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The schism

CONFLICT BETWEEN THE ROMAN POPE and the East mounted - especially in the West's dealings with the Patriarch of Constantinople. It was even asserted that the Pope had the authority to decide who should be the bishop of Constantinople - something that violated historical precedent and that no Orthodox bishop could endure. The net result of the this assertion was that the Eastern Church, and in fact the entire Christian Church, was seen by the West to be under the domination of the Pope.

A series of intrigues followed one upon the other as the Roman papacy began asserting an increasing degree of unilateral and authoritarian control upon the rest of the Western Church. Perhaps the most antagonistic of these political, religious, and even military intrigues, as far as the East was concerned, occurred in the year 1054. A cardinal, sent by the pope, slapped a document in the altar of the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople during the Sunday worship, excommunicating the Patriarch of Constantinople from the Church!

Rome, of course, was flagrantly overstepping its bounds by this action. Some very sordid chapters of Church history were written during the next decades. Ultimately, the outcome of these tragic events was a massive split that occurred between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. While some disagree that the West departed the New Testament Church at this point, the reality remains that the schism was never healed.

As the centuries passed, conflict continued. Attempts at union failed and the split widened. Orthodox Christians agree that in departing from the tradition of the Church, the West deviated from historic Christianity and, in so doing, set the stage for countless other dogmatic errors and church divisions which were to follow.

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