Until the bishop of Rome tried to establish a centralized hierarchy in the church, all churches were guided by Bishops. These bishops would have the churches of a particular geographic area under their care. All bishops were considered to be the same level. In some cases, there were bishops who guided other bishops – much like a pastor of pastors. But these bishops were still at the same level of authority as all other bishops – there was no hierarchy as exists in the Roman Catholic Church. It was through agreements of the majority of bishops that major doctrinal issues were decided. The bishop of bishops of an area is known as a Partriach or an archbishop or a metropolitan. The bishop of Rome was considered to be at the same level as the patriarchs who guided churches of various regions – one among equals. The patriarch of Rome was given the honor of “first place in honor” because of its influence in the Roman Empire. But this was an honor, not a rank or position of leadership.
The Bishop of Rome wanted to be supreme bishop. Additionally, the Roman church modified the Nicene Creed, after having agreed to not do so. “A council of Western Bishops (under Rome) changed the Nicene Creed to read that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND THE SON (“Filioque” in Latin.) [The Orthodox bishops] objected that this destroyed the doctrine of the Trinity by undermining the Personhood of the Holy Spirit. It made the Holy Spirit merely a force generated by the interaction of the Father and the Son. Rome would not listen. Their faith in the Holy Spirit began to erode, and it showed in their doctrine. Unsure of the Holy Spirit’s ability to guide the Church, Rome continued to falsely boost the centralized power of the Papacy. In time they came to believe the Pope to be infallible in matters of doctrine. Unsure of the Holy Spirit’s ability to pray with us and for us, they elevated Mary and the Saints to almost be a means of “getting around Jesus…. In 1054 the crisis came to a head. A Papal legate, in a fit of anger over [the Orthodox Church's] “refusal” to acknowledge the Pope’s inflated claims and warped doctrine, excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople. The Patriarch then excommunicated the Pope.”
“In the 11th century the Great Schism took place between Rome and Constantinople, which led to separation of the Church of the West, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. There were doctrinal issues like the filioque clause and the authority of the Roman Catholic Pope involved in the split, but these were exacerbated by cultural and linguistic differences between Latins and Greeks. Prior to that, the Eastern and Western halves of the Church had frequently been in conflict, particularly during periods of iconoclasm and the Photian schism.”
So, The Roman Papal Legate excommunicated the Patriarch of the Orthodx church in Constantinople because the patriarch refused to accept Rome’s inflated claims to power and poor doctrine.
“Efforts were made to reconcile. But the Pope would not give up his claims to power, and [the Orthodox church] would not compromise [their] doctrine.
“Rome went independent. Unchecked by any kind of “peer review” by the Eastern Patriarchs, Rome’s theological innovations proceeded unchecked. Within 500 years after the Great Schism, they had become so warped that they incited a revolution – the Protestant Reformation. “
Question to the reader: I have noticed this post receives quite a few hits. If you could, please leave a comment letting me why you were drawn to read this post? Why you are interested in the split between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches? Thanks.