By Anastasios Philippides
Source 1, 2, 3, 4: Ekklesiastiki Paremvasi, "ΗΜΕΡΕΣ ΤΟΥ ΣΧΙΣΜΑΤΟΣ 1054", May - September 2004. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ: Ημέρες του Σχίσματος 1054
ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ: Ημέρες του Σχίσματος 1054
On the morning of Saturday 16 July 1054, shortly before the Divine Liturgy began in Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, three strangers with strange clothes entered the Sacred Sanctuary and placed on the Holy Altar a document, and they distanced themselves. When they reached the narthex they yelled out in a loud voice: "Videat Deus et judicet" ("Let God see and judge"), and they left. The three strangers, led by Cardinal Humbert, were emissaries of the Pope and the document contained serious charges and an anathema against the Patriarch himself, Michael Cerularios. Four days later a Synod in Constantinople anathematized in order the authors of this document. On Sunday 24 July the anathema was officially read in Hagia Sophia.
These events were recorded in history as the definitive Schism between the Eastern and Western Church. As this year marks nine hundred and fifty years since 1054, we will dedicate a series of articles on the historical circumstances of the time, which sealed a divide that has not been bridged until today. As for the theological differences and the underlying causes of the Schism, others will certainly speak of this more appropriately. In these articles we will settle for a historical presentation of the time, in order to understand the context in which the Schism took place.
The first thing that makes an impression on the researcher who examines the sources for the decade of the 1050's is that none of the contemporary or slightly later historians of Byzantium who covered this time say anything about the Schism. Neither Psellos nor Attaliates nor Manasses nor Zonaras, no one. Especially Psellos, who wrote a voluminous and detailed history and had a fierce political antipathy towards Patriarch Michael Cerularios, and one would expect him to use these events to discredit his opponent. A reference only exists in the obituary for Cerularios given by Psellos where he speaks of the sedition of elder Rome against New Rome ("revolt" is the word used).
It seems that the contemporaries of the Schism evaluated very differently the event than the historians of the following centuries. To understand why this happened, we will need to transport ourselves to the eleventh century and the political and spiritual conditions that prevailed just before 1054.
1. The Times
In 1054 the Byzantine Empire was still living in its "golden age". Its boundaries stretched to the greatest extent it had known from the previous 300 years. Their strong opponents of the past centuries - Persians, Arabs, Franks, Bulgarians - were eliminated or weakened to a degree that they were no longer a threat. The Macedonian Dynasty led the Roman banner on consecutive triumphs, recovering areas such as Crete, Cyprus and Antioch. In the East, as noted by Haralambos Papasotiriou, Byzantium had imposed a "hegemonic peace". For the first time in four centuries the inhabitants of Asia Minor were safe from external invasions, and the borders reached once again beyond the Euphrates. From the tenth century the Arab Empire began to break apart and decline. Already from 929 the Emir of Spain became a self-proclaimed caliph, creating a rival political center in relation to Baghdad. During the tenth century Syria, Arabia and Egypt became autonomous. The largest of these states was founded by the Fatimids in Egypt installing a rival caliphate based in Cairo (969) who refused the legitimacy of Baghdad. With time, Cairo surpassed Baghdad in wealth and power, but was no threat to the Byzantine territories.
The same was true in the Balkans. With the conquest of the Bulgarian uprising in 1018, Constantinople had imposed its authority to the Danube and the Adriatic sea.
In Western Europe, the invasions of the Vikings and Magyars in the tenth century had destroyed every single residue of the Frankish Empire of Charlemagne. Countless dukes and kings became independent and imposed their rule on the land they occupied. Only gradually during the eleventh and twelfth century some of them will create stronger states.
In short, Byzantium had become the main superpower of the known world. As summarized by Emperor Constantine Monomachos (1042-1055): "Our opponents are calmed, our citizens live in peace, much tranquility reigns among the Romans and nothing is carrying us down with care." Indeed, the illusion of "lasting peace" that spread in Byzantine society allowed the demobilization of the population and led to the neglect of the army and the development of mercenary forces, with unpleasant consequences later.
It was a time of great prosperity and cultural growth. There were established new schools, such as the Law School of Constantinople with Xiphilinos as the first professor, new monasteries, old age homes, places to care for the poor, etc. Michael Psellos, one of the great polymaths of the Middle Ages, taught at the University of Constantinople. From this period there are preserved fine specimens of iconography in mosaics from the Monastery of the Venerable Luke in Boeotia, New Monastery in Chios and frescoes from Hagia Sophia in Ochrid. It is also the time of a great spiritual peak. From 963 the monasteries of Mount Athos began to be established and they will become the grand spiritual center of Orthodoxy. Saint Nilus founded the famous Monastery of Grottaferrata fifteen miles south of Rome. The figure of Saint Symeon the New Theologian dominated the first decades of the eleventh century. His disciple and biographer, Saint Niketas Stethatos, will take part in the discussions with the Latins in 1054.
This was unlike the West, where prior to the year 1050 it has been aptly called "the barbarization of Europe". The incessant raids by Vikings and Magyars in the tenth century destroyed not only the economy but also the few cities and transport networks. Populations accumulated in densely populated self-sufficient villages who cared only for their physical survival. One cannot speak of cultural creation. The Church in the West had fallen into utmost decay, with simony and immorality becoming the norm and many (official) celibate clergy cohabited with women. Across Frankish occupied Europe the Church was secularized.
Ecclesiastical property was confiscated since the time of Pepin and Charlemagne and was distributed to their trusted courtiers. With the inclusion of the feudal system, positions and properties were distributed by the local feudal lord, who also oversaw the ordinations of clergy of all ranks. A famous example of the debasement even of the episcopal throne is offered in the narrative of the Viscount of Narbonne (France), Berenger, at the Synod of Toulouse regarding the acquisition of the Archdiocese of Narbonne: "When my uncle the Archbishop of Narbonne died, Count Wilfred of Cerdanya, a relative of my wife, came to Narbonne and approached my parents and myself to gain the Archdiocese for his son who was then ten years old. And he offered a huge gift of one hundred thousand solidi to my father ... We gave it to his son Wilfred ... and he was installed in the cathedral and increased in age ... But then, unexpectedly, ... a fierce war was launched against me with a large army."
In light of these things, it is not at all strange that Constantinople showed indifference to the developments in the fragmented West. Even the papal office had become the subject of a bitter dispute between the aristocratic families of Rome (initially) and the Romans and Franks (afterwards), so that the alternations to the throne became so frequent that it reinforced the indifference of Constantinople. It is worth mentioning that a few years prior to 1054 there were in Rome at the same time three self-proclaimed Popes. Therefore, as authoritative historians have noted, it was probably impossible for the Patriarchate to handle very seriously the conduct of Cardinal Humbert in 1054.
The eleventh century, however, was a century of profound changes both in Byzantium and the West. Already in the middle of the century there began to materialize signs of great crisis that would lead to the final decline of the Byzantine Empire. Successive incompetent emperors squandered huge surpluses amassed by the Treasury of Basil II who died in 1025. New enemies came to replace the old and incurred heavy blows on the state. The initial invasions of nomadic Seljuks converted gradually into a more permanent presence on the borders of Byzantium. In 1054 they besieged the strategic city of Manzikert. They failed, but seventeen years later they were much more successful. In 1055 they occupied Baghdad, the historic capital of the Arabs, where they will consolidate their sovereignty and will cease to be an ordinary nomadic raider.
Similarly in the West there appeared an important new factor that will play a catalytic role in the events of 1054 - the Normans, who first came to southern Italy as mercenaries in 1016. In 1041 they captured Melfi and began to expand autonomously, threatening both papal dominions and Byzantine territories. (The greater part of southern Italy was still under the Byzantine Empire.)
In Rome, the eleventh century is remembered in history as the century of major papal reform, which defined the character of the Papal Church until today. The reform was the result of a wide movement implemented during the decade of 1070 by Pope Gregory VII. The reform ideas, however, had begun to grow twenty years earlier, when Gregory, who was then called Hildebrand, served as chief secretary to the Papal See. Among the ideas put forward by the reform was that the whole of Christendom be under allegiance to the Pope. This meant not only the subjugation of other patriarchates, but even the secular powers. When Gregory VII launched the last aspect, it led inevitably to conflict with the German ruler during the decade of 1070. The conflict, known as the "struggle of investiture", marked western European history, both as an event and in that it sparked complex considerations of political philosophy on the relationship between the State and the Church.
The full extent of papal aspirations had not occurred, however, in the decade of the 1050's. Initial reforms addressed ecclesiastical administration and the ethics of clergy. The administration was reorganized under the monarchical model, away from the synodal system, perhaps reflecting the fact that all the reformers were Germans and not Romans. The Pope demanded recognition of universal jurisdiction authority with an absolute nature. In a first embodiment of this authority, in 1050 he deposed the Archbishop of Siponto in Apulia, who belonged to Constantinople, and abolished the Archdiocese, putting it under papal jurisdiction. It was the first show of power of the reformers. Note that in the areas where there was extended the domination of the Pope, the estates of Orthodox churches and monasteries were expropriated in favor of the Latins and only Latin bishops settled there.
The reforms touched all aspects of ecclesiastical life in the West, even that of monasticism. It is characteristic that during this time the Benedictine monks, who followed the rule of Saint Benedict (also commemorated by Orthodox), were slandered, and there appeared new, exclusively western orders, such as the Cluniac, the Cistercian and later the Dominican which were completely removed from the hesychastic tradition of the East. The newest research, however, tends to restore the image of the Benedictines, who, apparently, fell victim to the propaganda of the reformers, after the conquest of the papal throne.
At the same time, the reform of ecclesiastical power became autonomous from society: the people of Rome were eliminated from the election of the Pope with the Dictatus Papae of Nicholas II in 1059, while it imposed strict celibacy on the clergy, thus creating a spiritual elite cut off from the people. The Schism of 1054 can be seen as the inevitable clash of reformers with the Eastern Church, when they sought to impose new claims throughout Christendom.
Pope John XVI the Benevolent
2. The Stages of the Schism
The Schism was in fact gradual. However, influenced by papal propaganda for many centuries, historians often refer to "schisms" of the 5th, 7th and especially of the 9th (under Photios) centuries, which never happened. Nowadays, thanks to the extensive research of Francis Dvornik and Fr. John Romanides, the truth is gradually being restored. So the stages that led to the Schism of 1054 are not the iconoclastic stance of Constantinople in the 8th century, nor some mythical excommunication of Photios in the 9th century. All these, as well as prior disputes, were resolved over time and validated formally in Synods with the participation of the Eastern Patriarchates and the Pope.
The actual stages that led to 1054 were the following four:
The first step took place in 794 when the Franks under Charlemagne convened the Synod of Frankfurt which rejected the Seventh Ecumenical Synod of 787. Thus the Frankish Church differed from the rest of the Church. Then, in 809, the Franks formalized the Filioque at the Synod of Aachen, thus introducing into the Creed a doctrinal difference with the rest of the united Church. This movement of course was flatly rejected by Pope Leo III. This rejection was repeated at what is considered the Eighth Ecumenical Synod in 879. The Church of the five patriarchates remained united in the ninth century, but the Church of the Franks, who occupied a large part of Western Europe, was torn off.
The second step took place in 962 when the Saxon king Otto I came down with his army to Rome, and after intervening in a local dispute, he forced Pope John XII to crown him emperor. To secure the allegiance of each Pope, Otto legislated that all future Popes would have to swear their allegiance to him before being enthroned. Pope John XII did not accept this claim and Otto convened a meeting of Italian bishops which he "persuaded" to dethrone John and elect his own candidate, in 963. In this way the Pope was turned into an instrument of the German Empire. For the next one hundred years, 21 of the 25 Popes were chosen by the German king. The reaction of the Romans during this century, from Otto to 1054, was the familiar reaction of all people under occupation: some became collaborators of the Germans and some were resisters. Since this occupation never ended, history was written by the victors, and these years are remembered as a period of decline for the papal throne and Pope John XII especially is considered by most as among the most "immoral" Popes of history.
The third logical step was the final expulsion of the Romans from the Papal throne and their replacement with Germans. Because of the resistance of the Romans, several years were required to take this step. In 996 German Emperor Otto III appointed the first German Pope, his young cousin Bruno, who was renamed Gregory V. The new Pope was not recognized by Constantinople, either because he added the Filioque to the Creed or because he did not want to send a Recommendation Letter there. He was soon expelled by the Romans, who in turn elected a Roman, John the Benevolent.* He sent a Recommendation Letter to Constantinople and was recognized by it. Otto became outraged and went to Rome and restored Gregory V, and had John arrested and dismembered.** When Gregory died, Otto appointed the first French Pope, Gerbert d'Aurillac, renamed Sylvester II, who also was not recorded in the diptychs of Constantinople.
The last Orthodox Pope resigned (for unknown reasons) in 1009. This is the last year, until today, in which the name of a Pope was in the diptychs of Constantinople. It has been suggested that since then the German's popes finally replaced the Romans. It seems that this view is not correct, because in the next four decades there were Roman popes. However, as noted by Fr. John Romanides, they all came from German families and therefore officially introduced the Filioque into the Church of Rome in 1014. Later, the now German-held Papal Church recognized as a "saint" King Henry II (1002-1024), who achieved the final expulsion of the Orthodox Romans from the papal throne and the introduction of the Filioque. After an effort of two hundred years, the addition of the Filioque into the Church of Rome represented the triumph of German policy there.
The fourth step was the events of 1046-1049 in Rome. Due to Germanophile conflict and resistance, in 1046 there were three Popes simultaneously. The German king Henry III descended on Rome and drove all three out and appointed his own chosen one, but he died in less than a year. Henry appointed a second, but he lived only 23 days. There is the suspicion that both were victims of Roman resistance against the Germans. The third appointed by Henry was his cousin Leo IX, who was more fortunate and in whose days the critical delegation was sent with Humbert to Constantinople in 1054.
* He has become known to history as Antipope John XVI.
** The emperor's troops cut off his nose and ears, cut out his tongue, broke his fingers and blinded him, that he might not write, and publicly degraded him before Otto III and Gregory V. At the intercession of Saint Nilus the Younger, one of his countrymen, his life was spared: he was sent to the monastery of Fulda, in Germany, where he died about 1001.
3. The Summer of 1054
The events of 1054 directly caused the military developments in Southern Italy, when the balance of power was overthrown between the Papal State, the Byzantines and the Normans, because of the advancement of the latter. The friction, however, had begun in 1050, when the Pope appointed Cardinal Humbert as Archbishop of Sicily, of the subsequent fatal embassy of 1054, even though Sicily belonged to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and had not been conquered (yet) by the Normans. In retaliation, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularios, took measures against the Latin churches of Constantinople and urged Archbishop Leo of Ochrid to report in writing the Latin errors in 1053. The newest research, however, does not accept that the Patriarch closed the Latin churches in the City, as it was believed until recently. When Humbert was in Constantinople in 1054 he reformed some customs in certain churches there, so obviously the Latin churches of Constantinople must have remained open.
Throughout 1053 there were rapid military developments in Italy. Originally Pope Leo had no problem with the continuing Norman conquests, since they belonged to the Latin Church. But when they started approaching towards Rome, alarmed he sought an alliance with Constantinople, which also had an interest in stifling the Normans. Before the two allied armies managed to meet, the Normans conquered the Byzantines in February 1053 and captured the Pope himself in June 1053. During his captivity the Pope received the letter of Leo of Ochrid and instructed Cardinal Humbert to draft a response to the Patriarch. In this, using arguments from the Pseudo-Donation of Constantine, he defended the papal primacy. The emissaries carried the letter with them to Constantinople in 1054.
The delicate diplomatic balance of the time was reflected in the next two letters received by the Pope in captivity, one of Emperor Constantine Monomachos and the other by the Patriarch himself. The first was in a very friendly style, in favor of a closer political alliance, while the second by Cerularios was addressed with respect to the Pope and he prayed for the unity of the two Churches, without referring to the friction. However, the Pope ignored the whole style and reacted to the title "Ecumenical Patriarch" in which Cerularios signed. So he decided to send the papal delegation headed by Humbert to Constantinople in 1054. (It should be noted that eventually the Pope acknowledged the Normans and allied with them. In 1059 their leader Robert Guiscard took the title of duke together with power in Apulia and Calabria and with the right to extend to the principality of Sicily, if he could conquer it. From their part the Normans handed to Pope the Byzantine churches that were in their territory.)
What exactly happened in the summer of 1054?
When the three papal legates arrived in Constantinople, they treated the Patriarch in a contemptuous manner, refusing to honor him with the established veneration or even a typical head tilt to the right to show respect. When the letter of Pope Leo was read he criticized the Patriarch for the title "Ecumenical" and continued with a polemic on other issues. The Patriarch was disappointed so much that he refused to believe that it came from the papal office. He carefully examined the seals and ruled that the document was a forgery. (This probably was due to the recent change of stamps adopted by the Pope). Then Humbert presented a response to Leo of Ochrid, which had been drafted by the Latins. The Byzantines responded with a text by Niketas Stethatos against the use of unleavened bread, the celibacy of clergy and other things. Humbert reacted violently and abusively. Niketas Stethatos, however, was forced to be silenced by command of the Emperor who wanted to maintain the alliance with the Pope against the Normans. Humbert, encouraged, proceeded to a new attack by criticizing the Byzantines for not accepting the Filioque. Cerularios flatly refused to discuss it at that time, insisting that such a discussion should take place with the other Patriarchates of the East. Then Humbert decided to proceed with the anathematization.
The document of anathematization invites surprise today, as it is full of inaccuracies. The only logical conclusion is that the Latins were in desperate poverty of arguments to support the one thing that interested them, which was the authoritarian primacy of the Pope. We will list here some of the accusations it contained, together with a commentary (in parenthesis) by a modern non-Orthodox historian, Steven Runciman.
According to Runciman, the document placed by the papal envoys on the Holy Altar of Hagia Sophia on 16 July 1054 accused, among other things, everyone who supported Cerularios as being guilty of simony ("the major vice of the Western Church at the time, as Humbert knew better than anyone"), of encouraging castration ("a practice that also applied to Rome"), of insisting on re-baptizing Latins ("which was not true at that time"), of allowing priests to marry ("which was wrong: a married man could become a priest, but none already ordained could marry"), of baptizing women in labor, even if they were on the verge of death ("a good practice of the Ancient Church"), of refusing communion to shaved men ("which was not true, despite that the Greeks did not approve of shaven priests"), and, lastly, of omitting a clause in the Creed ("which was the exact opposite of the truth").
The release of this document caused a revolt among the people of Constantinople which resulted in a Synod condemning its authors.
Patriarch Michael Cerularios sitting on a throne with clergymen,
from the Chronicle of John Skylitzes
Patriarch Michael Cerularios sitting on a throne with clergymen,
from the Chronicle of John Skylitzes
4. The Impact of the Schism on Constantinople
After the first outrage, it seems Constantinople did not give great weight to the actions of the then weakened papal throne. In a climate of political and cultural superiority possessed by the Byzantines in the eleventh century, the actions of the West were probably viewed with disdain and contempt. The rude behavior of the papal envoys merely confirmed the Byzantine perception.
Besides Cerularios, the other church men of the time kept a low profile. For example, Patriarch Peter of Antioch and Archbishop Leo of Ochrid have quite a condescending tone in their writings. They believed that the Latins distanced themselves from the true path out of ignorance and that if they were corrected by the most learned and wise men of their Eastern brothers they could return to the straight path. Peter of Antioch wrote in a letter to Cerularios: "For they are our brethren, even if due to lack of education they have often strayed from the straight path." Also, in reference to the Papal Church he speaks of "Romans" to distinguish them from "Vandals", although he fears that the Romans may have been influenced by the Vandals.
It is remarkable that at first the Byzantines did not argue that the Western Church overall had fallen into error. In his correspondence Cerularios usually insisted that the Pope was not to blame for the mistakes of the West or for the feud with Humbert. He made a distinction between the Pope, whom he sought to be aligned with, and the "Franks" (those whom we call Normans). Besides, the Synod of Constantinople on 20 July 1054 did not condemn the Pope or the West in general, but it placed the responsibility on Humbert and the other envoys who brought the forged documents. Peter of Antioch insisted that if some Westerners were infringing the canons they did it without the knowledge of the Pope.
It is obvious that the Orthodox Church made an effort to maintain open channels of communication with the West, hoping that the papal envoys had acted arbitrarily, without the approval of the Pope, or that some next Pope would defeat the separatist views of his predecessor. That's why the first known reference to the Schism between Cerularios and Humbert dates much later, to the early 12th century.
Moreover, as has been rightly pointed out by modern historians, generally the protagonists of the period in Byzantium did not view the West as something monolithic, and therefore they did not feel that they lived in a world of the very distinct East-West. Instead, the collision of Rome-Constantinople saw different groups with different interests. In Italy, let's say, there was the Pope, the German Emperor, the Normans, the Lombards and the native Italians who considered themselves citizens of the Roman Empire of Constantinople. Many of the elements of the subsequent relations between Byzantium and the Westerners were not yet apparent. The perception of the West as a united threat, the popular antipathy towards the "Latins", all these will emerge later. You can say how even the very Schism itself gradually led to the construction of a monolithic West in the eyes of the Byzantines, and small subtleties bowed before the priority of demarcation between Orthodox and heretics.
5. The Aftermath of the Schism
The exhaustive research of the sources during the twentieth century led many historians to the conclusion that there was no definitive Schism in 1054. This view is supported by two streams of thought.
The first claims that even before 1054 there was a noted increase of distancing of the two Churches and that in 1054 nothing occurred except a formal seal of separation that already existed between the Greek and Latin speaking world. These two peoples were gradually estranged with the passing of the centuries and the Schism was merely the culmination of the rupture.
The second stream argues that the Schism did not take place in 1054 for the exact opposite reason: despite the cultural and theological differences and the events of 1054, both sides continued their contacts without showing that something definitive happened. Rather, since this was common from past conflicts, they believed that in time they could bridge again the transient gap. This is probably the reason why historians of the time did not consider it worthwhile to record the events of 1054. According to this view, the "definitive" event came at the Fourth Crusade and the Fall of Constantinople by the Westerners. The looting that followed the occupation of the country, the Frankish occupation, "radicalized" the population, "from the most learned theologians of Constantinople to the last farmers of the Peloponnese," as noted by Princeton University professor Tia Kolbaba. Then subsequently the events of 1054 acquired another meaning.
Runciman similarly writes that after the conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, "the Pope remained trapped between the pleasure of the total result and the antipathy of the methods, and so he lost the only opportunity to regain good will with the East. In a critical moment he showed that he lacked compassion and understanding, and he was never forgiven for this."
In our opinion, the truth lies somewhere between the two historiographical streams. It is a fact that the different historical developments of East and West and the cultural differences distanced the two peoples. By itself, however, this is not sufficient to create a schism. The three other Patriarchates of the East (Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem) also experienced a different historical development. For centuries there were huge differences on the cultural level between Constantinople and the Slavs. However, there was never a schism between them.
It is also true that in parts of the Byzantine Empire there were no signs of an irreversible rupture in the first years after 1054. In 1073, for example, Byzantine diplomats approached the Pope for an alliance against the Seljuks. The response was positive, although ultimately Constantinople secured the aid of the Normans and did not respond. In 1089, when Alexios I was interested in the dissolution of the alliance between the Pope and the Normans, he received envoys of Pope Urban II and consulted the Synod of Constantinople on the state of the Schism between the Churches. No official documentation has been found for the Schism in the archives of the Patriarchate, and Patriarch Nicholas III wrote to Rome offering a restoration of relations based on the customary condition of the Pope dispatching the confession of the Orthodox faith to Constantinople. "Apparently in the eyes of the Byzantines there was no official 'schism' of Churches, but only an alienation that could be remedied by a simple but formal elimination of the Filioque from the Latin Creed," notes Meyendorff. Of course, the Pope never responded, because he knew very well that the confession of faith with the addition of the Filioque would probably never be accepted in Constantinople. Therefore, although there was a disposition to bridge the differences by the Orthodox, at the same time they recognized that the maintaining of the Filioque was a cause for schism.
It is characteristic that around 1090 Theophylact of Ochrid wrote that a person steeped in the tradition of our Church knows that there is no custom important enough to cause a division of Churches, unless it leads to the destruction of doctrine. This is why he did not agree that the West committed an unforgivable sin regarding issues such as the use of unleavened bread. Conversely he believed that the Filioque was a traumatic error.
Unfortunately, despite the good will of the Orthodox, there was no response from the opposite side. Indeed if there was, it would have been a simple and brief cancellation of the anathemas, to excuse a typical problem: it could have been argued that the actions of the papal envoys lacked legitimacy because Pope Leo had died in April 1054 (the throne remained empty even in July) and therefore Humbert did not have the authorization to do what he did! However, after 1054 the Popes did not denounce the actions of Humbert and so the anathemas were kept in force. In fact, Leo's successor was appointed by the German king Henry III, Stephen IX, who, as Frederick of Lorraine, was one of the two attendants of the embassy of Humbert in 1054. Even though the new Pope was condemned by the Synod of Constantinople on 20 July 1054, it is clear that the choice was a conscious challenge to the Eastern Church and the suggested deeper policy of the Germans against the approach of both peoples. Finally in 1098 a synod in Bari officially condemned as heretics those who did not accept the Filioque, thus finalizing the Schism. It took nine hundred years to get to 1965 for the anathemas to be removed. It was, of course, too late.
In the centuries that followed after the Schism, Western theology took new paths, based on a rational treatment of the truths of the faith. Gradually, rationalism monopolized how to approach God in the West. The Papal Church was trapped in a particular philosophical school and identified with it. So when the scientific discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo and Newton led to the collapse of Western metaphysics, the Papal Church felt threatened and reacted in a known violent manner. Because of these developments, an entirely new culture was born in the West after the Schism. A dispute that began as theological and cultural has now altered the overall development of humanity.
The issue of the union of the Churches has not ceased to concern those who love the Church of Christ throughout the centuries. So far the efforts have proved futile. However, the obligation of the Orthodox remains.
We will close our study with the view of the great theologian of our time, Fr. John Romanides, which is the genuine Orthodox view and the only one based on the historical data:
"The simple lifting of the anathemas of 1054 cannot obtain unity. When we return to the state of things prior to 1054 we find ourselves again in a schism between the Latins and the Romans because of the Filioque." ... "We have a sacred duty, as it was also required by the Orthodox Roman Pope of Rome prior to 1009, to pursue the elimination of the Schism not by the lifting of the anathemas of 1054, but by removing the Filioque and the preconditions and results thereof."
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