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The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 05
(From Charlemagne to Frederick Barbarossa)

written by "Rudd, John"
... its capture by the Turks in 1453. HENRY FANSHAWE TOZER The separation of the Eastern and Western churches, which finally took place in the year 1054, was due to the operation of influences which had been at work for several centuries before. From very early times a tendency to divergence existed, arising from the tone of thought of the dominant races in the two, the more speculative Greeks being chiefly occupied with purely theological questions, while the more practical Roman mind devoted itself rather to subjects connected with the nature and destiny of man. In differences such as these there was nothing irreconcilable: the members of both communions professed the same forms of belief, rested their faith on the same divine persons, were guided by the same standard of morals, and were animated by the same hopes and fears; and they were bound by the first principles of their religion to maintain unity with one another. But in societies, as in individuals, inherent diversity of character is liable to be intensified by time, and thus counteracts the natural bonds of sympathy, and prevents the two sides from seeing one another's point of view. In this way it coöperates with and aggravates the force of other causes of disunion, which adverse circumstances may generate. Such causes there were in the present instance, political, ecclesiastical, and theological; and the nature of these it may be well for us to consider, before proceeding to narrate the history of the disruption. The office of bishop of Rome assumed to some extent a political character as early as the time of the first Christian emperors. By them this prelate was constituted a sort of secretary of state for Christian affairs, and was employed as a central authority for communicating with the bishops in the provinces; so that after a while he acted as minister of religion and public instruction. As the civil and military power of the Western Empire declined, the extent o...

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