What were the causes of the Great Schism?

The immediate cause of the Great Schism was the patriarch of Constantinople's and the Pope's decisions to excommunicate one another, which led to the creation of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Several other factors contributed to this separation, including the division of the Roman Empire, which led to increasing differences in culture, politics, religion, and language between the Western Roman empire and the Eastern Roman empire.

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The Great Schism, or the schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, is a complex issue that started well before the mutual ex-communications in 1054 CE. Before we get into the theological, cultural, and political differences that led to the schism, we should note that there is a nuance to understand how it happened. The schism was a long process that was not completed until well into the seventeenth century in some parts of the world.

The roots of the Great Schism trace themselves back to the council of Nicea in 325 CE, when the Nicene Creed was formulated as a defense against the teachings of Arius. The creed became an essential part of the Catholic faith and was reaffirmed at later councils. In 381 CE, the council of Constantinople took place and added additional clauses to the creed concerning the Holy Spirit.

One specific clause, “And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father,” became the subject of controversy...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 1610 words.)

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