The Great Schism Essay

The Great Schism
The great schism also known as the East – West Schism, was the event that divided Christianity into 2 groups, the Western (roman) Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodoxy. Throughout the year of 1054, the church remained largely unchanged, it grew in power and became more and more insular. But then due to pressures from within the church, it experienced its first major spilt which is now known as “The Great Schism”. Papal authority, geography and language, liturgical practices and sacraments, sacred icons instead of statues, married priests and the belief of trinity were the primary reasons for the “split”.

The main reason as to why the church split was papal authority. The church of rome came under the authority of the bishop of rome who declared himself as the pope and more important than all the other bishops. But then disputes occurred when the church of constantinople claimed authority because it was the capital of the roman empire. This impacted on the Christian community as now the church was beginning to form 2 groups, the western and the eastern.

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The geography and the language became another evident problem in Christianity. To the ares of the west of rome, including western Europe, Latin was the predominant language and it became very evident that the western church would run in Latin. The western church is run under the Pope – the bishop of Rome. The areas of the East of rome including, Eastern europe and constantinople has Greek as its predominant language and because of that the Eastern areas would be under the authority of the eastern orthodox church and that the language of the church would be greek.

The West and the East both have different ways on celebrating the liturgical practices and sacraments. For example the western church emphasised on letting the people see what was happening the behind the altar. It was a time for community sharing. Whereas the eastern christians emphasised the mystery of the eucharist as it would be concealed behind curtains and a fixed screen called and iconstasis.

Another reason why the great schism occurred was because of the rules in
becoming a priest and joining the priesthood. In the western church to join the priesthood, you are not allowed to get married at any stage in life and must take the vow of celibacy. On the other hand, the eastern church continued to ordain some married deacons. Although in the eastern church married men were allowed to become deacons, the did not allow deacons o then become married.

The filioque phrase also had an impact on the great schism.

Overall, the great schism resulted in a deep split between the churches which still exists today. Because of their isolation from each other, each church developed different ways of celebration and worshipping God. Today we have over 35000 variants and denominations of Christianity and it is becoming very evident that the spirit and co-operation of these groups is very important.