How Were Branches Of Christianity Chosen Before 1054? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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End of Roman society, feudalism, rise of religious power, beginnings of the nation-state, renaissance (476 - 1492 CE).
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#14093132
The schism of 1054 which split the Church into East and West left Christendom divided. In some parts of the Christian world loyalty was given to Rome. In others Orthodoxy was what was followed. However how were such choices made? Why did Orthodoxy gain more prominence in the East whereas Roman Christianity was stronger in the West? Why did some regions end up becoming Catholic while others went to the Orthodox Church?
#14093136
I'm not an expert on the subject, but I recall reading that the Gnostic Christians were a major force in the Dark Ages. They basically believed in two deities, the God of the New Testament, the Good one, and the false and Evil God of the Old Testament, the Demiurge. They believed that the material world was created not by God, but by the Demiurge, and that unity with God involved transcending material being.

In general, non-Catholic branches of Christianity were regarded as heresies by the status quo in Europe.

The Cathars were another prominent Christian group with origins in the 11th Century as well.

They were wiped out in battle by order of the Pope.
#14093138
Certainly these early different interpretations of Christianity were rivals to orthodox belief. However most of these did not succeed to last very strongly into the future. My thought is more about the split of the established orthodox Christian Church which split in 1054 into the Roman and Eastern Orthodox branches.
#14096299
The history of Christianity has been punctuated by six seminal events, each of which defined a type or phase of the religion.

1) The Crucifixion.
2) The mission of Paul of Tarsus.
3) The founding of the Imperial Church at the Council of Nicaea in 325.
4) The fall of the Western Roman Empire and subsequent division of the Imperial Church into the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.
5) The Protestant Reformation.
6) The Enlightenment and subsequent rise of religious toleration and secularism

After Jesus was crucified, his followers continued to pursue his teachings as a Jewish sect centered in Jerusalem under the leadership of his brother James and of Peter, and possibly of Mary Magdalene. The sect diverged from the orthodox Judaism of the time in its belief that the Messiah had already come and emphasis on the teachings of Jesus, but these people regarded themselves as Jews.

Paul's mission to the gentiles after his conversion separated the teachings of Jesus from their Jewish roots and added ideas from Paul's own beliefs. Pauline Christianity was much more diverse than Nazarene Christianity. It had a lot of different "denominations" as we would put it today and was if anything even more diverse than today's Christianity, particularly after Paul himself died. During this period, from roughly 50 to 325, there was no such thing as a canonical New Testament, some Christians considered themselves bound by the Jewish scripture and some didn't, sexual morality ranged from strict asceticism to free love, economic beliefs from conventional to communistic, and ideas about the nature of Christ were all over the map. Among the more authoritarian strains, leaders called "bishops" emerged, but by no means all Christians recognized their authority. The Gnostics were one category of Christian who obviously diverged from what would become official Christian doctrine but hardly the only ones.

During this time, Christianity had no authority capable of enforcing orthodoxy by any means except words, and was officially an illegal religion in the Roman Empire although the laws against it were seldom enforced. The fact that "seldom" =/= "never" further discouraged any central authority from emerging because such leadership would make a prominent and obvious target on the rare occasions when a persecution did happen, as they occasionally did.

So we see two different Christianities here emerging from these two events. A third emerged from the third event, which was the decision of Emperor Constantine I to make Christianity into a new state religion for the Empire. Contrary to popular Christian belief he was not himself a convert, or anyway not a devout one; his endorsement of Christianity was political, not spiritual. In order to make Christianity suitable as a state religion, he had to give it a uniform authoritarian aspect and empower the "official" church to suppress "heretical" Christianity. Hence the Council of Nicaea, the first of the Ecumenical Councils in 325. Rather than dictate the doctrines of Christianity himself, which wouldn't have worked, Constantine called together the "bishops" who led the authoritarian Christian believers and had them iron out any differences and decide on an official doctrine for the faith. It had to be authoritarian and supportive of the state; otherwise, he left it up to them. The result was the Nicene Creed, the New Testament, and the Imperial Church: official Christianity as an arm/ally of the Roman state.

Over the next few centuries, the Imperial Church targeted dissident Christians with increasing ferocity and eventually targeted non-Christians for forcible conversion as well. The diversity of Pauline Christianity was suppressed through argument, excommunication, exile, and execution, and replaced by enforced uniformity.

The next signal event was the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Church in the West became the only central authority, while the Empire continued in the East. As a result, the Western Church became more centralized and the Bishop of Rome evolved into the Pope, while in the East the Church continued more in the form established in the early Ecumenical Councils with the Emperor as head of the Church, no Pope needed (or recognized). This was the main issue leading to the schism although there were some others as well. The two branches of the Imperial Church officially went their separate ways in 1054, but the breach had begun several centuries earlier.

The fifth shaping event was the Protestant Reformation in which new denominations split off from the Catholic Church to restore a measure of diversity. The sixth shaping event has been the ongoing secularization of society with separation of church and state and the rise of religious toleration. This has encouraged Christianity (as well as other religions) to separate further into various beliefs and ideas, becoming nearly as diverse as it was before the Imperial Church was formed.
#14108386
However how were such choices made? Why did Orthodoxy gain more prominence in the East whereas Roman Christianity was stronger in the West? Why did some regions end up becoming Catholic while others went to the Orthodox Church?


The Roman empire did not totally die out but only the western portion of it...the eastern portion of the Roman empire lived and thrived and was centered in Constantanople...the eastern portion of the Roman empire was also heavily influenced by Greek culture and language...of the western Roman empire, only the Christian church really survived and was centered in the city of Rome...

So you had a dead western Roman empire whose church survived and exercised influence over the vibrant, thriving eastern Roman empire, and soon the eastern empire found reasons not to obey the church based in the city of Rome and split off and called themselves Orthodox Christians while those remaining in the west were known as Catholics...
#14108434
Malatant of Shadow wrote:After Jesus was crucified, his followers continued to pursue his teachings as a Jewish sect centered in Jerusalem under the leadership of his brother James and of Peter, and possibly of Mary Magdalene. The sect diverged from the orthodox Judaism of the time in its belief that the Messiah had already come and emphasis on the teachings of Jesus, but these people regarded themselves as Jews.

Paul's mission to the gentiles after his conversion separated the teachings of Jesus from their Jewish roots and added ideas from Paul's own beliefs. Pauline Christianity was much more diverse than Nazarene Christianity.

Some people even question the existence of Paul and think his letters were later fabrications. I don't lean to such extreme analysis myself but when you realise what pathological fabricators the early Christians were many theories become possible. To be fair Jews and Pagans were just as fabrication happy constantly creating documents that purported to be written by some earlier great sage. Any way as things stand from Paul's letters, the Jerusalem church was led by three pillars James, John and Cephas. Basically you can't trust either Christians, non Christians or anti Christians. There's so many gaps and uncertainties. For example we really don't know if Peter and Cephas were the same person.
#14110421
Political Interest wrote:The schism of 1054 which split the Church into East and West left Christendom divided. In some parts of the Christian world loyalty was given to Rome. In others Orthodoxy was what was followed. However how were such choices made? Why did Orthodoxy gain more prominence in the East whereas Roman Christianity was stronger in the West? Why did some regions end up becoming Catholic while others went to the Orthodox Church?


It's largely geography - regions were either kept under the influence of Rome if they were significantly closer to it than Constantinople, or they were converted by missionaries from those regions or formed alliances with them (eg Poland, whoseking was baptised into a Catholic church in 966). Those that were closer to Constantinople were more under its influence. When long-distance travel was so difficult (ships unable to head well into the wind and not good at riding out seasonal storms, land travel on badly kept roads slow), it made a difference where you could communicate with more easily. I don't think populations, or kings, sat down and had a theological discussion about which one was the better faith.
#14189628
I don't think populations, or kings, sat down and had a theological discussion about which one was the better faith.

Actually, they sometimes did, especially in countries or regions bordering the two spheres of influence. Bulgaria and Kievan Rus are obvious examples.
#14189710
Malatant of Shadow wrote:The history of Christianity has been punctuated by six seminal events, each of which defined a type or phase of the religion.

1) The Crucifixion.
2) The mission of Paul of Tarsus.
3) The founding of the Imperial Church at the Council of Nicaea in 325.
4) The fall of the Western Roman Empire and subsequent division of the Imperial Church into the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.
5) The Protestant Reformation.
6) The Enlightenment and subsequent rise of religious toleration and secularism

After Jesus was crucified, his followers continued to pursue his teachings as a Jewish sect centered in Jerusalem under the leadership of his brother James and of Peter, and possibly of Mary Magdalene. The sect diverged from the orthodox Judaism of the time in its belief that the Messiah had already come and emphasis on the teachings of Jesus, but these people regarded themselves as Jews.

Paul's mission to the gentiles after his conversion separated the teachings of Jesus from their Jewish roots and added ideas from Paul's own beliefs. Pauline Christianity was much more diverse than Nazarene Christianity. It had a lot of different "denominations" as we would put it today and was if anything even more diverse than today's Christianity, particularly after Paul himself died. During this period, from roughly 50 to 325, there was no such thing as a canonical New Testament, some Christians considered themselves bound by the Jewish scripture and some didn't, sexual morality ranged from strict asceticism to free love, economic beliefs from conventional to communistic, and ideas about the nature of Christ were all over the map. Among the more authoritarian strains, leaders called "bishops" emerged, but by no means all Christians recognized their authority. The Gnostics were one category of Christian who obviously diverged from what would become official Christian doctrine but hardly the only ones.

During this time, Christianity had no authority capable of enforcing orthodoxy by any means except words, and was officially an illegal religion in the Roman Empire although the laws against it were seldom enforced. The fact that "seldom" =/= "never" further discouraged any central authority from emerging because such leadership would make a prominent and obvious target on the rare occasions when a persecution did happen, as they occasionally did.

So we see two different Christianities here emerging from these two events. A third emerged from the third event, which was the decision of Emperor Constantine I to make Christianity into a new state religion for the Empire. Contrary to popular Christian belief he was not himself a convert, or anyway not a devout one; his endorsement of Christianity was political, not spiritual. In order to make Christianity suitable as a state religion, he had to give it a uniform authoritarian aspect and empower the "official" church to suppress "heretical" Christianity. Hence the Council of Nicaea, the first of the Ecumenical Councils in 325. Rather than dictate the doctrines of Christianity himself, which wouldn't have worked, Constantine called together the "bishops" who led the authoritarian Christian believers and had them iron out any differences and decide on an official doctrine for the faith. It had to be authoritarian and supportive of the state; otherwise, he left it up to them. The result was the Nicene Creed, the New Testament, and the Imperial Church: official Christianity as an arm/ally of the Roman state.

Over the next few centuries, the Imperial Church targeted dissident Christians with increasing ferocity and eventually targeted non-Christians for forcible conversion as well. The diversity of Pauline Christianity was suppressed through argument, excommunication, exile, and execution, and replaced by enforced uniformity.

The next signal event was the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Church in the West became the only central authority, while the Empire continued in the East. As a result, the Western Church became more centralized and the Bishop of Rome evolved into the Pope, while in the East the Church continued more in the form established in the early Ecumenical Councils with the Emperor as head of the Church, no Pope needed (or recognized). This was the main issue leading to the schism although there were some others as well. The two branches of the Imperial Church officially went their separate ways in 1054, but the breach had begun several centuries earlier.

The fifth shaping event was the Protestant Reformation in which new denominations split off from the Catholic Church to restore a measure of diversity. The sixth shaping event has been the ongoing secularization of society with separation of church and state and the rise of religious toleration. This has encouraged Christianity (as well as other religions) to separate further into various beliefs and ideas, becoming nearly as diverse as it was before the Imperial Church was formed.


You wouldn't place the 1054 schism or Pope Urban II at Clermont among the 'seminal' events?
Interesting
#14279035
Nattering Nabob wrote:So you had a dead western Roman empire whose church survived and exercised influence over the vibrant, thriving eastern Roman empire, and soon the eastern empire found reasons not to obey the church based in the city of Rome and split off and called themselves Orthodox Christians while those remaining in the west were known as Catholics...


In 867, the Patriarchate of Rome added the Filioqve clause into the Nicene Creed which had been declared unchangeable by the Ecumenical Councils, all the other Patriarchates of the Pentarchy rejected the clause. This was the first strike of error from Rome to the rest.

The second strike was in 1054, the Patriarch of Rome sent a letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople citing the 'Donation of Constantine', which is a forged document that the Patriarch of Rome(later to be known as Pope) used to claim supremacy; allegedly the letter penned by Constantine providing supremacy to the "Pope". The Patriarch of Constantinople of coarse laughed at the Letter and told the Pope messengers to go home, as soon as the "Pope" died, the messengers came back and placed the bull of excommunication on the altar in the Hagia Sophia, that was the Schism.

All in all, it is quite evident that the Catholics failed to obey the unanimity of the Church in 867 and it is also quite evident that it was the Catholics who excommunicated the Orthodox because the Orthodox rightfully refused to accept a forged letter as evidence of papal supremacy. As such it had nothing to do with the Orthodox going their own way because they did not want to "obey the dead Roman church".


----------------

To answer PI's question, the demarcation lines between the patriarchates existed before the split, since the Pentarchy, the 5 ancient Patriarchates(Constantinople, Rome, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria) had clearly defined jurisdictions, after the split several areas broke off the See of Rome(most of Greece and the Balkans for example which were under the jurisdiction of Rome) and joined Constantinople.
#14279357
The "Pope" was/is using a forgery made by an Emperor as proof of his supremacy over other Bishops, which means that he accepted the authority of the Emperors as much as everybody else in Christianity, since the first Council of Nicea it was thus written:

"Vive Leget Romana"= The Church Lives under Roman Law and not the other way around, that is something that all Patriarchs had come to terms with since they were established as patriarchs. The Pope pretended to not care about the Roman emperor, only when he found a new champion to protect him under Charlemagne.
#14279368
1. The Pope had much more leeway under Charlemagne than under Byzantium. The time of emperors forcing consensus had come to an end, and the Church saw that western hegemony could never really be enforced.

2. The church in Rome still technically descended from Peter and thus was still in the supreme position.
#14279378
Malatant of Shadow wrote:Contrary to popular Christian belief he was not himself a convert, or anyway not a devout one; his endorsement of Christianity was political, not spiritual.

It's not "contrary to popular belief", these are two accounts of the same event. Some believe he was a true convert, others doubt it.

Or rather, it is contrary to popular belief, but evidence does not conclusively support either view.
#14279656
The Fact that the Pope could control Charlesmagne more than the Roman Emperor does not justify his actions.

And the Peter story does not fly, Peter founded the Church of Antioch first and then the Church of Rome, so even by these standards, Antioch(Orthodox) has supremacy, but this was never argued within the Patriarchs because all the ancient churches were founded by the Apostles and Antioch was the first, the Patriarchs only cited Imperial decrees to claim hegemony over other churches just like the Pope cited the forged "donation of Constantine" and Imperial decrees always favour the capital and from the 7th ad onwards, Constantinople had been declared the final judge and the See of all churches outside the jurisdiction of the others making her the supreme arbitrator and giving her last word just like Rome had before her precisely on account of her being capital.
#14279701
And because Peter martyred in Rome? That means what?

As I said Peter founded the Church of Antioch which is an Orthodox Patriarchate before he went to Rome, so however you grab it, the Pope's claims are false and based on forgeries.

Since the First Council of Nikea, the Church was reaching unanimous decisions when all 5 Patriarchs unanimously agreed to ecclesiological, ecclesiastical, theological and ascetic practices, the Pope broke this ancient tradition and as such the Church of Rome will always be in error, of coarse lately the past 2 Popes have seen the error of their ways and have made comebacks, 2 Popes have recited the Nicene Creed without the Filioqve clause in joint celebrations with the Patriarch of Constantinople and Pope Benedict also wrote that the errors of Christianity are stemming from losing its Greekness.

Dehellenization wrote:Dehellenization is the disillusionment with Greek Philosophy stemming from the Hellenistic Period and the use of reason in particular, usually committed by a religion or faith-based system. Strictly, it means an undoing of Hellenization: the spread of Greek culture and philosophy. It was coined by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 during his speech entitled “Faith, Reason, and the University: Memories and Reflections,” in order to refer to the attempt of some recent scholars to separate Christianity from Greek philosophical thought.[1] It has since been used by Robert R. Reilly in his book, The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis, to describe the religion of Islam’s divorce from reason and rationality.....

Pope Benedict XVI proposes that a dehellenization of Christianity has stemmed from three different sources. The first stage of Christian dehellenization can be attributed to the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Reformers believed that faith had turned into a mere element in abstract philosophy, and that the religion needed to return to the idea of ‘’sola scriptura’’ (scripture only).[14]

The second stage occurred in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries due to the theology of Adolf von Harnack. Harnack advocated focusing on the simple life of Jesus Christ, and his humanitarian message in particular. Theology and belief in a divine being, according to Harnack, was a scientific history completely separate from the modern reason of humanitarian aid.

The last stage, occurring currently in the twenty-first century, is a product of modern cultural pluralism. Cultural pluralism encourages other cultures to simply return to the simplicity of the New Testament, and refuse it with their own culture. The Pope affirms that such a method cannot work because the New Testament “was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit.” [15]
#14280132
3, Peter's chosen successor housed himself at Rome, end of story.


You are playing a drum that not even the Popes dare to play.

The church of Jerusalem(Orthodox again) was founded by Jesus himself, she does not even claim supremacy, and the whole supremacy thing is ridiculous when you have 5 seats and all of 5 seats are filled with people drawn from the same ranks. The Pentarchy requires unanimity to pass an Ecumenical Council and the Pope departing from this arrangement makes his Church not only heretic, but also blasphemous to Christian tradition. Succession of the Apostles does not apply, when the tradition of election has been broken as such there is not even apostolic succession for the Catholic seats as she has cut herself off from the main body of the Church, which are the other 4 Patriarchates.

The Catholic church was sold to the Franks in exchange of the land comprising the Papal states. During that sale, succession broke, tradition broke and the Church of Rome fell into error in return of money and estates.
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