Course:  Church History (1)

Course Title:  Church History and the Standard of the New Testament

Lesson Eight

Lesson Title: Schism and Division




1.  Great Schism (1054)

Schism between Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholicism



2.  Western Schism or Papal Schism (1378 – 1417)

Schism within Western Catholicism



3.  Division in the Church

Realism (Via Antiqua) and Nominalism (Devotio Moderna)




Main Points

1.  Great Schism (1054) – East and West

Schism between Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholicism

Separation of the Greek and Latin Churches (1054)

Western Catholicism claimed to be the 'One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’

Eastern Orthodox  claimed to be the ’One Holy Orthodox and Apostolic Church’




Ongoing dispute that led to the Great Schism in 1054

Dispute over:

1.  Papal authority

2.  Liturgical practices - Greek Church condemned the use of unleavened bread


3.  Greek Church disputed the Filioque clause that was added to the Nicene Creed in 589 by a local council in Toledo, Spain.

'We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.' 


Other differences between the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church



Clergy allowed to marry

Holy Communion in both kinds



Roman Catholic

Clergy not allowed to marry

Holy Communion only bread given to laity

Statues and images


Second Vatican Council 1967

Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches brought into a closer relationship.



Fourth Crusade (1198 -1204)

Regarded as the final rift in the Great Schism with the Greek Orthodox Church.

Fourth crusade never reached Jerusalem.

Needed finance.

Diverted to Constantinople. 

(Greek Orthodox city).

Took Constantinople in 1204

Destroyed the library of Constantinople and looted the city.




In 2001 Pope John Paul II made an apology to the Greek Orthodox Church for the actions of the Crusaders in 1204.



2.  Western Schism or Papal Schism (1378 – 1417)

Schism within Western Catholicism


Pope at Avignon (1305 –1378)



Clement V  (1305-1314)

John XXII  (1316-1334)

Benedict XII  (1334-1342)

Clement VI  (1342-1352)

Innocent VI  (1352-1362)

Urban V  (1362-1370)

Gregory XI  (1370-1378)





1378  Gregory XI moved the papacy back to Rome but died soon after.


Great Schism of the papacy (1378 – 1417)



Gregory IX (died 1378)

Urban VI (1378-1389) elected Pope in Rome

Urban VI handled dissent with harshness

Rival Pope elected by French Cardinals:

Clement VII (1378-1394) with papal court in Avignon.





Two Popes (Rome and Avignon) then Three (Pisa)

Clement VII supported by France, Spain, Scotland, part of Germany, and Southern Italy. 


Urban VI (Pope 1378 to 1389) supported by the rest of Europe.


The seamless robe of Christ.  

Urgent call to reunify the Church.


Schism denied the character of Christ. Christ was not divided.

Avignon – Clement VII; Benedict XIII of Avignon,


Rome – Urban VI; Boniface IX; Innocent VII; Gregory XII 




Pisa- New Pope elected at the Council of Pisa (1409) to try to rectify situation.

Alexander V (1409-10) 

Alexander V succeeded by John XXIII (1410-1415)

Baldassare Coscia (c.1370-1419)

Resigned at Council of Constance. 

Regarded as an antipope.


Schism ended at Council of Constance (1414 – 1418)


Elected Pope at Council of Constance

Martin V (1417 - 1431)

His papacy ended the Western Schism.



3.  Division within the Church -  Realism (Via Antiqua) and  Nominalism (Via Moderna)


1)   Realism (Via Antiqua) – The way of antiquity


  • Four Books of Sentences (1148-51)


Peter Lombard (b. c. 1100, Novara, Lombardy--d. Aug. 21/22, 1160, Paris)

The Sentences are  a systematic treatise on the collection of teachings from the Church Fathers and opinions of medieval masters. 


The official textbook in the universities until the 16th century. 


Thomas Aquinas wrote a commentary on the Sentences.







  • Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225 – 1274)

Aquinas – Italian by birth. 

Born Naples

Educated at Univ. of Naples.

1244 became Dominican monk


Went to Univ. of Paris.


Leading scholastic


Revelation (Faith) and Reason (Philosophy)

Universe reveals the creator.

Aquinas lectured in Paris

Produced Summa Theologica and Summa Contra Gentiles (a summary against pagans)








Written for missions work


Step by step through the sacraments


Reason and Logic





Aquinas used the logic of Aristotle to show that reason leads to faith.

The existence of God can be proved through reason, while the incarnation and atonement of Christ are known by faith in biblical revelation.


Aquinas and Aristotle


Aquinas joined faith with reason by associating Aristotlian philosophy with faith.

Aristotle (REASON) and Christian truth (FAITH)

Church disapproved of Aristotle

Gregory IX – removed prohibition of Aristotle

Urban V – restored prohibition of Aristotle


Philosophy – words must have real meaning


Division arose concerning words.

Realism and Nominalism.




Lateran Council 1218 - living and abiding presence in the Holy Communion.

Christ literally present in the Mass

Aquinas used Aristotle’s formula on substances and the miracle of faith to explain how Transubstantiation took place.


The theory of Transubstantiation.

Hocus Corpus (΄This is My body`)


The Miracle of the Mass – the leap of faith

Inner substance of Christ


2)  Nominalism (Via Moderna)


German Mystics – placed emphasis on experiential knowledge.

Eckhardt; Taulor; and Suso – Dominicans




ECKHARDT (1260-1327)

Preacher, Counselor, Academic.


Meister (Master of Arts) Eckhardt (1260-1327)





TAULER (1300-61)

Acted as counsellor at convent of Dominican nuns.


Tauler - Mystic, student of Eckhardt.

Tauler from the school of Meister Eckhardt.




HENRY SUSO (1295-1366)

Suso from the school of Meister Eckhardt.


THEOLOGICA GERMANICA – anonymous.  Expresses the sentiments of Eckhardt.   Possibly written by John Tauler (1300-61)



Greatly influenced Martin Luther who published the Theologica Germanica in 1516 and 1518.


Luther wrote in the preface (1518)

…Let as many as will, read this little book, and then say whether Theology is a new or an old thing among us; for this book is not new. But if they say as before, that we are but German theologians, we will not deny it. I thank God, that I have heard and found my God in the German tongue, as neither I nor they have yet found Him in the Latin, Greek, or Hebrew tongue. God grant that this book may be spread abroad, then we shall find that the German theologians are without doubt the best theologians.
     (Signed, without date,)
      AUGUSTINIAN of Wittemberg.


Devotio Moderna 

Gerhard Grotte (1340-84)


Nominalism – words have no real meaning.


Grotte founded the Brethren of the Common Life

Emphasis on knowing Christ personally


Having a good conscience regarded to be of greater value than philosophy.


Right living

Sorrow for sin

Spiritual exercises – learning to imitate Christ


Thomas a Kempis (c.1379/1471)



14 years old began studying at the school of the Brethren of Common Life

Deventer – Zwolle


1413 ordained




The Imitation of Christ

Four sections

1.   Some thoughts to help with the spiritual life.

2.   Some advice on the inner life.

3.    Spiritual comfort

4.    A reverent recommendation to Holy Communion.


Nicholas of Cusa  (1401-1464)


German prelate - Son of Rhineland boatsmen

Educated by Brethren of Common Life

Devotio Moderna

Church politician – administrator to visit churches.


German cardinal

Ordained 1430

1433 attended Council of Basle (1431-1449)

1437 supported Pope Eugene IV


Learned Ignorance



Necessity of Faith


What we know best - we know nothing


Cusa places emphasis upon faith.


Mystical philosophy and emotion


Contemplation plus Activity

Deals with question whether active life is opposed to contemplative life; or should both be practiced together?

Life is not like ’hermit’


Mary and Martha -  Combined active and contemplative lives.



Keep family, be active in the world but find time for contemplative life.


Conciliarist (held to final authority of a general church council not the pope)

Held Donation of Constantine to be a fraud.

Also denied authority of the Isidorian credentials (59 letters ascribed to Isidore of Seville from the 6th century exalting papal authority).

Church politician – administrator to visit churches.