idea that had been found so useful was that of declaring that we are impossible because we are heretics. It was offensive and it gave the schismatical leaders the chance of assuming a most effective pose, as defenders of the true Faith.
In a sense the schism was now complete. What had been from the beginning two portions of the same Church, what had become two entities ready to be divided, were now two rival Churches. Yet, just as there had been schisms before Photius, so there have been reunions after Caerularius. The Second Council of Lyons in 1274 and again the Council of Florence in 1439 both arrived at a reunion that people hoped would close the breach for ever. Unhappily, neither reunion lasted, neither had any solid basis on the Eastern side. The anti-Latin party, foreshadowed long ago, formed and organized by Photius, had under Caerularius become the whole "Orthodox" Church. This process had been a gradual one, but it was now complete. At first the Slav Churches (Russia, Servia, Bulgaria, etc.) saw no reason why they should break communion with the West because a patriarch of Constantinople was angry with a pope. But the habit of looking to the capital of the empire eventually affected them too. They used the Byzantine Rite, were Easterns; so they settled on the Eastern side. Caerularius had managed cleverly to represent his cause as that of the East; it seemed (most unjustifiably) that it was a question of Byzantines versus Latins.
At Lyons, and again at Florence, the reunion (on their side) was only a political expedient of the Government. The emperor wanted Latins to fight for him against the Turks. So he was prepared to concede anything — till the danger was over. It is clear that on these occasions the religious motive moved only the Western side. We had nothing to gain; we wanted nothing from them. The Latins had everything to offer, they were prepared to give their help. All they wanted in return was that an end should be made of the lamentable and scandalous spectacle of a divided Christendom. For the religious motive the Byzantines cared nothing; or rather, religion to them meant the continuation of the schism. They had called us heretics so often that they had begun to believe it. Reunion was an unpleasant and humiliating condition in order that a Frank army might come and protect them. The common people had been so well drilled in their hatred of Azymites and creed-tamperers, that their zeal for what they thought Orthodoxy prevailed over their fear of the Turk. "Rather the turban of the Sultan that the tiara of the Pope" expressed their mind exactly. When the bishops who had signed the decrees of reunion came back, each time they were received with a storm of indignation as betrayers of the Orthodox faith. Each time the reunion was broken almost as soon as it was made. The last act of schism was when Dionysius I of Constantinople (1467-72) summoned a synod and formally repudiated the union (1472). Since then there has been no intercommunion; a vast "Orthodox" Church exists, apparently satisfied with being in schism with the bishop whom it still recognizes as the first patriarch of Christendom.
In this deplorable story we notice the following points. It is easier to understand how a schism continues than how it began. Schisms are easily made; they are enormously difficult to heal. The religious instinct is always conservative; there is always a strong tendency to continue the existing state of things. At first the schismatics were reckless innovators; then with the lapse of centuries their cause seems to be the old one; it is the Faith of the Fathers. Eastern Christians especially have this conservative instinct strongly. They fear that reunion with Rome would mean a betrayal of the old Faith, of the Orthodox Church, to which they have clung so heroically during all these centuries. One may say that the schism continues mainly through force of inertia.
In its origin we must distinguish between the schismatical tendency and the actual occasion of its outburst. But the reason of both has gone now. The tendency was mainly jealousy caused by the rise of the See of Constantinople. That progress is over long ago. The last three centuries Constantinople has lost nearly all the broad lands she once acquired. There is nothing the modern Orthodox Christian resents more than any assumption of authority by the oecumenical patriarch outside his diminished patriarchate. The Byzantine see has long been the plaything of the Turk, wares that he sold to the highest bidder. Certainly now this pitiful dignity is no longer a reason for the schism of nearly 100,000,000 Christians. Still less are the immediate causes of the breach active. The question of the respective rights of Ignatius and Photius leaves even the Orthodox cold after eleven centuries; and Caerularius's ambitions and insolence may well be buried with him. Nothing then remains of the original causes.
There is not really any question of doctrine involved. It is not a heresy, but a schism. The Decree of Florence made every possible concession to their feelings. There is no real reason why they should not sign that Decree now. They deny papal infallibility and the Immaculate Conception, they quarrel over purgatory, consecration by the words of institution, the procession of the Holy Ghost, in each case misrepresenting the dogma to which they object. It is not difficult to show that on all these points their own Fathers are with those of the Latin Church, which asks them only to return to the old teaching of their own Church.
That is the right attitude towards the Orthodox always. They have a horror of being latinized, of betraying the old Faith. One must always insist that there is no idea of latinizing them, that the old Faith is not incompatible with, but rather demands union with the chief see which their Fathers obeyed. In canon law they have nothing to change except such abuses as the sale of bishoprics and the Erastianism that their own better theologians deplore. Celibacy, azyme bread, and so on are Latin customs that no one thinks of forcing on them. They need not add the Filioque to the Creed; they will always keep their venerable rite untouched. Not a bishop need be moved, hardly a feast (except that of St. Photius on 6 Feb.) altered. All that is asked of them is to come back to where their Fathers stood, to treat Rome as Athanasius, Basil, Chrysostom treated her. It is not Latins, it is they who have left the Faith of their Fathers. There is no humiliation in retracing one's steps when one has wandered down a mistaken road because of long-forgotten personal quarrels. They too must see how disastrous to the common cause is the scandal of the division. They too must wish to put an end to so crying an evil. And if they really wish it the way need not be difficult. For, indeed, after nine centuries of schism we may realize on both sides that it is not only the greatest it is also the most superfluous evil in Christendom.