2018 schism between the Eastern and Russian Orthodox; Was the Sabbath an issue in the 1054 schism?

Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill


Consistent with what Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church said last month, his church essentially declared a schism between the Eastern and Russian Orthodox churches:

The Russian Orthodox Church has compared Ukraine’s moves for independence to the Great Schism of 1054 that split western and eastern Christianity, and warned they could lead to an irreversible rupture in the global Orthodox community.

Ilarion said Constantinople’s decision to back the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s independence drive was illegal and that the Russian Orthodox Church would disregard it.

“We are hoping common sense will prevail and that the Constantinople Patriarchate will change its relations to existing church reality,” he said. 10/15/18 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-church-russia/russian-orthodox-church-breaks-with-constantinople-in-row-over-ukraine-idUSKCN1MP24G

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has ruled that further Eucharistic ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople are impossible, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said after a session of the Holy Synod in Minsk,Belarus, on Monday.

“The decision was taken at a session of the Holy Synod to fully break contacts with the Patriarchate of Constantinople,” he said.

The Russian Orthodox Church does not accept these decisions and won’t abide by them,” he said. “Schism is schism, and leaders of schism remain leaders of schism. While the church that has started relations with the dissenters after recognizing them, has thus expelled itself from the canonical field of the Orthodox Church,” he said.

“This is the main reason why we have to stop contacts with the Patriarchate of Constantinople that has filly identified itself with schism,” he stressed. 10/15/18 http://tass.com/society/1026077

If Monday’s decision is a lasting one, the loss of the powerful and wealthy Russian church will be a serious blow to the global church. It also marks an important new facet for the rift between Russia and Ukraine, who have become bitter enemies since the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbass. …

Ukraine’s government had lobbied strongly for autocephaly as part of a larger break from Russian influence in the country’s affairs.

“Autocephaly is part of our pro-European and pro-Ukrainian state strategy,” the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, said in a statement last week. He also called Moscow’s loss of control over the Ukrainian Orthodox Church “the fall of the ‘third Rome’ as the most ancient conceptual claim of Moscow for the global domination”.

Russia’s Orthodox Church already had a tense relationship with the religious authorities in Istanbul. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/15/russian-orthodox-church-cuts-ties-with-constantinople

This rift has been brewing in the Orthodox world between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) for some time.

Politics, more than theology, seems to be the main cause for it.

That being said, the Orthodox consider the split between them and the Church of Rome in 1054 as the “great schism.”

Perhaps this would be a good place to mention that it was the Sabbath-practices by the Orthodox which was one of the reasons that caused its schism from the Roman Catholic Church.

In the fifth century, the historian Socrates noted:

For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this. The Egyptians in the neighborhood of Alexandria, and the inhabitants of Thebais, hold their religious assemblies on the sabbath, but do not participate of the mysteries in the manner usual among Christians in general (Socrates Scholasticus. Ecclesiastical History, Book V, Chapter XXII. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 2. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Rome actually fasted on the Sabbath. Notice, according to Victorinus, bishop of Pettau (circa 304), as to the reason those associated with Rome fasted:

On the seventh day…we are accustomed to fast rigourously…We must fast even on Friday in order that we not appear to observe the Sabbath with the Jews (Cited in Bacchiocchi S. Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday, p. 74).

However, this was not the case in Asia Minor, where Constantinople was located, as many continued to observe the Sabbath:

R.L. Odom has persuasively brought out that the Roman insistence on making the Sabbath a day of fast contributed greatly to the historic break between the Eastern and Western Christian Church which occurred in A.D. 1054 (Cited in Bacchiocchi Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday, p. 67).

The polemic work Against the Calumnities of the Greeks of Cardinal Humbert of Rome, provides additional evidence in this regard. The Cardinal argues that the Latins in no way resemble the Jews in their observance of the Sabbath, since on that day they “do all sorts of work, even as in the preceding five days and fast [on the Sabbath]. …” He proceeds then to show the Greeks that they are the ones who judaize since they observe the Sabbath in an identical manner of the Jews…the document date (ca. A.D. 1054)…the lengthy quotation from “the most blessed Pope Sylvester” (A. D. 314-355)…Cardinal Humbert cites to dissuade the Greeks from the observance of the Sabbath (Cited in Bacchiocchi Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday, pp. 74-75).

Or in other words, the Roman Catholics were upset that the Orthodox (the Greeks) considered the Sabbath a festal and not a fast day and that this is one of the reasons why they separated from each other.

While the Orthodox tend to point to 1054 for the split, the Romans tend to have a mixed view:

In an attempt to quell the disturbance, the pope sent a three-man delegation, led by Cardinal Humbert, to visit Patriarch Cerularius, but matters worsened. The legates presented the patriarch with the pope’s reply to his charges. Both sides managed to infuriate each other over diplomatic courtesies, and when the smoke cleared, a serious rift had developed. This was not, however, the actual break between the two communions. It’s a popular myth that the schism dates to the year 1054 and that the pope and the patriarch excommunicated each other at that time, but they did not.

Orthodox bishop Kallistos Ware (formerly Timothy Ware) writes, “The choice of Cardinal Humbert was unfortunate, for both he and Cerularius were men of stiff and intransigent temper. . . . After [an initial, unfriendly encounter] the patriarch refused to have further dealings with the legates. Eventually Humbert lost patience, and laid a bull of excommunication against Cerularius on the altar of the Church of the Holy Wisdom. . . . Cerularius and his synod retaliated by anathematizing Humbert (but not the Roman Church as such)” (The Orthodox Church, 67).

The New Catholic Encyclopedia says, “The consummation of the schism is generally dated from the year 1054, when this unfortunate sequence of events took place. This conclusion, however, is not correct, because in the bull composed by Humbert, only Patriarch Cerularius was excommunicated. The validity of the bull is questioned because Pope Leo IX was already dead at that time. On the other side, the Byzantine synod excommunicated only the legates and abstained from any attack on the pope or the Latin Church.”

There was no single event that marked the schism, but rather a sliding into and out of schism during a period of several centuries, punctuated with temporary reconciliations. The East’s final break with Rome did not come until the 1450s (Catholic Answers.  Eastern Orthodoxy. NIHIL OBSTAT: Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004 . IMPRIMATUR: +Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004 http://www.catholic.com/library/Eastern_Orthodoxy.asp viewed 02/01/08)

Notice that Cardinal Humbert was sent to Constantinople, but made matters worse. However, it partially was because of his position in his “Against the Calumnities of the Greeks” paper that the Orthodox found Carindal Humbert so offensive–and part of why Cardinal Humbert was upset was because the Orthodox refused to change Saturday into a fast day (the Latin Church finally got rid of that itself in the Middle Ages–even though Cardinal Humbert was insistent about it in 1054).

How many Orthodox realize that offenses related to Saturday observance were a major factor in “the Great Schism”?

Perhaps if the Orthodox would study more into their history they will realize that the faithful in Asia Minor (including the Apostles Paul and John) did keep the seventh-day Sabbath and so should they.

Anyway, this current schism essentially places much of the world’s Orthodox outside of Constantinople as about half of world’s Orthodox were Russian Orthodox.

This schism has many ramifications, including what will happen in the Balkans and what will happen with the ecumenical movement.

The World Council of Churches has tended to support the Russian Orthodox as has Pope Francis.

Pope Francis has warned people against committing “sins against unity”:

“In a Christian community division is one of the most serious sins, because it does not allow God to act,” the Pope said in his Aug. 27 general audience address. “What God wants is that we be welcoming, that we forgive and love each other so as to become more and more like Him, who is communion and love.”

Addressing the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Roman Pontiff explained that as Catholics “we affirm in the Creed that the Church is one and that she is holy.”

“One because she has her origin in the Triune God, mystery of unity and full communion. Holy since she is founded by Jesus Christ, enlivened by his Holy Spirit, and filled with his love and salvation.”

We continue to refer to the Church as “one” and “holy” despite the fact that “we know by experience that it is also composed of sinners and that there is no shortage of divisions,” he said, recalling how the night before he was arrested Jesus “asked for the unity of his disciples: ‘that all be one.’”

“We trust in his desire that unity will be one of the characteristic features of our community,” the Pope continued, noting that “While we, the members of the Church, are sinners, the unity and holiness of the Church arise from God and call us daily to conversion.”

Observing how “We have an intercessor in Jesus, who prays…for our unity with him and the Father, and with each other,” the Bishop of Rome drew attention to the sins that often cause division.

“Sins against unity are not only schisms,” he said, “but also the most common weeds of our communities: envies, jealousies, antipathies … talking bad about others. This is human, but it is not Christian.” (Harris E. Pope: division is among greatest sins of Christian communities. CNA, August 27, 2014. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-division-is-the-greatest-sin-of-christian-communities-12972/)

According to the Apostle Jude, it is a requirement, and not a sin, to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” Jude 3, NKJV) or to “fight hard for the faith which has been once and for all entrusted to God’s holy people” as the NJB puts it. Compromising part of the true faith for the sake of unity is the sin here.

While there are certain ceremonial similarities (as well as differences) between the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, if people really wish to become “the people of the book” they need to reject all non-biblical doctrines and not enter into greater unity with groups that promote non-biblical doctrines (as well as look into many of their own doctrines).

As far as unity matters go, notice a news item from this past Summer that came to a wrong ‘guarantee’ conclusion:

27 June 2018

In his greeting for the 70th anniversary of the institution, he defines it as “an exceptional space for dialogue between Christians of various confessions”. The appeal to help Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, threatened to disappear. The WCC support for Moscow Patriarchate over Kiev in Ukraine. …

Addressing the WCC secretary, the Norwegian Lutheran theologian Olav Fykse Tveit, and the entire Central Committee, the Russian Patriarch recalled that the Council is “a major international organization and unique platform for dialogue between Christians of various confessions. For the years of its work, the World Council of Churches has done much to develop inter-confessional dialogue, to promote justice in society and peace among nations. “. Kirill recalled how “the entry of the Russian Orthodox Church in the WCC in 1961 helped to open for it new opportunities” and how “our special concern were joint efforts in overcoming the confrontation between East and West and struggling for peace and justice in international relations.”. …

in conclusion of Kirill’s message, is the gratitude to the WCC “for the firm position expressed by the Secretary General in his appeal to the state authorities of Ukraine, in defence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” – meaning the one faithful to Moscow, the only one considered “canonical” – “which is currently the subject of discrimination and persecution”. The WCC support for Moscow’s legitimacy in Ukraine, together with the support of Pope Francis and the leaders of the Catholic Church, should guarantee the Russians sufficient pressure to prevent the recognition of Ukrainian autocephaly (Kiev Patriarchate) by Constantinople , the most “burning issue” in inter-Orthodox relations in recent months. http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Patriarch-Kirill-praises-the-World-Council-of-Churches-44279.html

Now there is a major schism. Theological-political alliances alluded to above did not stop it.

As I have been writing for sometime, I believe a split/schism will be temporal, based upon scriptures in Revelation 13.

There are also a couple of interesting Catholic prophecies some may wish to consider:

Anna-Katarina Emmerick (October 1, 1820): The Church is in great danger…The Protestant doctrine and that of the schismatic Greeks are to spread everywhere.  I now see that in this place (Rome) the (Catholic) Church is being so cleverly undermined, that there hardly remain a hundred or so priests who have not been deceived.  They all work for the destruction, even the clergy.  A great destruction is now at hand…

(April 22, 1823): I saw that many pastors allowed themselves to be taken up with ideas that were dangerous to the Church.  They were building a great, strange, and extravagant Church.  Everyone was admitted in it in order to be united and to have equal rights: Evangelicals, Catholics, sects of every description.  Such was to be the new Church (Dupont, pp. 66, 71).

Yves Dupont (reader and reporter of Catholic prophecies): prophecies are quite explicit about the election of an anti-pope…Many prophecies predict an anti-pope and a schism. (Dupont, pp. 34,60-61)

Essentially, these Catholic writings call the Eastern Orthodox schismatic, but also warn the Church of Rome will accept error in its attempts at ecumenical unity.

That would seem to be consistent with scriptures such as those in Revelation 17.

Some Eastern Orthodox look forward to this reconciliation, but also expect an antipope near then:

Helen Tzima Otto (20th century): We have been told time and time again through the prophets that the Great Monarch and Papa Angelorum…will convene the 8th Ecumenical Council, which will reunify all Christians…The Emperor will spend three years waging wars against the non-Christian nations…{later will be} the end time schism of the Roman Catholic Church of the End Times and the rise of an antipope. (Tzima Otto, pp. xxv, 103, 122)

Saint Nelios the Myrrh-Gusher (died 1592): During that time the Eighth and last Ecumenical Synod will take place, which will satisfy the contentions of the heretics…(Tzima Otto, H.  The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Scriptural Prophecies.  Verenikia Press, Rock Hill (SC), 2000, p. 111).

Apparently the “non-Christian nations” will be those that do not desire to be part of the ecumenical church that is to form. There, by the way, was supposed to be an “Eighth ecumenical council” a couple of years ago, but the Russian Orthodox had issues, so it ended up being something else.

But it is likely such an ecumenical council like this will happen someday.

As far as what is likely to bring temporal unity, the Bible tells of ‘signs and lying wonders’ (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12)–and those are something that will happen and be factors in the coming unity between the Vatican, Protestants, and the Orthodox.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Russia and Ukraine: Their Origins and Prophesied Future Russia in prophecy. Where do the Russians come from? What about those in the Ukraine? What is prophesied for Russia and its allies? What will they do to the Europeans that supported the Beast in the end? There is also a video sermon available: Russia in the Bible and in Prophecy and a video sermonette available: Ukraine in Prophecy?
Is Russia the King of the North? Some claim it is. But what does the Bible teach? Here is a link to a video, also titled Is Russia the King of the North?
Ezekiel 38: For Russia & Iran in Our Day? Is Ezekiel 38 about to be fulfilled? A related video is available titled Ezekiel 38: For Russia, Ukraine, & Iran Now?
The Eurasian Union, the Kings of the East, and Bible Prophecy Is there a Eurasian union that will be formed? Is one being formed right now? Are any leaders working on that in the 21st century? Does the Bible teach that there will be a Eurasian union? If some type of Eurasian union is formed, who might it benefit and who will it destroy? A related video would be Is The Eurasian Union Rising?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? In the Spanish language check out ¿Quién es el Rey del Norte? Here is a link to a video titled: The Future King of the North.
USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses Can you point to scriptures, like Daniel 11:39, that point to the USA in the 21st century? This article does. A related sermon is titled: Do these 7 prophesies point to the end of the USA?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2018, 2019, or 2020? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2018 o 2019? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation begin in 2018?
The Times of the Gentiles Has there been more than one time of the Gentiles? Are we in it now or in the time of Anglo-America? What will the final time of the Gentiles be like? A related sermon is available and is titled: The Times of the Gentiles.
Armageddon Who is involved and when will this gathering happen? Here is also a video from Dr. Thiel, from Tel Megiddo in Israel: Armageddon. Another video is: watch Is China paving roads to Armageddon?
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future? Here are links to a two-part sermon series: What are Some of the Parts of Satan’s Plan? and Satan’s Plan is More Dramatic than Many Realize.
Mystery of Iniquity What is the mystery of iniquity? How did it start? How will it end? Two related sermons are also available: The Mystery of Iniquity and The Mystery of Lawlessness.
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
The ‘Unpardonable Sin’ and ‘Climate Change’? On September 7, 2016, Olav Fykse Tveit, Church of Norway Pastor, and the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, essentially declared that those who ignore ‘climate change’ are committing the ‘unpardonable sin’ and the Holy Spirit. Are those two even related? In this video, Dr. Thiel answers that and explains from the Bible what the ‘unpardonable sin’ is and how you can avoid it. He also discusses aspects of Christianity and the environment. This is a video.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? Two related videos include UN’s ‘New Universal Agenda’ is a False Gospel! and United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
The Christian Sabbath. This is a series of articles from the Catholic Mirror essentially proving that the biblical Sabbath was Saturday, that the Lord’s day in Revelation 1 is not a reference to Sunday, that the Church of Rome implemented Sunday, and that nearly all Protestants followed Rome. Here is a link to a related sermon: Catholic teachings on the Sabbath, Sunday, and Protestantism.
Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God? Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical is titled ‘Laudato Si.’ In it, he goes over his views related to environmental, economic, social, moral, agricultural, and spiritual issues. He advocates international cooperation to solve various problems he believes are affecting humanity. Is that Pope’s agenda the solution? What about the Kingdom of God? does the Bible teach? Two related articles include Laudato Si: Will Pope Francis’ economic actions match his words? and Laudato Si: A call for a one-world government?

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