Pope Leo IX and the Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Kerularius.
The main event in the church life of Europe was the final split of the churches, eastern and western, into Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholic in 1054. This split completed nearly two centuries of church-political debate. The great schism has become the main cause of many wars and other conflicts.
Why did the Great schism occur?
Even before 1054, disputes occurred repeatedly between the two capitals of the Christian world, Rome and Constantinople. And not all of them were caused by the actions of the popes, who in the first millennium of the new era were considered the legitimate heirs of ancient Rome, the supreme apostle Peter. The Church hierarchs of Constantinople more than once fell into heresy (deviation from the norms and rules of the dominant religion). In particular, in Monophysitism - the recognition of Jesus Christ only by God and the non-recognition of the human principle in him. The author is considered to be the Archimandrite of Constantinople Eutyches (about 378–454). Or iconoclasm - a religious movement in Byzantium in the 726th - early 730th centuries, directed against the veneration of icons and other church images (mosaics, frescoes, statues of saints, etc.). Iconoclast heretics considered church images to be idols, and the cult of veneration of icons as idolatry, referring to the Old Testament. Iconoclasts actively smashed religious images. Emperor Leo III Isaur in 787 and 843 banned the worship of religious images. Iconoclasm was banned by the Second Council of Nicaea in XNUMX, resumed at the beginning of the XNUMXth century and finally banned in XNUMX.
Meanwhile, in Rome, the reasons for a future split were ripening. They were based on the "papal primacy", which put the popes almost on a divine level. The popes were considered the direct heirs of the Apostle Peter and were not "first among equals." They were the “governors of Christ” and considered themselves the head of the whole church. The Roman throne strove for undivided not only ecclesiastical-ideological, but also political power. In Rome, in particular, they relied on a fake gift act - the Konstantinov Gift, made in the XNUMXth or XNUMXth century. The gift of Constantine spoke of the transfer by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great (XNUMXth century) of supreme power over the Roman Empire to the head of the Roman church, Sylvester. This act served as one of the main grounds for the claims of the popes to supreme authority both in the church and the highest authority in Europe.
In addition to papism, exorbitant thirst for power, there were religious reasons. So, in Rome they changed the Creed (the so-called question of the filioque). Even at the IV Ecumenical Council in 451 in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, it was said that it comes only from God the Father. The Romans arbitrarily added, "and from the Son." Finally in Rome they adopted this formula in 1014. In the East they did not accept this and accused Rome of heresy. Later, Rome will add other innovations that Constantinople will not accept: the dogma of the “Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary”, the dogma of “purgatory”, the infallibility (infallibility) of the pope in matters of faith (continuation of the idea of “papal primacy”), etc. All this will increase the strife.
The first split between the Western and Eastern churches occurred as early as 863–867. This is the so-called. Fotiev schism. The conflict occurred between Pope Nicholas and the Patriarch of Constantinople Photius. Formally, both hierarchs were equal - they headed two Local Churches. However, the pope tried to extend his power to the dioceses of the Balkan Peninsula, which were traditionally subordinate to the Church of Constantinople. As a result, both sides excommunicated each other from the church.
It all started as an internal conflict in the ruling elite and church of Constantinople. There was a struggle between conservatives and liberals. In the struggle for power between Emperor Michael III and his mother Theodora, Patriarch Ignatius, representing the Conservatives, sided with the Empress and was deposed. The scientist Photius was elected in his place. He was supported by liberal circles. Supporters of Ignatius declared Photius an illegal patriarch and turned to the Pope for help. Rome used the situation to reinforce the doctrine of the “papal primacy", trying to become the top arbiter in the dispute. Pope Nicholas refused to recognize Photius as patriarch. Photius raised the question of the heresy of the Romans (the question of the filioque). Both sides exchanged curses.
In 867, the Byzantine Basileus Michael, who supported Photius, was killed. The throne was captured by Vasily the Great (co-regent of Michael), the founder of the Macedonian dynasty. Basil deposed Photius and restored Ignatius to the patriarchal throne. Thus, Vasily wanted to gain a foothold on the seized throne: to receive the support of the pope and the people in which Ignatius was popular. Emperor Vasily and Patriarch Ignatius in their letters to the pope recognized the strength and influence of the latter on the affairs of the Eastern Church. The patriarch even called on the Roman vicars (assistant to the bishop) to "kindly and properly arrange a church with them." It seemed that this was the complete victory of Rome over Constantinople. At the cathedrals in Rome and then, in the presence of papal envoys, in Constantinople (869), Photius was deposed and, together with his supporters, was put to a curse.
However, while in the affairs of the Byzantine church life, Constantinople ceded to Rome, in matters of control over the dioceses the situation was different. Under Michael, the Latin clergy began to dominate in Bulgaria. Under Basil, despite the protests of the Romans, Latin priests were removed from Bulgaria. Bulgarian Tsar Boris again joined the Eastern Church. In addition, Tsar Vasily soon changed his attitude towards the faithful disgrace to Photius. He returned him from captivity, settled in the palace and entrusted him with the education of his children. And when Ignatius passed away, Photius again took the patriarchal throne (877-886). In 879, a cathedral was convened in Constantinople, which surpassed some Ecumenical Councils in the number of hierarchs gathered and the magnificence of the situation. The Roman legates had to not only agree to withdraw the conviction from Photius, listen to the Nicene-Constantinople Creed (without the filioque added in the West), but also glorify it.
Pope John VIII, angered by the decisions of the Council of Constantinople, sent his legate to the East, who was to insist on destroying the decisions of the cathedral that were objectionable to Rome and make concessions on Bulgaria. Emperor Vasily and Patriarch Photius did not yield to Rome. As a result, the relationship between the Byzantine Empire and Rome became cold. Then both sides tried to reconcile and made a number of mutual concessions.
The split of the Christian church
In the X century, the status quo remained, but in general, a gap became inevitable. Byzantine emperors gained complete control over the Eastern Church. In the meantime, the question arose again of control over the dioceses (that is, the issue of property and income). Emperor Nicephorus II Foca (963–969) strengthened Byzantine church organizations in southern Italy (Apulia and Calabria), where papal and generally Western influence began to penetrate strongly - the German sovereign Otton received the imperial Roman crown, plus the pressure of the Normans. Nicephorus Foka forbade the Latin rite in southern Italy and ordered to adhere to the Greek. This was a new reason for cooling relations between Rome and Constantinople. In addition, the pope began to call Nicephorus the emperor of the Greeks, and transferred the title of emperor of the Romans (Romans), as the Byzantine Vasileus were officially called, to the German emperor Otton.
Gradually, contradictions grew, both ideological and political. So, after Nicephorus Foki, the Romans resumed expansion in southern Italy. In the middle of XI, Leo IX sat on the papal throne, who was not only a religious hierarch, but also a politician. He supported the Cluny movement - his supporters advocated the reform of monastic life in the Western Church. The center of the movement was Cluny Abbey in Burgundy. Reformers demanded the restoration of fallen morals and discipline, the elimination of secular customs rooted in the church, the prohibition of the sale of church posts, the marriage of priests, etc. This movement was very popular in southern Italy, which caused dissatisfaction with the Eastern Church. Pope Leo planned to establish himself in southern Italy.
The Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Kerulariy, annoyed by the increasing influence of the Romans in the western possessions of the Eastern Church, closed all Latin monasteries and churches in Byzantium. In particular, churches argued about communion: the Latins used unleavened bread (unleavened bread) for the Eucharist, and the Greeks leavened bread. An exchange of messages took place between Pope Leo and Patriarch Michael. Michael criticized the claims of the Roman high priests to full power in the Christian world. The pope in his epistle referred to the Gift of Constantine. Roman envoys arrived in the capital of the Byzantine Empire, among whom was Cardinal Humbert, famous for his arrogant disposition. The Roman legates behaved proudly and arrogantly, did not compromise. Patriarch Michael also took a tough stance. Then in the summer of 1054, the Romans laid on the altar of the church of St. Sofia excommunication letter. Michael and his supporters were anathematized. For such an insult, the people wanted to break the Romans, but Emperor Konstantin Monomakh stood up for them. In response, Michael Kerularius gathered the cathedral and cursed the Roman legates and those close to them.
Thus, the final split of the Western and Eastern churches took place. Three other eastern patriarchs (Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria) supported Constantinople. The Patriarchate of Constantinople became independent from Rome. Byzantium confirmed the position of civilization independent of the West. On the other hand, Constantinople lost the political support of Rome (the West as a whole). During the Crusades, the Western Knights took and plundered the capital of Byzantium. Subsequently, the West did not support Constantinople when it was attacked by the Turks, and then fell under the pressure of the Ottoman Turks.