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(from Gk. schizein, “to divide, tear, cleave asunder, open, cut apart”).

1. Used in the NT of the tearing of the temple veil (Mt 27:51; Mk 15:38; Lk 23:45), the heavens opening (Mk 1:10), tearing a garment (Mt 9:16; Lk 5:36), divergent opinions (Jn 7:43; Acts 14:4). The ch. uses the term in the sense of dissension, division, discord (1 Co 1:10; 11:18; 12:25). Schismatics disrupt ch. harmony and unity.

2. Irenaeus* used the term in a technical sense (Adversus haereses, IV, xxxiii, 7). Jerome* distinguished bet. heresy* and schism, the former being perversion of doctrine, the latter rebellion against authority (In Epist. ad Titum, iii, 10). Augustine* of Hippo held that heretics wound faith, schismatics deviate from charity (De fide et symbolo, x). It is sometimes hard to distinguish bet. heresy and schism, since heresy leads to schism and schism presupposes heresy.

3. The early ch. suffered several schisms (e.g., Hippolytan [see Hippolytus]; see also Donatist Schism; Meletian Schisms; Novatian). The Easter* controversy included the element of liturgical practice. Some schisms included elements of nationalism or economics (see, e.g., Monophysite Controversy); others resulted from patriarchal rivalries (see, e.g., Nestorianism). In most of these schisms there was also an accompanying heresy.

4. Basis for the pol. separation of the Roman empire into E and W was laid when Diocletian* reorganized it (ca. 285–ca. 293 AD). Pol., cultural, and linguistic differences accentuated the cleavage. Tensions arose in the ch. bet. Rome and Constantinople over pretensions of the latter to primacy (either equality with Rome or at least preeminence after Rome [the thrust is not altogether clear], Council of Constantinople,* 381 AD, canon 3; clear equality with Rome, Council of Chalcedon,* 451 AD, canon 28). Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem tended to follow the lead of Constantinople. Later factors affecting relations bet. E and W included the Filioque* Controversy and the Quinisext* Syn. By crowning Charlemagne* 800 the pope declared his separation from the E emp. and looked henceforth to the W emp. for pol. support.

5. Photian schism. In 858(857?) Michael* III made Photius* patriarch of Constantinople in place of Ignatius (ca. 798–877; patriarch Constantinople 847–858 [857?], 867–877), who resigned in tension with the state. Legates of pope Nicholas I (see Popes, 5) confirmed the patriarchate of Photius 861, but Nicholas I anathematized Photius and restored Ignatius 863. Michael Ill continued to support Photius as patriarch. In 867 Photius excommunicated and anathematized the pope, but fell from power and was imprisoned in a convent when Michael III was murdered September 867. Michael Ill was succeeded by Basil I (“the Macedonian”; ca. 812–886; caused death of Michael III; E Roman emp. 867–886), who restored Ignatius as patriarch. Ignatius, who alienated the pope by consecrating bps. for Bulgaria, was succeeded 878(877?) by Photius, apparently with approval of John VIII (ca. 820–882; pope 872–882). In 886 Leo VI (“the Wise; the Philosopher”; son of Michael III; 866–912; E Roman emp. 886–912) deposed Photius, who disappeared from hist.

6. Schism of 1054 (sometimes called Eastern Schism, Great Eastern Schism, Great Schism, or Schism Between East and West). M. Caerularius* closed all Lat. chs. in Constantinople 1053. His main charge against the W was use of unleavened bread (Gk. azyma; see also Azymite Controversy) in Communion. Other charges included: omitting Hallelujah* in Lent; observing Saturdays in Lent in Jewish fashion; violating the rule regarding things strangled and blood (cf. Acts 15:20, 29). Leo* IX replied through legates with countercharges. Relations deteriorated. July 16, 1054, the papal representatives laid a writ of excommunication on the altar of St. Sophia Ch., Constantinople (see also Church Architecture, 6). This, in effect, sealed the schism, regardless of the reaction of Caerularius, which is variously reported. Antipathy bet. E and W was heightened by the Crusades,* which included capture and sack of Constantinople 1204. See also 4; Filioque Controversy; Florence, Council of; Lyons, Councils of.

7. Vatican Council II (see Vatican Councils, 2) addressed itself to the schism bet. E and W in the Decree on E Cath. Chs., evaluated by the E with reservations because of its W orientation and because Uniate* chs. are an obstacle to harmony. December 7, 1965, in ceremonies at Rome and Istanbul, pope and patriarch expressed desire to nullify the schismatic events of 1054.

8. Papal schism (also called Great Schism; Western Schism): schism in the W ch. at the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th c. After the death of Gregory XI (see Popes, 14) 1378, 16 cardinals at Rome elected Urban VI (see Jubilees) April 1378. Alienation soon developed among his electors. The Fr. cardinals among them joined others at Avignon, SE Fr., in electing Clement VII antipope (see Clement VII, 1) September 1378. Urban VI was supported by It., Ger., Eng., Den., and Swed., Clement VII by Fr., Scot., Savoy, Castile, Aragon, and Navarre. Urban VI was followed by Boniface IX (Pietro Tomacelli; ca. 1355–1404; b. Naples, It.; pope 1389–1404), Innocent VII (Cosimo de' Migliorati; ca. 1336–1406; b. Sulmona, It.; pope 1404–06), and Gregory* XII. Clement VII was followed by Benedict XIII (see Benedict XIII, 1). The 1409 Council of Pisa* tried to depose Gregory XII and Benedict XIII and elected Alexander V (Petros Philargos; Pietro di Candia; ca. 1340–1410; cardinal 1405; pope 1409–10), who was followed by John* XXIII. But Gregory XII and Benedict XIII refused to submit to the council, with the result that 3 claimed to be pope. The Council of Constance* declared April 6, 1415, that the pope must also obey an ecumenical council. It deposed John XXIII 1415; like the 1409 Council of Pisa, it tried to depose Benedict XIII 1417, but Benedict XIII, though almost wholly forsaken, defied all attempts to depose him till he died. The council elected Martin* V November 11, 1417, practically ending the schism. It ended completely 1429 when Clement VIII (Gil [or Aegyd] Sánchez Muñoz; d. 1446; antipope 1423; bp. of the is. Mallorca [Majorca], Sp. 1429), nominal successor of Benedict XIII, resigned. CAV

S. L. Greenslade, Schism in the Early Church (New York, n. d.); T. A. Lacey, Unity and Schism (London, 1917); F. Dvornik, The Photian Schism (Cambridge, Eng., 1948); W. Ullmann, The Origins of the Great Schism (London, 1948); S. Runciman, The Eastern Schism (Oxford, 1955).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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