Great Schism

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The phrase The Great Schism is used to mean two different things:

  • The East-West Schism of 1054 was the separation of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Western ("Roman Catholic") branches of the Christian Church. Which basically created two churches. The "First Among Equals" title was lost by the Roman Pope and given to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople who is the leader of most of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches since 1054. Publicly the dispute centered on the Apostles' Creed [1] which was updated into two versions(Eastern vs Western) of the Nicene Creed [2]; the RC Church starting in the 1960s to often use the undisputed Apostles' Creed again. Most Orthodox churches also support the rule that bishops acting together can order a superior bishop/patriarch/pope to retire as form of discipline; this rule was dropped by the Roman Catholic Church.
  • The Western Schism (1378-1417) was an argument within the Roman Catholic Church provoked by the French bishops resulting in French cardinals electing an "antipope" (Clement VII of Avignon, France) in order to dispute the authority of the recently elected Pope Urban VI, even though he had been lawfully elected by the majority of the cardinals in the electoral conclave.[3] In 1409, a third antipope (John XXIII) existed in Pisa, Italy.[4] This and other controversies set the stage for the Protestant Reformation.

See Romans 13:1-5 and Hebrews 13:17


  1. Apostles' Creed
  2. RC version Nicene Creed
  3. Urban VI: Pope (
  4. Catholic Encyclopedia 1913,