Highlights in Christianity: Split in the Christian Church

In 999, Christianity spread across Europe and the majority of Europeans had converted to the religion. About 50 years later, a significant change happened within the Christian Church.

1054 , A split in the Christian Church.

A split takes place in the Christian Church and the two sects formed is Western (Catholic) and Eastern (Orthodox). The Catholic Church was centered in Rome, while the Orthodox Church was centered in Constantinople. One of the glaring differences between the two sects concentrated on the Trinity amongst other factors, including the Pope, language and concept of original sin.
The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics recognize the Pope in different ways. Roman Catholics see the Pope as a reliable religious figure that has a great deal of authority over all churches. They have the power to go against or assume the power of a lower ranking church leader, such as a bishop or priest. However, the Eastern Orthodox Church have an array of bishops with one being of higher rank. The Eastern Orthodox Church does not believe in a highest ranking bishop (or archbishop) that has supreme authority over all the churches. In the past, the Pope was highly influential, and while he may advice leaders of other countries , he does not have the power to make any changes.

The language of church services differs between the two sects that continued until the middle of the 20th century. Roman Catholic services had been performed in Latin instead of in native languages, while the early days of the Eastern Orthodox Church did not embrace the language of Rome. They had always conducted mass in native languages. The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican saw to it that Roman Catholic services would be conducted in the native tongue. You will find members of Opus Dei (a section within the Roman Catholic Church) that still celebrates the Latin mass.

The two churches even differ on opinions regarding the concept of original sin, which begins with the sins of Adam that occurred in the Garden of Eden. Both Churches believe in the concept of original sin. However, they both have different views on the consequences on humanity. The two Churches also hold baptism as a way to cleanse the soul of sin. Yet, how original sin applies to Mary (the mother of Jesus) is approached in different manners. Catholics feel that Mary was born without original sin , making her worthy of giving birth to the son of God. The Eastern Orthodox Church believes that Mary was born and would die like all people on earth, and that she was chosen to become Jesus’ mother because she had led a life full of virtue.

Other differences that exist between the two churches include the statues of Catholic churches versus the icons of Eastern Orthodox Churches. A Catholic priest is not permitted to marry, while Eastern Orthodox priests may take a wife prior to ordination. Members of the Eastern Orthodox Church do not believe in purgatory, and does not observe the Stations of the Cross. The Eastern Orthodox Church uses leavened bread while the Roman Catholic Eucharist is an unleavened wafer. Catholics and the Orthodox also calculate Easter and Christmas differently.