Expert Answers
jrinkel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Great Schism occurred in 1054 between the Western Church in Rome and the Eastern Church located in Constantinople.  Rome and Constantinople were separated by approximately 1,000 miles, but this wasn't their only separation.  The West spoke Latin and the East spoke Greek.  Another separating factor was that the West followed the Pope and the East followed the Seven Ecumenical Councils.  The Eastern Church used icons and paintings of Jesus, but the Western Church viewed the images negatively.  In the West, the Church was Roman Catholic pledging allegiance to the Pope in Rome.  The Eastern Church was called Orthodox (Eastern Orthodox or Greek Orthodox) meaning true or correct belief.  

moustacio | Student

Growing estrangement between the Greek East and the Latin West saw the development of the Great Schism between the two sides. This was largely due to the presence of cultural prejudices, which saw the East elevated as culturally superior while the West was regarded as inferior.

Jealousies and mutual suspicions also worsened with the emergence of theological issues between the two Churches. This was evident in the controversy over the usage of the Latin word “filioque” (and the Son) by the Western Church in the Nicene Creed. Their unliteral act of changing the term without consulting or even informing the Eastern Orthodox Church greatly angered the latter. Another issue of contention was the usage of azymes (unleavened bread) by the Western Church in communion, as compared to the usage of regular, leavened bread in the East.

Debates also arose over the role of the Roman Papacy in the Christian world and the mutual anathemas in 1054 symbolised the great rift that had developed between the Pope, Leo IX and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Keroularios (Michael I Cerularius). The rift had initially began as a personal and temporary one, with both sides excommunicating each other, but it soon became harder to resolve and developed into a full-fledged schism.

Although both sides sought to resolve the split, they were unwilling to compromise with each other. The Papacy displayed their willingness to make up with the Eastern Orthodox Church and to bring the latter back into the communion but did not want to make the necessary compromises to do so.