The Great Schism

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After the 4th century when Constantinople emerged as a great capital and church center, tensions sometimes arose between its leaders and the bishop of Rome. After the fall of Rome to Germanic invaders in 476, the Roman pope was the only guardian of Christian universalism in the West. He began more explicitly to attribute his dominance to Rome's being the burial place of Saint Peter, whom Jesus had called the "rock" on which the church was to be built. The Eastern Christians respected that tradition and recognized the Roman patriarch to a measure of honorable authority. But they never believed that this authority allowed the papacy to overrule another church or that it made the pope into a universally reliable figure within the larger…show more content…
They ended in failure. The papal claims to ultimate supremacy could not be reconciled with the conciliar principle of Orthodoxy, and the religious differences were aggravated by other cultural and political misunderstandings.
After the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople in 1453, the Islamic government recognized the ecumenical patriarch of that city as both the religious and the political spokesman for the entire Christian population of the empire. With the decline of the Ottoman Empire during the 19th century, the patriarchate of Constantinople, although still retaining its honorary primacy in the Orthodox Church, lost its political power over the other Orthodox churches. With the liberation of the Orthodox peoples from Ottoman rule, a succession of autocephalous churches was then set up in Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia.
The Orthodox Church in Russia, seeing the advancing tide of Islamic power in the East, declared its independence from Constantinople in 1448, five years before the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. In 1589 the patriarchate of Moscow was established and formally recognized by Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople. For the Russian people and their tsars, Moscow had become the so-called third Rome, direct heir to the imperial and ecclesiastical supremacy of ancient Rome and Constantinople. The patriarchs of Moscow
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