Review of East/West Debate (Part 3): Rejoinder to Craig Truglia


Truglia offered a small response to my previous article (Part 2) , and you can read that here. I here respond, once again. Craig’s replies in red, and mine underneath each.

1. You write something that should be corrected. You write, “Patriarch Simeon II as the duly governing Patriarch, but when he died in exile, after being carried off by the Turks to Cyprus, the crusading army elected a Latin Patriarch.” The Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem was established in 1099 AD. The rightful Patriarch of Jerusalem, Simeon II, lived on until 1106.

I would be curious to know the source of this. The sources I’ve consulted all indicate he probably died in 1099. 

Symeon of Jerusalem, watching from Cyprus, must have wondered about his future rights. He was never to know. He died in Cyprus, a few days before the Crusdaders entered into Jerusalem, in July 1099. The Crusaders found at Jerusalem neither a Patriarch nor the higher clergy of the Patriarchate. Symeon was dead, and his bishops were still in exile. It seemed perfectly reasonable for the Latins to elect a Patriarch from amongst their own bishops. No one bothered to consider the canonicity of the appointment, dubious though it was; and in the absence of the Greek bishops and a Greek candidate, the Orthodox throughout Palestine accept the Latin candidate without demur. ” (The Eastern Shcism, Runciman, p. 87)

It seems likely that when Symeon died in Cyprus in 1099, the Greek bishops from Palestine who were with him there took it upon themselves to elect a successor. They could argue that they were legally justified; and, though they could not return to Palestine themselves, they regarded the Latin hierarchy set up there as intrusive. They stayed in Cyprus, out of touch with their former flocks, who had accepted the Latins” (ibid, p 91) 

“By and large the arrangement established in the patriarchate of Jerusalem immediately after the fall of the Holy City to the crusaders (15 July 1099) followed the Antioch pattern. Whether the crusaders at the time were actually aware that the lawful primate incumbent, patriarch Symeon of Jerusalem, was dead, is not certain. Probably the news that he died in Cyprus, days before the fall of the Holy City, had no reached them” ( The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy, Papadakis, p. 94)

Initially the church authorities in Constantinople seem to have taken no action when, after the death of the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Symeon II, in 1099, the Franks appointed Latin Patriarchs” (The Latin Church in the Crusader States: The Secular Church, Bernard Hamilton, see link)

But even if one could argue that it was possible for Simeon II to have lived until 1106, there is no evidence that the Crusaders were aware of his surviving.

2. You write, “William of Tyre, albeit recording in the Latin defense, states that John V had willfully retired seeing that he could not usefully preside over Latins as a Greek.” It sounds to me that you correctly identify that his “retirement” was either doubtful or forced. Being that he continued to consider himself Patriarch for another 55 years(!), it is safe to say he was forcefully exiled.

Probably. But he did not consider himself Patriarch for another 55 years. In 1100, John V left Antioch and resigned Patriarchal office in Constantinople. The Greeks there elected a successor for Antioch, despite being in exile from it. C.f. Runciman, Eastern Schism, pp. 91-92. 

3. The schism was not complete by 1204, as you posit, and you even cite examples to the contrary. So I think your point here in saying it was not really important that the Latins set up a parallel church to be unconvincing.

Prior to the Latin patriarchs/clergy in the East, there was a real schism, nonetheless. And when these occupations ceased to exist (they are, after all, long gone, and were long gone before the Council of Lyons/Florence), the reality of schism persisted. But even then, there are exceptions to this rule. Consult Orthodox and Catholics in the Seventeenth Century: Schism or Intercommunion? (1972) by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, as well as his Eustratios Argenti: A Study of the Greek Church Under Turkish Rule (1964). And this would, if anything, only further call into question the “silver bullet” of the Crusade argument that Truglia is making vis-a-vis the Optatian principle. The fact of the matter is this, the Greeks understood the Latins to have ruptured their relationship with the true Church with the filioque doctrine, its insertion into the creed, the use of azymes, and the Papal claims. These doctrinal and canonical divergences were there far before the Crusades were launched, and they were still there as the principal cause of the schism far after the parallel-church matter was long gone.

4. You cite that the Orthodox considered Latins schismatics because they were heretics, not because of the whole second chair issue. I dispute this. St Mark of Ephesus, himself a moderate Papalist and coming to Ferrara with the view the Latins could be convinced and have their views tweeked said the following one liner when he started hearing their views: “They are not only schismatics, they are also heretics!” So clearly, he was able to differentiate between their schism and their doctrinal heresies to even make the comment. So, just because some Orthodox seem not to (I think there are some Orthodox who even think it is *they* who left Rome and not the other way around), they would be both historically ignorant and ecclesiologically mistaken.

A distinction, but not always a separation. Many times a heresy is the direct cause of schism. For Mark of Ephesus, it was the addition of the filioque, which far predates the launch of the crusades by Pope Urban, and even more so before his successor Pascal. Nothing about a 2nd altar or chair comes up. Mark writes:

The Latins are not only schismatics but heretics… we did not separate from them for any other reason other than the fact that they are heretics. This is precisely why we must not unite with them unless they dismiss the addition from the Creed filioque and confess the Creed as we do

And :

It was they who gave grounds for the schism by openly making the addition [the Filioque] which, until then they had spoken in secret, while we were the first to separate ourselves from them, or rather, to separate and cut them off from the common Body of the Church. Why, may I ask? Because they have the right Faith or have made the addition [to the Creed] in an Orthodox fashion? Surely whoever would begin to talk like that would not be right in the head? But rather because they have an absurd and impious opinion and for no reason at all made the addition. And so we have turned away from them, as from heretics, and have shunned them.” (Encyclical Letter of Mark of Ephesus, Orthodox Ethos)

5. John X of Constantinople did not die in 1204 (the year the Latins made a replacement, it appears the Pope made it official in May of 1205). The rightful patriarch died in exile in April/May of 1206.

Was this a correction of something I said in the article?

6. I do not think you have showed from St Optatus that he viewed that Rome, if they had conducted the sort of activities the Donatists did by setting up a parallel church, would have avoided schism by virtue of being the one ecclesiastical constant that all ecclesiastical bodies hinge upon. In fact, such a view would have eviscerated his own point in even pointing out that those who set up second chairs are in fact the schismatics. This seems to me fairly obvious when reading Optatus, and other early writers like Cyprian, but I honestly believe Roman Catholic apologists are so captive to a circular epistemology that they cannot come to grips with this.

On the contrary, If you read book 2 , chapter 1, Optatus reaches a point where he will expound on the “endowments” or “adornments” given to the true Church by which he is what she is, and chapter 2 opens up with the “Chair of Peter” being one of these adornments, and plants it in Rome by the Apostle Peter himself. No preface about a Donatist schism in Rome calling forth this general reference to Rome or the Apostle Peter. That is a fact after the matter.

Doubly on the contrary, Dr. Ed Siecienski, an Eastern Orthodox scholar and chief Byzantinist on the subject at current, comments on the Optatian argumentation far extending the merely Petrine line versus Victorian line:

“In the Western Church the decades following the Council of Constantinople witnessed an increase in the power and prestige of Rome, as Damasus’s heirs continued to strengthen the ties between themselves and the great apostle. We see during this period, in the writings of Pope Siricius (384-89) and Boniface (418-22), the first indications of the Bishop of Rome’s “mystical” connection to Peter, who continued to exercise authority through his successor. Even in places like Africa, which had historically been resistant to Roman interference, the Donatist heresy led orthodox writers like Optatus to stress the church’s catholicity and the “single fellowship of communion” enjoyed by all the churches joined with the Church of Rome. Rome, after all, was “the first episcopal see . . . which was occupied by Peter the head of the apostles . . . so that in this one see unity might be preserved by all, lest the other apostles should maintain their own.”  (The Papacy and the Orthodox, p. 165)

Also, check out his footnote (#124) which references Robert Eno’s article in the Thomist on Optatus and African ecclesiology.

It seems really silly, but I think it is worth everyone here watching the following clip from Big Daddy. Please watch, because it is very important because it helps us grasp the key weakness in Roman apologetics


Now, let me frame the above discussion as if it were between a RC and Orthobro:

Debate about “who started the schism”
RC: The Pope did not start the schism, because Popes cannot schism by default.
Orthobro: But, the saints literally define “schism” as setting up a parallel church body and by all accounts the RCs did this and continued this policy, maintaining Latin Patriarchates for almost 1,000 years.
RC: Well, that does not matter because even though that’s how non-Popes go into schism, Pope’s cannot go into schism by default.

This is literally the debate, and quite frankly, the Roman position is terrible. In my honest opinion, no one in good conscience can convert to Roman Catholicism precisely for this reason.

Well, I must say that I am surprised to see one who holds the receptionist view of infallible Councils to exemplify what it means for the pot to call the kettle black. Effectively, these so-called “infallible” Councils are stripped of their own authority to say they have reached final irreformability, and it is only the groups which say “I win” or “You lose” that form the criteria of infallible councils. The Orthodox themselves have called this out. But in reality, this is not all that bad. The Orthodox don’t believe the Church, by definition, can go into schism. So if an Anglican, who holds to the Branch Theory, or a history-respecting Reformed Protestant, or even a free-Church Evangelical, were to be playing cards with a traditional Eastern Orthodox, and the accusation to the Orthodox were to be stated as “The Orthodox Church is in schism from the true body of Christ”, the Eastern Orthodox Christian would insist that such a thing is impossible. There is a healthy circularity in the domain of divine revelation, and none of us should shy away from it. But there are reasons why Craig’s point really does fail to represent Catholicism. In the first place, he is wrong that the Saints simply define schism as a parallel bishopric presiding at a parallel alter (c.f. Mark of Ephesus above). If that were *the* definition of schism, then the parallel Alexandrian hierarchy established after the condemnation of Dioscorus in 451 by the Chalcedonian episcopate would have been a schismatic act, but this isn’t how Chalcedonians view it. Rather, Dioscorus withdrew himself from the Church of God, and so was excised from the Church through conciliar decree. It was not that the Chalcedonian episcopate went into schism. Similarly, schism was also understood as a withdrawal of a major clerics name from the diptcyhes (c.f. John X of Constantinople’s letter to Pope Innocent III). In the case of the Eastern Churches not in union with Rome, we are safe to say that, even though the crusades were a landmark which put the schism into the hearts of the people of both East/West, there was a schism prior to this which had causes far exceeding the nature of parallel episcopates, and this is why when the latter were done and gone, the schism persisted. 
We can get into a thousand different examples, such as the whole world rejecting Victor I’s excommunication, the whole world rejecting Stephen I’s excommunication, the vast majority of the world (with the exception of the Italian peninsula perhaps) rejecting Meletius’ excommunication, and etc. How can we seriously maintain that the whole Church bought into such an absurd view of schism, as I see being expounded here by the RC side?

This is just historically erroneous. The “whole world” did not reject Victor’s excommunication. I see no sign of that from Eusebius’s account of the event. How did it end? We read from Eusebius – “Thus Irenæus, who truly was well named, became a peacemaker in this matter, exhorting and negotiating in this way in behalf of the peace of the churches. And he conferred by letter about this mooted question, not only with Victor, but also with most of the other rulers of the churches.” (Eusebius V.24). However, it wouldn’t appear that this is how it ended, at least for long. Those who held to the Jewish schedule were soon severed from the Asian episcopate itself. At the Council of Nicaea (325), the settlement over the date of Easter was not some long-drawn out reception of Rome’s original decree on the matter from back in the 2nd-century concerning Asiatics. It would appear, that had been resolved by then. Rather, as St. Athanasius tells us, it was not the Asiatics that concerned the Council of Nicaea, but rather the “Syrians, Cilicians, and Mesopotamians” who were “out of order in celebrating the feast, and kept Easter with the Jews” (De Synodis; PG 26.688). Those who observed Eastern otherwise were considered schismatic by then. In any case, no hint of a universal rejection of Rome’s sentence on Asia. If that were the case, Eusebius would have said so. Rather, Eusebius seems to think the matter came to “peace”. But we really don’t know how it ended, truthfully. The same should be said for Stephen’s excommunication. Especially for Meletios. No evidence exists of his excommunication from the body of Christ decreed by Rome.

As for whether the universal Church accepted the Papal theory, one needn’t read further than the history behind the Councils of Ephesus (431), Ephesus (449), and Chalcedon (451) to see the Church’s belief about the Papacy. In fact, one of the most pre-eminent Saints of the Eastern tradition, St. Theodore the Studite, said this in a letter to Pope Leo:

Because Christ the God gave to great Peter together with the keys of the kingdom the office of pastoral primacy, it is to Peter, that is, to his successor that it is necessary to refer whatever innovation is attempted by those who err from the truth. It is this that we, the humble and least, have been always taught by our fathers” (Letter 33; PG 99:1017)

Greek Orthodox Professor of Philosophy, Fr John Panteleimon Manoussakis, comments on this short passage from St. Theodore:

It is interesting to note in the case of this letter that St. Theodore affirms three points pertinent to our discussion: a) that Peter (and subsequently his successor) is given by Christ a certain primacy in accordance with Matt 16:18; b) that this primacy is personal, that is, exercised by a person (Peter, Peter’s successor); and c) that this view was ‘always taught by our fathers’, that is, it was not a personal sentiment of St. Theodore but a perennial belief shared by the fathers of old. The history of the first millennium leaves no room for doubting that the Pope’s primacy in terms of such Petrine ministry was universally acknowledged and accepted even by the Greek-speaking Church. Theologically, there is no reason why the Orthodox Church should not do the same presently” (For the Unity of All: Contributions to the Theological Dialogue between East and West, p. 36; translation of Theodore also taken from the same)

At the end of the day, Truglia’s historical hermeneutic won’t allow for the embrace of any authoritative ecclesiology. In his mind, if there be ambiguity in primitive times, then all times are given the fate of ambiguity. But this is a crypto-Protestantism brought into the Orthodox Church. Pope’s can’t issue irreformable doctrine, nor discipline outside her Patriarchate (unless invited to). Councils can err, and are not, a priori, nor ipso facto, endowed with infallible authority. Bishops can certainly err. Saints can certainly err. And yet, for Truglia, the Church “cannot err”. Forgive me, but I fail to see how this does not match the Reformed Protestant distinctives. The Reformed believe that the “elect”, which is the “new Israel”, and thus the “Church of Christ”, cannot revert to apostasy, heresy, or schism from Christ. And so there is posited some sort of invisible infallibility existing in this invisible host of members that claim the name of Christ. The Eastern Orthodox Church, for Truglia, can’t really ever specify in an authoritative manner what the faith really is. She is forever bound up in the spontaneous, the fluid, the shadow of mysticism, and the escape of rationalism. And thus, even if one were to try and espouse a sort of Conciliar Supremacy, this too, along with Papal supremacy, would be inadmissible to those of his thinking. All Conciliar decrees are at the risk of annulment, rejection, abrogation, or acceptance, and finally, entrance into the Church’s liturgy. And it is there, for once, that one might sense a note of the concrete. Lex orandi, lex credendi, as it goes. Only, I am all too curious how this works, given that Pope St. Leo the Great, a sure Papalist as acknowledged by virtually all historians, makes his way into the Orthodox Church’s hymnography. For instance:

O Champion of Orthodoxy, and teacher of holiness, The enlightenment of the universe and the inspired glory of true believers.O most wise Father Leo, your teachings are as music of the Holy Spirit for us!Pray that Christ our God may save our souls!” (Troparian – Tone 8)

O glorious Leo, when you rose to the Bishop’s throne, You shut the lions’ mouths with the true doctrine of the Holy Trinity:You enlightened your flock with the knowledge of God.Therefore you are glorified, O seer of things divine!” (Kontakion – Tone 3)

In the Church’s celebration of Orthodoxy Sunday, where the Synodikon is chanted, they say:

To them who reject the teachings which were pronounced for the establishment of the true doctrines of the Church of God by the Holy Fathers Athanasios, Cyril, Ambrose, Amphilochios the God-proclaiming, Leo the most holy Archbishop of Old Rome, and by all the others, and furthermore, who do not embrace the Acts of the Ecumenical Councils, especially those of the Fourth, I say, and of the Sixty

I have cataloged more than 15 non-Catholic historians and their comments concerning the ecclesiology of St. Leo. Unless Craig thinks all 15 of these renowned scholars of history have, as he would think, pretzels for brains, I think he should take their commentary very seriously. Now, one might retort , “Nowhere in there is Leo’s Papalism endorsed!“. But that isn’t so much the point here. The point is that St. Leo is being upheld as a standard for holy orthodoxy, as a person. And since , according to Orthodox spirituality, one only obtains this through direct participation in the energies of God through which one is deified, then Leo’s Papalism was, at the very least, compatible with said deification. “It wasn’t condemned yet!“. True, and it has yet to be condemned by the Eastern Orthodox. It is interesting, however, to see how all the rationalistic apologetics for which Catholics are so pompously belittled for bringing to the table end up being the very same method coming out of the mouth of certain Orthodox apologists. Sure, “it wasn’t condemned yet!” is right, and it remains to be. And what opportunity there was! I am curious, as well, to know if, once there is a Council which condemns the “heresy” of the Papacy, if all the Sainted Popes of the East in the first 10 centuries will be cataloged, just like Honorius was cataloged alongside the Monothelites at the 6th-council, since, of course, it was by then that they were condemned. Truly, with the amount of Papal claims coming from the Orthodox Popes, one might say Honorius should be forgiven straight-away for 2 measly letters which were ambiguous anyhow. Yes, there is something to the Church’s canonization of a person, just like there is something to the Church’s anathema of a person. Moreover, something about this “Nowhere in there is Leo’s Papalism endorsed!” which carries irony. Catholics are always being chided for their rationalist conditions by which they parse out portions of the past doctrine as “infallible” versus other “fallible” material, since this serves as an opportunity to point out the post de facto pseudo-engineering of the Papal intellectual gymnastic. And yet, here we are, with the Orthodox parsing out portions of “infallible” versus “fallible” content within the Church’s Councils (can’t let Philip the Presbyter’s famous citation from Ephesus 431 be accepted!) and liturgy. Leo-the-Christologist, not Leo-the-Papalist. Agatho-the-Christologist, not Agatho-the-Papalist. Augustine-the-oops, not Augustine-the-Filioquist. So on and so forth. Ah, yes. The parsing and conditioning. I’ll remember this the next time the drone goes off about the Latins engineering their pre-made partitions by which to build the super-structure of novel heresies. But there is more, you see. “He didn’t mean what Vatican I meant!“. Let’s review. He wrote a letter to Archbishop St. Flavian with the intention that it would be sufficient to explain the correct teaching on our Lord’s duality of manhood and Godhood. He receives appeals from Ecumenical Councils, and overturns their sentences. He claims to be able to  annul canons put forth by the Council, on the authority he inherited by occupying the throne of St. Peter the Apostle. The Council, when seeking to handle properly the uncanonical consecration of Maximus for the Archbishopric of Antioch (since Domnus was still technically the occupant), Chalcedon justifies the continuance of Maximus because “Leo judged”. The very Patriarch of Constantinople admits that the decrees and canons of the Council are reserved for the Pope’s decision, to which Leo undoubtedly corroborated in both word and deed. What was it that was the highest authority in the Orthodox Church? A Council? Well, here is a perfect example of a Pope exercising authority both over the Council, and without being accountable to it. And on a matter of doctrine, no less than discipline.

“It was a minority view!” – If the Papal claims are a minority view, I’d hate to have to be the one to find out what the majority was. Recall, Arianism was more hell after Nicaea; not before. Pope St. Celestine I instructed his legates to Ephesus (431) that they were to “enter into no contest“, but only to execute “what had already been decided by the Apostolic See”. Let’s say the Eastern bishops disagreed (they didn’t). What then? The legates of Rome, being the only Latins present, still represented half the oikumene! There goes the majority. So it would seem that Truglia’s hermeneutic disables him from not just any Papal theory, but also all Conciliar theories, since the latter come short of making the majority. Especially if we are going to, alongside Fr. Manoussakis, believe St. Theodore the Studite who said that every novelty must be referred to Peter’s successor, on account of Christ’s bestowal of universal pastoral authority, as a matter which had been delivered by “the fathers of old“, which is another way of saying the ecclesiastical tradition of both East and West.

Don’t look at their words, look at their actions!” – Lastly, we are told that whatever words might have been uttered aloud, or penned down on scroll for which a copy or more exists today for us to read, it is only worth a nickel compared to the 100 dollar bill of what is done with actions. After all, actions speak louder than words. And so, just by the fact that the bishops of the 1st millennium gathered into Councils is indicative that they never held to the Papacy. I wonder, then, how the Latins, far after their promotion of the Hildebrandian Reform, continued to meet into Councils. In fact, we just had one of the largest Councils known to Church history just 50+ years ago, and whose dynamic was not so much a Pope writing the answer to everyone’s questions, but even welcomed the contribution of theologians, i.e. the un-ordained, let alone non-Bishops. Clearly, since in the first millennium, men such as St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Athanasius, St. Maximus the Confessor, St. John of Damascus, St. Theodore the Studite, and St. Augustine are given the doctrinal crowns, where Pope’s almost rarely participate. Surely, there was no Papacy during this time. Well, I wonder then, how St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, Blessed Duns Scotus, Nicholas of Cusa, St. Robert Bellarmine, and Blessed John Henry Newman all ended up influencing more of the theology which came from Popes than from Popes themselves. But you see, those Councils held in the 2nd-millennium are far different. There, it is only what the Pope ratifies that gets accepted as part of the Concilium. Well, that seems to approximate to Pope St. Celestine, Pope St. Leo, Pope St. Agatho, Vigilius, and even Pope John VIII from engagements with the Greek Councils. And do we even need to rehearse the history of the Formula of Pope St. Hormisdas? Talk about actions, minus words. Here, the Eastern Patriarchates give in to revising the Council of Chalcedon, and rejecting Pope St. Leo’s tome, and, upon venturing into a schism stretching 30+ years, have to sign a document which spells out the Papal claims in clearest fashion. “But the East didn’t really embrace that part of the Formula!” – Very well, then the East entered into communion with Papists, knowing they were Papists. And let’s not forget that with the amount of bishops, and the amount of times, the Tome of St. Hormisdas had been signed by Eastern representatives, we more assent than all the Councils of the first millennium put together. Far from a minority report.

17 thoughts on “Review of East/West Debate (Part 3): Rejoinder to Craig Truglia

  1. ” The sources I’ve consulted all indicate he probably died in 1099.”

    I was simply looking at Orthowiki, I have not done an in depth study of the Jerusalem Patriarchate.

    I am a little skeptical of your sources, even Papadakis, are relying on to extrapolate a date. It appears to me they are relying upon Michel Le Quien, who wrote a history 350 years ago.)

    Two Muslim sources (apparently the oldest ones) say Euthymius was Patriarch in 1096 and put the date of his removal on the day the Latins conquered Jerusalem. (Source: P.464 of the same source gets into more detail, saying that Euthymius continued to be Patriarch until approximately 1109 according to one Greek source (the Arab sources stop at the Crusade). Also, reading the same source, it appears that “Latin sources” state that Symeon II died after the crusade. For me to make a better determination at this point, at least concerning Latin intentions, I would have to read their chroniclers. From the very sources you cite, they admit the Latins did not seem to care whether Symeon II was alive. As for Euthymius, being that both Greek and Arab sources place him as Patriarch during the crusade, it is possible he was in effect Symeon II’s legate or even a Greek usurper. However, it appears that in any event there was a Greek BIshop there, he did not die before the Latins took over, and he was replaced.

    ‘he did not consider himself Patriarch for another 55 years.”

    Can you quote Ruciman? And who is he relying upon? French Medievalist Jean Richard states that after getting kicked out of Antioch, John V was essentially reaffirmed as Patriarch. So, I think him “not considering himself Patriarch” is false and any pseudo-resignation at sword point is highly suspect. (Source: Richard also says that this was typical of a protracted policy of Latins replacing Greek bishops in many areas.

    I think to say the Latins did not replace Bishops, which was not a position you initially took but a tact that you are perhaps feeling out right now, is revisionist. I think, without looking at any resources, common sense dictates that a native population of Arabic and liturgically Greek speakers considered themselves to have Greek Bishops and reattached themselves to Greek Bishops quickly enough once the Latins were kicked out. So, I think we are making a simple issue much more complicated than it really is, the Latins were usurpers.

    As for Mark of Ephesus quote, in more context, it did job my memory–because I did read that fuller quote. And now I agree with you, St Mark of Ephesus is saying the Latins were in schism *because* they were heretics. We should note that, however, this does not mean Mark of Ephesus did not think they made a parallel church or not, but rather, the Greeks could not submit to the false teaching. While I do not consider this the Patristic definition of schism (which I have, in fact defined in the debate right from the fathers), it is not false. Obviously, the schismatics are going to have to be heretics ultimately. I do not think Rome identifies any schismatic body as being completely orthodox in every respect. The Orthodox, obviously, would have the same view. As for whether any medieval Greek writers have made the same observation I have, I don’t know because I have not studied them enough. What I have shown, and what I think you have not disproven, is that the patristic definition IS setting up a parallel church and history proves this out. I don’t have to show a Greek contemporary, without the benefit of hindsight, who would have realized that the historical criteria of schism was met. Though it *is* curious that the parallel church thing has not come up in any Greeks from post schism you have read. I have not read enough of them, so I remain agnostic on how self-aware they were. My shooting at the hip guess is that it was not clear to them how extensive the schism was until 1204. Before that, it probably seemed like jockeying over lands and revenues in Arab territory. When it “hit home” there was no doubt of overt Latin usurpation and aggression. THe same would be true in Slavic lands. At that point, the earlier Latin policy, which may have seemed simply underhanded, was seen for what it was–overt schism.

    As for the Greeks considering the Latins heretics, this goes back centuries before the schism, specifically the 7th century (Maximus on the Filioque, Trullo, etc.) So, unless we place the date of the schism way back then, which no one does, then we are stuck with the criteria I have laid out. And, as I pointed out, the only Roman response is “well, the Latins can do the wrong thing, but they’re the Latins so it does not matter.” It is very interesting your response essentially dodged this by invoking a tangent about receptionism, which is silly because one has nothing to do with the other. The reception of a doctrine by consensus, which is something that even the Roman tradition allows for because its from St Vincent, does not somehow make it where the Orthodox can just presuppositionally claim they are right (unlike your own position.) Rather, it gives us independent confirmation that the councils both you and I accept endorse receptionism (particularly Nicea II), St Vincent de Lerins endorses receptionism, and the definition of schism we have all received from the writings of the fathers and the Scriptures themselves clearly show that breaking communion and setting up an alternate hierarchy *is* schism. And guess what, that’s exactly what Rome did. THere is no dodging it. THey maintained Latin Patriarchates for the east into the 21st century. So again, the Roman position is: schism is only wrong unless we do it, and when we do it, it is magically not schism anymore.

    It’s an aweful ecclesiology and terrible epistemology. I cannot understand how anyone can be convinced by it. But there are a lot of things I do not understand.

    I’ll give you the last word. I have a new baby in this world and I feel we are grinding powder at this point.

    God bless,

    • (1) Jerusalem – There is the 12th century Latin chronicler Albert of Aix who gives the obituary of Symeon II. Consult here :

      I can’t find any resources which put him alive after 1099, nor that the Latin Crusaders were aware of intruding.

      (2) On Antioch – Runciman states:

      “In 1100 John left Antioch and retired to Constantinople, together with his upper clergy. The official Latin version, designed to preserve the apostolic succession , was that he saw that as a Greek he could not conveniently preside over Latins and so resigned his see. But he himself thought otherwise. He had been driven into exile. Soon after his arrival at Constantinople, he resigned , anxious to recover from his bitter experiences in the peace of a monastery, where he penned an unfriendly treatise against the azymites. His exiled clergy, with the Emperor’s approval, appointed a sucessor, whom the whole Orthodox world regarded as the legitimate Patriarch. The Greeks in the principality might be forced to submit to a Latin hierarchy, but they openly desired the return of the Greek line; and it became a fundamental point in Imperial policy to have the See of Antioch restored to Orthodoxy” (pp. 91-92)

      In footnote 1 of the same page, “John himself certianly considered that he had resigned only on his arrival at Constantinpple. His act of abdication survives, given in Benechewitch, Catalogus Codicum Manuscriptorum Graecorum Siniaticorum, p. 279.”

      (3) You wrote: “I think to say the Latins did not replace Bishops, which was not a position you initially took but a tact that you are perhaps feeling out right now, is revisionist” – No, I still hold to the position I expressed. Merely specifying what actually happened in order that the story might not be reduced to an oversimplification. Not only would it be slanderous to just lump everyone of the Latins into a serious crime of schism from beginning to end, one which we might even end up having to give an account for before the Lord, but there is evidence to suggest more care to facts. Aside from that, I still believe that a greater Council should have been convened to discuss the relationship of doctrine before *persisting* with a Latin occupation.I hold that while also realizing that the Greeks were already unsympathetic to union with the Latins on a large scale, and were critical of the filioque, papal claims, and the use of azymes. A willingness to partake in an Ecumenical Council was had on the part of many of the Popes, but not for a plan to recant any of the supposed errors that were numbered against the Latins.

      (4) You wrote: “What I have shown, and what I think you have not disproven, is that the patristic definition IS setting up a parallel church and history proves this out.” – Well, what I have done is take your sources, such as St. Optatus, St. Augustine, and added another contemporary, St. Jerome, and we could add St. Ambrose, that they understood that the unity-function of Peter vis-a-vis the Apostles was not only inherited by each bishop vis-a-vis the local diocese, but also of the Roman Church vis-a-vis the universal network of churches. As I mentioned many times, even St. Cyprian held that the Roman Church carries the property of the unity-function of Peter in relation to the churches, having called it the “chair of Peter” (par exellence), and the “principal church”, and the place where “priestly unity has its origin”. That he was prepared to enter into schism with Rome can mean more than one thing, one of which is that he was not living consistent with the principles inherent in his own De Unitate. This is even the position taken by a former Eastern Orthodox professor of History @ St. Sergius, Fr. Nicolas Afanasssieff, as he expounds in his essay in the volume “The Primacy of Peter” edited by Fr John Meyendorff. No one carried Cyprian’s idea around the local bishop being judgment free, and saints of the Church defended Pope St. Stephen’s claims and actions in that context. On the witness of Augustine and Jerome, you have only came up with the unfounded explanation which says that they focused the Chair of Peter in Rome out of superficial flattery.But this hardly suffices to explain, given the context. As for Optatus, I’ve given you the context of Book II, and I have even cited an Eastern Orthodox historian which corroborates my interpretation. The very source you first went to in order to derive what it means to be “in schism”, was teaching the very thing about the Roman Chair of Peter that you believe is completely made up, horrible, and cannot be the object of anyone’s good conscience. Simply hand-waving this off from 500 feet away is not going to erase that fact. Nor will an appeal to the situation of Victor of Garba in the local Roman city undermine what scholars of non-Catholic backgrounds have noticed, not least Siecienski and JND Kelly. But we wouldn’t even need to dial back to recent historians. We have the witness of holy Leo the Great, who wrote in Epistle 14:

      “And though they have a common dignity, yet they have not uniform rank; inasmuch as even among the blessed Apostles, notwithstanding the similarity of their honourable estate, there was a certain distinction of power, and while the election of them all was equal, yet it was given to one to take the lead of the rest. From which model has arisen a distinction between bishops also, and by an important ordinance it has been provided that every one should not claim everything for himself: but that there should be in each province one whose opinion should have the priority among the brethren: and again that certain whose appointment is in the greater cities should undertake a fuller responsibility, through whom the care of the universal Church should converge towards Peter’s one seat, and nothing anywhere should be separated from its Head”

      This is the Papal hierarchy as outlined by an Eastern Orthodox Saint more than 500 years before the Greek-Latin schism, and he presents it as coming from Apostolic origin. It can be safe to say that Cyprian, though endorsing the basic material of Rome as the “head”, did not go all the way to admit he was the “subject” of Rome, as Leo here teaches.

      (5) “As for the Greeks considering the Latins heretics, this goes back centuries before the schism, specifically the 7th century (Maximus on the Filioque, Trullo, etc.) So, unless we place the date of the schism way back then, which no one does, then we are stuck with the criteria I have laid out.”

      I have explained why this explanation does not work, and it would chiefly be that when those parallel hierarchies ceased to exist, the schism was retained, and for matters related to doctrine, canon law, and ecclesiology, the very things which sent a clear message to the West far before the Crusades that the Greeks had left their “obedience to the Apostolic See”.

      (6) You wrote: “And, as I pointed out, the only Roman response is “well, the Latins can do the wrong thing, but they’re the Latins so it does not matter.” It is very interesting your response essentially dodged this by invoking a tangent about receptionism, which is silly because one has nothing to do with the other.”

      I don’t believe this is an accurate representation of my view in your quotes, and I did not dodge anything. The Eastern Orthodox sobornostic doctrine of receptionism is not the same thing as the Catholic idea of reception, and being unaware of these differences would cause one to conflate the two. Receptionism in Catholicism has a confirmatory role, but when it follows an exercise of the Church’s magisterium, such as a Council under the government of the Pope, it obtains an immediate irreformability assuming the right conditions are set in place. Future diffusion of the doctrinal content into the universal church, the liturgy, re-affirmations at future councils, etc,etc all have the notion of “added confirmation”, but not in substance. On the other hand, for the Khamiokovian-ideology, the Council obtains no irreformability on its own, but must be supplemented in order for its decree to enjoy the status of irreformability. Now, the reason why the Big Daddy video applies to the Orthodox no less than Catholics is because the Orthodox believe in Ecclesial and Conciliar infallibility (with the proper conditions set in place, of course). The Orthodox Church has been in support of many devious practices throughout her past, and yet this never warranted breaking unity with her. For example, while you like to appeal to the 5th Ecumenical Council held in Constantinople (553) as a sort of cruise-control refutation of the Papacy, it was this Council who met under the authority of Emperor St. Justinian I, who himself had terrorized the Carthaginian episcopate, the Alexandrian episcopate, and brought many misfortunes upon the Pope and his associated clergy who accompanied him in Rome. Justininan, in fact, deposed the ordinary of Carthage and Alexandria, in order to replace these sees with people who were supportive of his Edict on the Three Chapters. I am curious, do you think that the “deposed” ordinary of Carthage, or the “deposed” ordinary of Alexandria, had a right to convict Justinian, and those Bishops who communed with him, to be schismatical? No, and you would be wrong if you did. But I can assure you that you would have looked just like the little boy in Big Daddy if you were in support of the Imperial policy at the time to many churches far abroad in both East and West. One of the lessons here learned is that God instituted a visible Church whose essential structure and vitality is not , and cannot ever be, obliterated through open and unrepentant scandal by its leadership. Some see it as a misfortune that Christ never gave a “back up blueprint” for how to establish anew the Church when the ordinaries of the episcopate which has unbroken succession from the Apostles takes a dive into scandal. We have no choice but to bear with it, and receive our reward for the patience and forbearance required to get through it. In any case, the Khamiokovian-reception ideology is a different animal, as it subjectively circumscribes the “Church” to those who happen to agree with the content of a certain data set of doctrine. This is another “I win”! moment. The Egyptian, Assyrian, Armenian, and Syriac episcopates never accepted Chalcedon. Why then is Chalcedon an ecumenucal council? Was it received by the whole East? No. But, the Khamiokovian might retort, “But they are heretics and schismatics”? Ok, then who are the people qualified to speak on behalf of Chalcedon? “the Christians who are in union with Chalcedonian-bishops”. is the answer given. But it begs the question since the circle your drawing around “those qualified” is measured by your own fancy. Ergo, “I win”.

      (7) “It’s an aweful ecclesiology and terrible epistemology. I cannot understand how anyone can be convinced by it. But there are a lot of things I do not understand.”

      It might not be beautiful, nor pleasing to the intellect. But is it what the tradition as handed down is the more important question.

      And congrats on the new baby! I wish your family the best

      • BTW, Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) has some quotes from Mark of Ephesus on the schism. This one sticks out:

        that the Latins are not only schismatics but heretics as well; and our Church kept this in secret for our nation was much weaker than theirs’ (J. Harduin, Acta Consiliorum, Parisiis 1715 Eq.)

        “as heretics we turned away from them, and for this reason we separated ourselves from them…. they are heretics therefore, and as heretics we cut them off”.


        ““We must flee from them as one flees from a snake or from them [the Latins] themselves; as they are much more dangerous, being Christ-profiteers and Christ-merchants”. And later on he writes about them: “Brothers, depart from them and from communion with them; they are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as Apostles of Christ”.”

        I think Mark was commenting on the current situation with Rome’s doctrines necessitated a disciplinary cutting off. However, he is not commenting on this being the cause of the schism, at least from what i can tell–though the quote you use appears that way.

  2. About the formula of Hormisdas, some argue that it isn’t the case that a majority of the East actually accepted the letter.

    To quote an unanswered comment: “…In Mansi, it records that the Ecumenical Patriarch, John of Cappadpocia (who was theologically wishy-washy and scheming to say the least…) and several clergy under him signed the Libellus of Hormisdas but makes no mention of numbers, let alone “2,500 bishops.”

    As far as we know, it’s only the clergy of Constantinople who signed the Libellus as after 520, Pope St. Hormisdas had delegated the task to John of Cappadpcia’s successor, Epiphanius in letter 80…

    …As for the other sees, as far as I know, Alexandria didn’t come into communion with Rome and Constantinople until 538. There’s no record of Antioch signing the specific “Libellus of Hormisdas” so much as Paul “the Jew” trying to force adherance to Chalcedon. As mentioned above, the libellus from Jerusalem needed to be inspected, so it wasn’t the one you’re referring to. So, that is only 1/4 of the patriarchs signing it.”

    What do you think of the above objections to the Hormisdian Formula argument?

    • Yes Rusticus is a witness to the amount of signatures turned in. The history itself is pretty persuasive. Rome was out of communion with the East. Rome made the Formula as indispensible for her communion. Therefore, those who came into communion with Rome accepted the formula, whether it was in 519, or in many other places in history up unto the Council of Constantinople 869. Moderator’s comments will be answered eventually.

      • Energetic Procession had an article on the Acacian Schism ( In short a modified formula of Hormisdas was made, and even then not everyone signed it, and those who did, did so without qualification. So, I think it really is not an accurate apologetic talking point.

        I found this section of the comment interesting: “he variant Greek and Latin readings of the formula can be seen in the letter of Pope Hadrian to Basil and Constantine in the acts of the 869 council in Mansi, xvi. 21”

      • Yes, I’ve known of Perry’s article for for a very long time. He takes from the scholarship of Fr Puller, and Anglican apologist. I respond to this in an upcoming work, though I’ve responded to it more than one in the papacy group

    • Yes, this is one of the theories. So than is the subject who receives the Council infallible, or do they need to be enrolled in another process of reception by different subjects?

      • No, those who receive the councils of course aren’t infallible either.

        As far as I can tell, councils (whether ecumenical or no) are just basically people saying what they believe. Their later reception is simply indicative that some people agree with those beliefs. Nothing more.

      • Well your opinion does not align with the Council of Jerusalem (1672) which was accepted by all the Patriarchs, and inserted as one of the symbolic books in the Larger Catechism of Philaret. In other words your opinion is not held by the Orthodox Church

  3. One more thought – the Council you refer to compares the infallibility of the Church to the infallibility of the Scriptures. I will say that that was a surprising statement. But I think it’s worth asking why we trust the Scriptures.

    The canonical history of the Scriptures is pretty complex. Sure, you can cite Trent, etc., but the Scriptures were the Scriptures long before any Christian council attempted to define the canonical boundaries of the Bible. I don’t think that there is any mechanism that we can point to that was used in antiquity to “prove” that some writings are infallible whilst others are not. Did that stop the faithful from believing in the infallibility of Sacred Scripture?

    Do you think that there is a parallel here? Why or why not?

  4. Pingback: Saint Optatus on Schism : A Critique of an Eastern Orthodox Interpretation | Erick Ybarra

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