Great Religions of the World
by
National Geographic Society
4 Paragraphs

The controversy reached its climax in July 1054 when three papal legates stormed into Hagia Sophia church in Constantinople as afternoon services began and thrust a document upon the alter. Censuring the Byzantine clergy for 'not' including the filioque clause and for using leavened bread, and erroneously accusing them of failing to baptize women in labor or to grant communion to clean-shaven men, the bull excommunicated the patriarch "and his followers... along with all heretics, together with the devil and his angels." The patriarch retaliated by excommunicating the papal legates. Hope of healing the schism died in flame, blood, and desecration 150 years later when Crusaders sacked Constantinople. (322:4)

Eastern Orthodoxy survived centuries of "Ottoman captivity," flourished in Slavic lands, gloried in onion-dome churches enriched by Russian tsars. Despite Soviet harassment, it stands as the world's third largest Christian faith. (322:5)

Orthodox churches (from Greek 'orthos' and 'doxa', "true belief") differ in language and name-- Greek, Russian, Syrian, Coptic-- but not in theology or liturgy. Under mosaic-encrusted vaults, richly robed priests and deacons wreathed in clouds of incense chant the service to a congregation standing before the iconostasis, a screen adorned with sacred images that separates nave from sanctuary. The traditional church is squarish, in the form of a Greek rather than Latin cross. (322:6)

Partly because of their ancient quarrel with the pope, some Orthodox churches have not accepted the modern calendar (introduced by Pope Gregory Xiii in 1582); none accept the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (promulgated by Pius Ix in 1854). Yet in 1964 in Jerusalem, Pope Paul Vi met and embraced Athenagoras I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. In a healing gesture both rescinded the excommunications that sundered the "oras I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. In a healing gesture both rescinded the excommunications that sundered the "one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church" nine centuries ago. (322:7)

End of Quote

Great Religions of the World
National Geographic Society