The first Great Schism was the separation of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Antagonisms over various issues had been brewing since the 9th century but the break formally took place in 1054.
Relations between East and West had long been embittered by political and ecclesiastical differences and theological disputes. Prominent among these were the issues of “filioque“, whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist, the Pope’s claim to universal jurisdiction, and the place of Constantinople in relation to the Pentarchy.¹
The antimony between East and West was brought to a head in 1053 by an attack on the Pope by Michael Cerularius, the patriarch of Constantinople. This resulted in the excommunication of Cerularius and his Eastern followers by Western papal authorities.
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