A Small Note on Dating the Eastern Schism

Traditional Catholics can’t always be blamed for tripping up on “things Eastern,” what with being panicked over the third Confiteor at Mass or decrying the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. It’s distracting stuff. So imagine my surprise when several traditional Catholics, including the historian Roberto de Mattei, started combating the media-spread exaggeration that the Patriarch of Moscow and the Pope of Rome have been estranged for 1,000 years. While some Orthodox contest the dating, there is a strong case to be made that the Patriarchate of Moscow came officially into being in 1589, with its Metropolitan status originating a century early in 1448 when it, arguably, inherited the lineage of the See of Kyiv, albeit without canonical approval from the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Although Mattei identifies the beginning of the East/West Schism as 1054, he takes note of the reunion Council of Florence in 1439 and the sad reality that that the fall of Constantinople in 1453 effectively dashed all hope of a permanent end to the rending of Christendom. However, Mattei’s suggestion that the Rome/Moscow split should be dated at the founding of its patriarchate is rather questionable. There should be no doubt that by the time the Russians had imprisoned and illegally deposed Metropolitan Isidore in 1441 for accepting the Council of Florence and illicitly replaced him in 1448 with Jonah of Moscow, the Russian Orthodox Church became officially estranged from the See of Rome.

With respect to the Kyivan Metropolia, while it is well known that a number of its bishops reestablished full communion with Rome in 1596, there was a period of separation between Rome and Kyiv that some date to the end of Metropolitan St. Macarius the Hieromartyr’s brief reign in 1497 or Joseph II in 1501. There can be no doubt that by the time Jonah of Kyiv ascended the throne in 1503, the Metropolia was no longer in full communion with Rome, choosing instead to realign with the Eastern Orthodox who had rejected Florence. This period of estrangement between Rome and Kyiv thankfully came to an end less than a century later, though Russian aggression in the region during the 17th Century, which included Moscow’s imperial claim over the See of Kyiv and its Orthodox adherents, severely undermined Brest and the Greek Catholic Church, along with the rights of Ukrainian Orthodox to this day.



  1. Patrick Sheridan
    February 19, 2016

    Are you trying to suggest that the “ecclesial community,” with the incoherent name, pseudo-patriarch and mongrel liturgy has more legitimacy in the succession to the conversion of Rus than the Moscow Patriarchate?

    1. Gabriel Sanchez
      February 19, 2016

      Your nastiness is matched by your stupidity, as per usual.

      It would be easy enough to respond to this, but I am going to chalk it up to your history of mental illness and psycho-sexual disorder.

      1. Patrick Sheridan
        February 19, 2016

        I wasn’t trying to be nasty, and I resent being called “stupid.” Never mind. The fact that pope Bogroll has discarded uniates as the lost cause they always were, and the fact that he met with His Holiness The Patriarch of Moscow before the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God (which, as you probably don’t know, symbolises the expulsion of papist Poles from Russia), indicates that perhaps he doesn’t personally have so exalted a view of his job description as you do. But then I can never keep up with you. Next month, you might be a still-papist-at-heart Orthodox; you know, when Bogroll does something so outrageous that you just get bored trying to force the square peg into the round hole.

        It is true that I am a sexual pervert but I am not too sure about the term “psycho-sexual disorder.” Do you also believe that psychology is a serious discipline and not quackery manipulated by lobbyists? Because there I was thinking that I had this cross to bear on account of your idolatry…

  2. Vjekoslav
    February 20, 2016

    Not heard the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom called “mongrel” before. And how are Greek Catholics being discarded when their right to exist has been acknowledge by the Patriarch of Moscow (eat. 1917)?

    And that appears to be exactly what Gabriel is saying.

    1. Paul
      February 20, 2016

      Fr. Taft used the term, not disparagingly (as neither the above poster, Patrick), to express the reality that the Byzantine rite is a mixture of different liturgical influences (even though it is clearly Eastern), much like the Roman Rite as well. It won’t do to deny it.

      1. Vjekoslav
        February 20, 2016

        He meant “mongrel” in the nicest possible way? How is “mongrel” anything other than an insult when not describing a mixed breed of dog? I also doubt Mr. Sheridan was quoting whatever Taft had to say. Judging by the rest of his post, I doubt he’s a fan.

        I also doubt Mr. Sheridan was describing the entire Byzantine Rite rather than the particular version used by the Church with “incoherent name, pseudo-Patriarch and mongrel liturgy”. In fact, reading that back to myself, I can’t see why I would have thought mongrel was disparaging at all… Mr Sheridan was clearly speaking the truth in love.

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