Schism of 1054 Rifts the Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Although the split between the two factions was largely created by political motives, these were based upon or made manifest in varying ecclesiastical practices which each side accused the other of as being heretical. These viewpoints of the differing ecclesiastical customs were conceived of during the epoch in which there was a singular conception of Christianity, and any variance from that was considered incorrect, both morally and otherwise, and deserving of grounds for one to be "anathematized" (Humbert 9) what was perceived as the true and proper form of Christian practice. When attempting to analyze which of these factions was correct in its viewpoints of the proper religious customs of this religion, it is important to note that the Byzantine empire's version of Christianity was largely orthodox, and was based upon the original texts and practices of Christianity as disseminated directly from the Bible.

To that end, it should be understood that several points of variance between these two factions can be attributed to the papacy's proclivity for varying with orthodox practices written about in the Bible. The history of the Catholic church's corruption, particularly during the Reformation which took place centuries after the Schism of 1054, does not endear the Church in several respects. One of the differences between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity had to do with the divinity and regard of Jesus himself. Whereas traditional Christianity states that the Holy Ghost stems from God himself, "In the eighth century the Latin church began adding the phrase "and from the Son" to the Creed" (Gregory 7). The following quotation appears to justify the Byzantine perspective of this 'heresy'.

…we do not wish to temper with the sacred and holy creed, which holds its authority inviolate from synodal and ecumenical decrees, by the use of wrongful arguments and illegal reasoning and extreme boldness. And unlike them we do not wish to say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son -- O what artifice of the devil! But rather we say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father" (Cerularius and the Bishops in Constantinople 10)

Although this quotation may be extreme in its working, its point is well taken. The Catholic church altered one of the religious creeds (a fundamental one at that) by adding "and the son" to attribute the Holy Ghost coming from Jesus, and was not authorized to do so.

Another point of contention between the pair of churches was related to the question of hair, beards, and how long they were allowed to be. In regards to this matter, the orthodoxy of the empire centered in Constantinople refers to the Bible as the authority, which the following quotation indicates in which Cerularius accuses the papacy of not following such written mandates. "But we declare that they do not follow the Scripture which says "Do not shave your beards" (Cerularius and the Bishops in Constantinople 10). The church of Rome refutes this claim, or rather accuses the Byzantine ecclesiastical body of heresy for following this tradition, by basing their logic on the authority of the Roman church -- which the following quotation delineates, and which cannot be considered the same source of authority as that of the Bible.

…also, they [the Nazarenes], preserving their hair and beards, do not receive into communion those who, according to the custom of the Roman church, cut their hair and shave their beards. Although admonished by our Lord Pope Leo regarding these errors and many others of his deeds, Michael [Cerularius]…(Humbert 9)

This quotation indicates that Humbert is criticizing Michael for not following the "custom" of the "Roman church" by allowing his practitioners to not shave their beards or cut their hair. The authority on such a practice should not be a single church (headed by a man), but a single source, such as the Bible, with which churches are based upon, and which permits for hair beards and long hair.

When the prudent scholar stops to examine the orthodoxy and the justification for many of the claims made by the Byzantine Empire's Christian church, it becomes apparent that they are corroborated by sources more credible than that which the papacy uses to buttresses its viewpoints. In that respect it would appear that the Christianity professed by the former was more correct than that professed by the latter.


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