SCISMS LEAD TO DIVISION AND DISARRAY AMONG CHRISTIANS

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,

CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.

SCISMS LEAD TO DIVISION AND DISARRAY
AMONG CHRISTIANS

"But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: ‘Every
kingdom divided against itself IS BROUGHT TO DESOLATION,
AND EVERY CITY OR HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF
WILL NOT STAND" (Matthew 12:25).

The Greek word σχίζω (schizo) translated means to tear, rend, or split. The word schism (Gr. σχίσμα) means split or fissure. It can also mean separation or division. Division within or separation from an established Church, i.e., The Orthodox Church. A formal division within, or separation from the Orthodox Church over doctrinal, heresy, administrative, liturgical, and other major theological differences.

Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ founded only ONE Church and He is the Head of the Church. Historically the Church fought hard to maintain its unity, authenticity, and integrity. The prayer of Jesus to His Father: "Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thy name those whom Thou have given Me, THAT THEY MAY BE ONE AS We ARE" (John 17:11).

Nevertheless, the Holy Church has been plagued by dissension, conflict, violence, heresy, schisms, and division. Due to this, the Holy Church convened Seven Ecumenical Councils to address various serious heresies within the Church and establish through the Holy Canons, the discipline of the Church. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Council would determine the Truth and thus formulate the dogma of the Church. The result of the Councils was the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed which we confess openly at every Divine Liturgy.

A major schism took place in 451 A.D. known as the Chalcedonian Schism. The separation resulted in part from the refusal of Patriarch Dioscoros, the Patriarch of Alexandria, to accept the Christological dogma promulgated by the Council of Chalcedon, which held that Jesus has two natures: one Divine and one human. The technical reason for the schism was that the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople excommunicated the non-Chalcedonian bishops in 451 A.D. for refusing to accept the "in two natures" teaching, thus declaring them to be out of communion. The groups that rejected the Chalcedonian definition became known as Monophysites and as the Oriental Orthodox churches i.e., Armenian, Coptic (Egyptian), Ethiopian, Indian,

The Great Schism of 1054 A.D. Conflict between the Roman Pope and the East mounted–especially in the Pope’s dealings with the bishop, or Patriarch of Constantinople. The Pope even went so far as to claim the authority to decide who should be the bishop of Constantinople in marked violation of historical precedent. No longer operating within the government of the New Testament Church, the Pope appeared to be seeking by political means to bring the whole Church under his domination. The ultimate consequence of the Pope’s action was that the whole Roman Catholic church ended up divided from the New Testament faith of Orthodox Christianity. The schism has never been healed.

After the death of the holy Apostles, as leadership in the Church developed, the bishop of Rome came to be recognized as first in honor, even though all bishops were equals. But after nearly three hundred years, the bishop of Rome slowly began to assume a role of superiority over the others, ultimately claiming to be the ONLY TRUE SUCCESSOR TO PETER. The vast majority of the other bishops of the Church never questioned Rome’s primacy of honor, but they patiently rejected the Roman Bishop’s claim as the Universal head of the Church on earth ("vicar of Christ"). This assumption of papal power became one major factor in rending the Roman church, and all those it could gather with it, from the historic Orthodox Church.

The Addition to the Creed. A disagreement concerning the Holy Spirit also began to develop in the Church. Does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father? Or does He proceed from the Father and the Son? Two hundred years later, however, at a local council in Toledo, Spain (A.D. 589), King Reccared declared, "The Holy Spirit also should be confessed by us and taught to proceed FROM THE FATHER AND THE SON." This local Spanish council agreed with his error, and later, in what was a least partially a politically motivated move, the Pope of Rome UNILATERALLY CHANGED THE UNIVERSAL (CATHOLIC) CREED OF THE CHURCH WITHOUT AN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL. The consequence, of course, in the Western church has been the tendency to relegate the Holy Spirit TO A LESSER PLACE THAN GOD THE FATHER AND GOD THE SON. The issue, with the Pope departing from the Orthodox Doctrine of the Church, became another instrumental cause separating the Roman church from the historic Orthodox Church, the New Testament Church. [Source: The Orthodox Study Bible, p. 785]

There are of course numerous other major dogmatic heretical teachings that have solidified the existing separation for approximately one thousand years since there is no effort by the Roman church to conform and abide by the True Faith and to return to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Protestantism

Martin Luther, a German monk, launched an attack against certain Roman Catholic practices which ended up affecting world history. His list of Ninety-Five Theses was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg in 1517, signaling the start of what came to be called the Protestant Reformation. He was excommunicated in 1521, and the door to future unity in the West slammed shut with a resounding crash. As the decade followed decade in the West, the branches of Protestantism continue to divide. Today it is estimated that there are 35,000 to 40,000 Protestant denominations worldwide. Their main source is the Holy Scripture but with the freedom, for each protestant Christian and pastor, to give his/her own interpretation. Therefore, it is clear that there is no consensus among them on what the Gospel of Christ reveals. Therefore there are numerous false interpretations and heresies.

Scisms are very complex and have been painfully tearing and splitting the Church apart. No one can say that schisms are a good thing and something that her Founder and Head would approve of. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Who gave His life on the Cross for the Church expects the Christian faithful as He says, "TO BE ONE AS WE ARE ONE." Those who remain steadfast in their faith and abide by His commandments must be obedient to Him. Saint Paul in his letter to the Ephesians says, "For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ IS HEAD OF THE CHURCH AND HE IS THE SAVIOR OF THE BODY. Therefore, JUST AS THE CHURCH IS SUBJECT TO Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR HER, THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY AND CLEANSE HER WITH THE WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD, THAT HE MIGHT PRESENT HER TO HIMSELF A GLORIOUS CHURCH, NOT HAVING SPOT OR WRINKLE OR ANY SUCH THING, BUT THAT SHE SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH… FOR NO ONE EVER HATED HIS OWN FLESH, BUT NOURISHES AND CHERISHES IT, JUST AS THE LORD DOES THE CHURCH. FOR WE ARE MEMBERS OF HIS BODY, OF HIS FLESH AND OF HIS BONES…THIS IS A GREAT MYSTERY, BUT I SPEAK CONCERNING CHRIST AND THE CHURCH" (Ephesians 5:23-32).

_______________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +



With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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