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History of the Christian Church, Volume IV: Mediaeval Christianity. A.D. 590-1073.
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§ 71. Progress and Completion of the Schism. Cerularius.


Hergenröther: Photius, Vol. III. 653–887; Comp. his Kirchengesch. vol. I. 688 sq.; 690–694. Hefele: Conciliengesch. IV. 587; 765 sqq.; 771, 775 sqq. Gieseler: II. 221 sqq.

We shall briefly sketch the progress and consolidation of the schism.


The Difference About Tetragamy.


The fourth marriage of the emperor Leo the Philosopher (886–912), which was forbidden by the laws of the Greek church, caused a great schism in the East (905).311311    Leo himself had forbidden not only tetragamy, but even trigamy. His four wives were Theophano, Zoë (his former mistress), Eudokia, and Zoë Karbonopsyne, who in 905 bore him a son, Constantine Porphyrogenitus (or Porphyrogennetos, d. 959). See Hergenröther, Phot. III. 656 sq. The Patriarch Nicolas Mysticus solemnly protested and was deposed (906), but Pope Sergius III. (904–911), instead of siding with suffering virtue as Pope Nicolas had done, sanctioned the fourth marriage (which was not forbidden in the West) and the deposition of the conscientious patriarch.

Leo on his death-bed restored the deposed patriarch (912). A Synod of Constantinople in 920, at which Pope John X. was represented, declared a fourth marriage illegal, and made no concessions to Rome. The Emperor Constantine, Leo’s son, prohibited a fourth marriage by an edict; thereby casting a tacit imputation on his own birth. The Greek church regards marriage as a sacrament, and a necessary means for the propagation of the race, but a second marriage is prohibited to the clergy, a third marriage is tolerated in laymen as a sort of legal concubinage, and a fourth is condemned as a sin and a scandal. The pope acquiesced, and the schism slumbered during the dark tenth century. The venal Pope John XIX. (1024) was ready for an enormous sum to renounce all the claim of superiority over the Eastern patriarchs, but was forced to break off the negotiations when his treasonable plan was discovered.


Cerularius and Leo IX.


Michael Cerularius (or Caerularius),312312    Κηρουλάριος, probably from the Latin cerula (κηρίολος), ceriolarium, a candelabrum for wax-tapers. who was patriarch from 1043 to 1059, renewed and completed the schism. Heretofore the mutual anathemas were hurled only against the contending heads and their party; now the churches excommunicated each other. The Emperor Constantinus Monachus courted the friendship of the pope for political reasons, but his patriarch checkmated him. Cerularius, in connection with the learned Bulgarian metropolitan Leo of Achrida, addressed in 1053 a letter to John, bishop of Trani, in Apulia (then subject to the Eastern rule), and through him to all the bishops of France and to the pope himself, charging the churches of the West that, following the practice of the Jews, and contrary to the usage of Christ, they employ in the eucharist unleavened bread; that they fast on Saturday in Lent; that they eat blood and things strangled in violation of the decree of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts, ch. 15); and that during the fast they do not sing the hallelujah. He invented the new name Azymites for the heresy of using unleavened bread (azyma) instead of common bread.313313    Azyma is from ἄζυμος, unleavened (ζύμη, leaven); hence ἡ ἑορτὴ τῶν ἀζύμων(ἄρτων), the feast of unleavened bread (the passover), during which the Jews were to eat unleavened bread. The Greeks insist that our Lord in instituting the eucharist after the passover-meal used true, nourishing bread (ἄρτοςfromαἴρω), as the sign of the new dispensation of joy and gladness; while the lifeless, unleavened bread (ἄζυμον) belongs to the Jewish dispensation. The Latins argued that ἄρτοςmeans unleavened as well as leavened bread, and that Christ during the feast of the passover could not get any other but unleavened bread. They called the Greeks in turn Fermentarei in opposition to Azmitae. See Nicetas Stethatus (a cotemporary of Cerularius): De Fermentato et Azymis, publ. in Greek by Dimitracopulos, Lips. 1866 (Βιβλιοθ. ἐκκλ.I. 18-36), and in Greek and Latin by Hergenröther, in Monumenta Graeca, etc., p. 139-154. Comp. also the Dissertation concerning Azymes in Neale’s Eastern Church, Introd. II. 1051 sqq.; J. G. Hermann, Hist. concertationis de pane azymo et fermentato in caena Domini, Lips. 1737; and Hergenröther, Photius III. 739 sqq. Nothing was said about the procession of the Spirit. This letter is only extant in the Latin translation of Cardinal Humbert.314314    Baronius Annal. ad ann. 1053 no. 22; and Gieseler II. 222 sq.

Pope Leo IX. sent three legates under the lead of the imperious Humbert to Constantinople, with counter-charges to the effect that Cerularius arrogated to himself the title of “oecumenical” patriarch; that he wished to subject the patriarchs of Alexandria and of Antioch; that the Greeks rebaptized the Latins; that, like the Nicolaitans, they permitted their priests to live in wedlock;315315    “Sicut Nicolaitae carnales nuptias concedunt et defendunt sacri altaris ministris.” On the other hand, Photius and the Greeks traced to the clerical celibacy the fact that the West had “so many children who knew not their fathers.” that they neglected to baptize their children before the eighth day after birth; that, like the Pneumatomachi or Theomachi, they cut out of the symbol the Procession of the Spirit from the Son.316316    See a full résumé of Humbert’s arguments in Hergenröther, III. 741-756. The legates were lodged in the imperial palace, but Cerularius avoided all intercourse with them. Finally, on the 16th of July, 1054, they excommunicated the patriarch and all those who should persistently censure the faith of the church of Rome or its mode of offering the holy sacrifice. They placed the writ on the altar of the church of Hagia Sophia with the words: “Videat Deus et judicet.”

Cerularius, supported by his clergy and the people, immediately answered by a synodical counter-anathema on the papal legates, and accused them of fraud. In a letter to Peter, the patriarch of Antioch (who at first acted the part of a mediator), he charged Rome with other scandals, namely, that two brothers were allowed to espouse two sisters; that bishops wore rings and engaged in warfare; that baptism was administered by a single immersion; that salt was put in the mouth of the baptized; that the images and relics of saints were not honored; and that Gregory the Theologian, Basil, and Chrysostom were not numbered among the saints. The Filioque was also mentioned.317317    See the documents in Gieseler II. 225 sqq.

The charge of the martial spirit of the bishops was well founded in that semi-barbarous age. Cerularius was all-powerful for several years; he dethroned one emperor and crowned another, but died in exile (1059).

The patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem adhered to the see of Constantinople. Thus the schism between the Christian East and West was completed. The number of episcopal sees at that time was nearly equal on both sides, but in the course of years the Latin church far outgrew the East.


The Latin Empire in the East. 1204–1261.


During the Crusades the schism was deepened by the brutal atrocities of the French and Venetian soldiers in the pillage of Constantinople (1204), the establishment of a Latin empire, and the appointment by the pope of Latin bishops in Greek sees.318318    Cardinal Hergenröther (Kirchengesch. I. 903) admits that it was largely (he ought to say, chiefly) through the guilt of the Latin conquerors (”grossentheils durch Schuld der lateinischen Eroberer“) that “the hatred of the Greeks at the conquest of Constantinople, 1204, assumed gigantic dimensions.” Although this artificial empire lasted only half a century (1204–1261), it left a legacy of burning hatred in the memories of horrible desecrations and innumerable insults and outrages, which the East had to endure from the Western barbarians. Churches and monasteries were robbed and desecrated, the Greek service mocked, the clergy persecuted, and every law of decency set at defiance. In Constantinople “a prostitute was seated on the throne of the patriarch; and that daughter of Belial, as she is styled, sung and danced in the church to ridicule the hymns and processions of the Orientals.” Even Pope Innocent III. accuses the pilgrims that they spared in their lust neither age nor sex, nor religious profession, and that they committed fornication, adultery, and incest in open day (in oculis omnium), “abandoning matrons and virgins dedicated to God to the lewdness of grooms.” And yet this great pope insulted the Eastern church by the establishment of a Latin hierarchy on the ruins of the Byzantine empire.319319    See Gibbon’s graphic description (in ch. LX.) of the horrors of the sack of Constantinople, gathered from the concurrent accounts of the French marshall Villehardouin (who does not betray a symptom of pity or remorse) and the Byzantine senator Nicetas (one of the sufferers). On the barbarities previously committed at Thessalonica by the Normans in 1186, see Eustathius De capta Thessalonica (ed. Bonnae 1842, quoted by Gieseler II. 609); on the barbarities in the island of Cyprus after its delivery by Richard to Guy, king of Jerusalem, in 1192, see the anonymous account in Allatius, De eccles. occident. et orient. perpet. consens. 1. II. c. XIII. 693 sq. Leo Allatius was a Greek convert to the Roman church, and found no fault with these cruelties against the church of his fathers; on the contrary he says: ”Opus erat, effraenes propriaeque fidei rebelles et veritatis oppugnatores non exilio, sed ferro et igne in saniorem mentem reducere. Haeretici proscribendi sunt, exterminandi sunt, puniendi sunt et pertinaces occidendi, cremandi. Ita leges sanciunt, ita observavit antiquitas, nec alius mos est recentioris ecclesiae tum Graecae tum Latinae.”



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