Monday, September 26, 2011

Chapter 3: pgs 56-61, Focus Area 2 (Outside Influences)


The Great Schism of 1054
·         Schism: “In a general sense, division or separation; but appropriately, a division or separation in a church or denomination of Christians, occasioned by diversity of opinions; breach of unity among people of the same religious faith” (Webster, 1828)
·         Theology Reasons:
Leo IX: Pope in 1054

1.      Papal Claims: The first issue had theological roots, but was really mainly a power struggle: to simplify the issue, the Catholic Church believed that the Pope in Rome should have authority over all the church, east and west, and not surprisingly the Orthodox Church did not appreciate or agree with this idea at all! The Orthodox site that I looked at stated the problem this way:
a.       Now so long as the Pope claimed an absolute power only in the west, Byzantium raised no objections. The Byzantines did not mind if the western Church was centralized, so long as the Papacy did not interfere in the east. The Pope, however, believed his immediate power of jurisdiction to extend to the east as well as to the west; and as soon as he tried to enforce this claim within the eastern Patriarchates, trouble was bound to arise. The Greeks assigned to the Pope a primacy of honour, but not the universal supremacy which he regarded as his due. The Pope viewed infallibility as his own prerogative; the Greeks held that in matters of the faith the final decision rested not with the Pope alone, but with a Council representing all the bishops of the Church. Here we have two different conceptions of the visible organization of the Church” (“The Great Schism,” n.d.).
b.      This was theological as well as political issue because of the fact that the Catholic Church asserted the infallibility of the pope especially on doctrinal matters; and the Orthodox Church vehemently opposed this.

"Byzantine Iconoclasm, 9th century"

2.      Iconoclast Controversy: Another issue plaguing the Christians was the “Iconoclast controversy,” which raged especially during the 8th century but also led to the official Schism in 1054. In 730, Byzantine Emperor Leo III made icons, or pictures of religious figures illegal, claiming that they were being used for worship. Jackson J. Spielvogel says in his textbook Western Civilization, “The Roman popes were opposed to the iconoclastic edicts, and their opposition created considerable dissension between the popes and the Byzantine emperors. Late in the eighth century, the Byzantine rulers reversed their stand on the use of images, but not before considerable damage had been done to the unity of the Christian Church” (2006, p. 191) I found it interesting that the Orthodox church originally took this stand on icons, because they definitely use them now: in fact when I was in St. Petersburg Russia this summer and had the chance to visit an Orthodox church, I saw members of the congregation kissing and praying to various icons.
Filioque Clause: "and from the Son."
 3.      Filioque Clause: In 589 C.E., a phrase was added to the Nicene Creed, which was a document that stated the basic pillars of faith in the church. This phrase was the Latin “Filioque,” which literally means “and from the Son.” It was used in reference to the Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit-and when added, the Creed then stated that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.”  The Eastern side of the Church did not like this change and insisted it was doctrinally incorrect, and the Catholic church insisted it was, and that small phrase ended up playing a large part in the ultimate Schism (Grudem, 1994, p. 246)

·         Language and Culture: One last thing to mention in reference to the differences between the Catholic and Orthodox Church is that there grew up cultural and language differences that made understanding each other difficult. A Catholic author wrote in 1912, “So again we have the same two unities, this time in language—a practically Greek East and an entirely Latin West. It is difficult to conceive this detail as a cause of estrangement, but it is undoubtedly true that many misunderstandings arose and grew, simply because people could not understand one another” (“The Eastern Schism”).

Map of the Schism

Gothic Architecture
Note: I take a slightly different focus than my podcast (avoiding art); after posting it I heard Amanda's presentation and realized I was taking part of her presentation! 

  • The term "Gothic" was first used in a derogatory way during the Renaissance to refer back to the style of architecture that originated in France in the early 1100s after the first Crusade. Renaissance critics saw this change from Romanesque architecture as a barbaric betrayal of classical Roman styles. 
  • Gothic architecture used ribbed vaults and pointed arches in the ceiling (instead of a barrel vault), which allowed Gothic churches to be built much higher than Romanesque churches.

Please watch from 0:45 to 1:30 to get a view of one of the finest works of Gothic architecture, Notre Dame

  • Acoustics in Notre Dame, as well as other Gothic Cathedrals, reverberate and echo off the stone walls and high ceiling: a few sources from visitors to the cathedral I saw called music in Notre Dame "astonishing" and "glorious." 
  • One site had a warning word, however: "In many Cathedrals a note may linger for 8-15 seconds. This note will interfere with the notes following. Gothic churches supply us with an echo like this; you can virtually feel the largeness of the hall, but any fast passages will turn into a blur" (, 2005).
Reference List

Fortescue, Adrian. "The Eastern Schism." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. Web. <>

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994. Print. "The Famous Acoustics in the Cathedral Chamber." 2005. Web. 

Hanning, Barbara Russano. (2010). Concise History of Western Music. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.Print.

Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization. Canada: Thomas Wadsworth Publishing, 2006. Print.
 “The Great Schism: The Estrangement between Eastern and Western Christendom,” n.d. <>. Orthodox Christian Information Center. Web.

Image References
Byzantine Iconoclasm. Retrieved from:

Gothic Cathedral. Retrieved from:

Flying Buttress. Retrieved from:

Romanesque Church. Retrieved from:

The Great Schism. Retrieved from: