Given that the validity of the Western legates' act is doubtful since Pope Leo had died and Cerularius' excommunication only applied to individuals, why was the schism allowed to continue to the mutual detriment of the church especially the papal given that the New World had not been 'discovered' a millennium ago the pope would have lost supremacy over a very large population in Christendom?


Another point I'm not sure on is that of the four original patriarchies Rome, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch did the schism applies to the three see's as well as the fifth patriarchy of Constantinople?


What were the positions of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch?

Did Alexandria and Antioch see's still exist?

If so why would the excommunication apply to Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch too?

  • The early centers of Christianity didn't exist by then.
    – John Dee
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 0:09

1 Answer 1


The early centers of Christianity, that is Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, all sided with the Eastern (Greek Orthodox) Church. Rome did not recognize the position of these cities (except in a subordinate role) and the Orthodox Church did.

Rome was the last of the five major cities to become Christian. It was, however, the most powerful, first because it was the political capital of what was then the Roman Empire. Later, it became the religious "capital" of western Europe, serving France, Spain, Italy, Britain,and later Germany, that is, the "Holy Roman Empire."

The (Roman) Catholic church was the aggressor; that is, it was the first to challenge the legitimacy of the other (eastern) religious centers in the Christian hierarchy. Its attacks were directly mainly at Constantinople, but it was basically unfriendly to the other eastern cities as well.

As to why western Europeans would consent to a schism, their "mood" in the 11th century was one of "crusading." That is, they would rather fight, and impose their solutions by force, rather than negotiate a settlement. You can call it a chicken and egg argument, did the Schism bring about the crusading spirit, or vice-versa, but the two seemed to go together.

  • 1
    This isn't entirely accurate. For most of the 12th century (a) Jerusalem (and for a shorter time, Antioch) were aligned with Rome and (b) one can debate whether there was a true schism since there were not rival bishops for any given see. It would not have occurred to someone in 1150 that there could be a Latin bishop of Jerusalem AND a Greek bishop of Jerusalem at the same time. To them there was still only one church, however much it quarreled. In a sense the final schism is mainly a result of the fall of Jerusalem followed by the atrocities of the 4th crusade.
    – C Monsour
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 17:04
  • Also, in Crusader Jerusalem in the 1100s, it's not as though the Latin bishop of Jerusalem refused communion to Greek Christians. If there was already a schism, people certainly didn't act like there was.
    – C Monsour
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 17:13
  • By the way, source for this is Runciman, though it's been a while since I read him.
    – C Monsour
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 17:16
  • I thought that these diocese had been absorbed by Constantinople hundreds of years earlier. And Jerusalem only ever existed as a novelty.
    – John Dee
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 18:05
  • The History of Byazantium podcast did an episode about it just this week.
    – user15620
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 20:48

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