FYI July 16, 2021

On This Day

1054 – Three Roman legates break relations between Western and Eastern Christian Churches through the act of placing an Papal bull (of doubtful validity) of Excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia during Saturday afternoon divine liturgy. Historians frequently describe the event as the start of the East–West Schism.
The East–West Schism (also the Great Schism or Schism of 1054) is the break of communion since the 11th century between the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church.[1] The schism was the culmination of theological and political differences which had developed during the preceding centuries between Eastern and Western Christianity.

A succession of ecclesiastical differences and theological disputes between the Greek East and Latin West preceded the formal split that occurred in 1054.[1][2][3] Prominent among these were: the procession of the Holy Spirit (Filioque), whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist,[a] the bishop of Rome’s claim to universal jurisdiction, and the place of the See of Constantinople in relation to the pentarchy.[7]

In 1053, the first step in the process which led to a formal schism was taken: the Greek churches in southern Italy were forced to conform to Latin practices and if any of them did not, they were forced to close.[8][9][10] In retaliation, Patriarch Michael I Cerularius of Constantinople ordered the closure of all Latin churches in Constantinople. In 1054, the papal legate sent by Leo IX travelled to Constantinople for purposes that included refusing Cerularius the title of “ecumenical patriarch” and insisting that he recognize the pope’s claim to be the head of all of the churches.[1] The main purposes of the papal legation were to seek help from the Byzantine emperor, Constantine IX Monomachos, in view of the Norman conquest of southern Italy and deal with recent attacks by Leo of Ohrid against the use of unleavened bread and other Western customs,[11] attacks that had the support of Cerularius. The historian Axel Bayer says the legation was sent in response to two letters, one from the emperor seeking assistance in arranging a common military campaign by the eastern and western empires against the Normans, and the other from Cerularius.[12] On the refusal of Cerularius to accept the demand, the leader of the legation, Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, O.S.B., excommunicated him, and in return Cerularius excommunicated Humbert and the other legates.[1]

The validity of the Western legates’ act is doubtful because Pope Leo died and Cerularius’ excommunication only applied to the legates personally.[1] Still, the Church split along doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political, and geographical lines, and the fundamental breach has never been healed, with each side sometimes accusing the other of falling into heresy and initiating the division. The Latin-led Crusades, the Massacre of the Latins in 1182, the West’s retaliation in the Sacking of Thessalonica in 1185, the capture and pillaging of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, and the imposition of Latin patriarchs made reconciliation more difficult.[1] Establishing Latin hierarchies in the Crusader states meant that there were two rival claimants to each of the patriarchal sees of Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, making the existence of schism clear.[13] Several attempts at reconciliation did not bear fruit.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I nullified the anathemas of 1054,[1] although this nullification of measures which were taken against a few individuals was essentially a goodwill gesture and did not constitute any sort of reunion. The absence of full communion between the churches is even explicitly mentioned when the Code of Canon Law accords Catholic ministers permission to administer the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and the anointing of the sick to spontaneously requesting members of eastern churches such as the Eastern Orthodox Church (as well as the Oriental Orthodox churches and the Church of the East) and members of western churches such as the Old Catholic Church.[14] Contacts between the two sides continue. Every year a delegation from each joins in the other’s celebration of its patronal feast, Saints Peter and Paul (29 June) for Rome and Saint Andrew (30 November) for Constantinople, and there have been several visits by the head of each to the other. The efforts of the ecumenical patriarchs towards reconciliation with the Catholic Church have often been the target of sharp criticism from some fellow Orthodox.[15]



Born On This Day

1882 – Violette Neatley Anderson, American judge (d. 1937)[17]
Violette Neatley Anderson (July 16, 1882 – December 24, 1937)[1][2] she became the first African-American woman to practice law before the United States Supreme Court on January 29, 1926. She was one of the most prominent advocates of a landmark piece of legislation that helped secure rights and economic mobility for sharecroppers in the South, the Bankhead-Jones Act.




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