*** This is a rough transcript of today’s show ***

It is the 20th of July. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac, brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. I’m Adam Francisco in for Dan van Voorhis.

Today on Christian History Almanac we look at the Great Schism of 1054, not to be confused with the Western Schism of the late 14th/early 15th century. The latter saw the rise of two competing popes, followed by a third. The former refers to a great split in the one holy and catholic (or universal) church.

For centuries the church was divided administratively into five regions (patriarchates). Four were located in the eastern half of Mediterranean world. One in Alexandria, Egypt. Another in Jerusalem. A third in Antioch. And the fourth in Constantinople. The only one located in the west was in Rome.

Each was presided over by a bishop or patriarch. And in theory all five were peers. The bishops and patriarchates of Rome and Constantinople, however, were the two big, influential ones as Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria were added to the expanding Muslim empire in the wake of Muhammad’s death and the wars pursued under the inspiration of his teaching.

The bishops of Rome didn’t really see themselves as peers with Constantinople or the other patriarchs though. For since at least the 5thcentury they argued for what is called the doctrine of Petrine supremacy, which assumes a number of things—that Peter was the first bishop of Rome, that he and his heirs were the foundation and therefore pre-eminent authorities of the church.

There’s a long theological and political history here, but in short, when the Patriarch Michael Cerularius

of Constantinople was excommunicated by Pope Leo IX in the middle of July, 1054, the patriarch responded in kind declaring the pope a heretic on July 20th.

This forever severed the church catholic into two traditions—the Orthodox church(es) of the east and the western church/church of Rome—until another Leo—Pope Leo X—excommunicated Martin Luther in 1521, which would lead to yet another schism. And the rest is history—at least the history of how Christian denominations seem to get started.

Also, I thought you might want to know that on this day in 1910 in the beautiful state of Missouri, an organization known as the Christian Endeavor Society began a campaign to ban the depiction of kissing non-relatives in those silent movies of the pre-world war I era. There’s a joke in here somewhere, but it’s probably best just to let it go.

Before signing off, how about a word from scripture? Psalm 19:97-104.

97Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,[a]
for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.

This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 20th of July brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org

The show is produced by Christoper Gillespie and written by Adam Francisco.

You can catch us here every day. And remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true. In the end, everything is going to be ok.