Skip to main content

Eastern Schism: A Thing of the Past?

Interview With Father Marko Rupnik, of Aletti Center

ROME, JULY 19, 2004 (Zenit) - The Great Eastern Schism occurred in July 1054, marking the start of a now 950-year-old rift in the Church.

Papal legates placed on the altar of St. Sophia in Byzantium the excommunication against Patriarch Michael Cerularius of Constantinople, who, in turn, four days later, excommunicated the papal envoys.

How did this all happen? Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, director of the Aletti Center of Studies in Rome for dialogue between the East and West, answered the question in this interview with Vatican Radio.

Father Rupnik is the painter behind the Byzantine-inspired mosaics that decorate John Paul II's Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Vatican.

Q: What happened on July 16, 1054?

Father Rupnik: Spiritually speaking, we can say that a "sin" was committed, as happens in all separations, in all schisms. It was not the only schism; there were many others before.

The question was of jurisdiction over some areas in dispute, but dogmatic and theological reasons were given. It was about questions that affected the discipline of the Church, a question on the Eucharist, the subject of the "Filioque," etc. After 950 years, none of those issues are of any consequence!

Q: What happened, then, to those disputed issues? For example, the most famous, the "Filioque."

Father Rupnik: On the question of the "Filioque," namely, the fact that the Holy Spirit does not proceed only from the Father, but also from the Son, there is nothing left, as the Catholic Church, in a declaration a few years ago, totally resolved the question, which today does not represent any difficulty with the East.

Q: So there is agreement on points of view on the question of the Holy Spirit?

Father Rupnik: From a dogmatic point of view, there is agreement on points of view, as the Holy Father says. That is, there are no things that separate us irremediably.

Today also, given the events that take place in the world, the very rapid evolution of culture, I think that it is really difficult to find reasons to remain divided.

As the Pope said in "Orientale Lumen," we are now under the pressure of the charity of God to take steps toward a meeting, as only together can we point to Christ, Savior of the men and women of today.

This is a pressure before which there can be no excuses. We must do everything possible to find points in common. Today it is about attaining, as the Second Vatican Council announced, full recognition of one another. It is about two great apostolic traditions.

Q: In fact, the Pope also says in "Orientale Lumen" that the words of the West have need of the words of the East so that the Word of God will better manifest its unfathomable riches.

Father Rupnik: Exactly. Today we feel the need of one another and this is the sign of a new Pentecost. Today we know that we must arrive at an exchange of gifts to be able to be recognized as disciples of Christ.


Catholic Online  CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Schism, Church, Eastern, West, Catholic

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article


Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 2:18-24
O Senhor Deus disse: ' Não é certo que o homem esteja só. Vou ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
[Song of Ascents] How blessed are all who fear Yahweh, who walk ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:2-16
Some Pharisees approached him and asked, 'Is it lawful for a ... Read More

Reading 2, Hebrews 2:9-11
but we do see Jesus, who was for a short while made less than ... Read More

Saint of the Day

October 4 Saint of the Day

St. Francis of Assisi
October 4: Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in ... Read More