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5 historic instances that show most of what you know about “The Schism of 1054” is probably wrong …

5 historic instances that show most of what you know about “The Schism of 1054” is probably wrong …

The conventional narrative of “The Schism of 1054” may attract us by its simplicity and apparent explanatory power. But besides serving as a dubious justification for an ongoing situation, this narrative fails to capture the variety, obscurity, and complexity of human nature inspired by religious conviction that comes into view through the study of history close to the sources.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a professional medievalist or Byzantinist today who will affirm, without any qualification whatsoever, that the schism between Latin Church, headed by the pope of Rome, and the Greek Church, headed by the patriarch of Constantinople, was fully realized in the year 1054. Despite the gestures of reconciliation allegedly “remov[ing] from memory and from the midst of the Church the excommunications of 1054” exchanged in 1965 by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras IV, most specialists today recognize that the medieval excommunications were carefully and deliberately restricted in scope: The only affected parties were the direct participants in the unfortunate papal embassy to Constantinople, the patriarch, and his immediate followers.[1] In fact, the Roman delegates were equally explicit in their admiration for the orthodoxy of the emperor and the people of Constantinople. The mutual excommunications traded by the papal legates and the patriarch envisioned no definitive severing of ties between the two greatest sees of Christendom, much less the alienation between Eastern and Western Christians that plagues us to the present. The schism of 1054 is a myth.[2]

But myths can be powerful. And this myth still has far-reaching traction among Christians East and West. Textbook accounts, popular histories, and apologetical tracts and websites are replete with the “Schism of 1054.” Now, I am not a “Schism-Denier.” The schism did happen and, as my doctoral advisor liked to remind us, it is (in large part) a “medieval story.” And its results are still, painfully, with us—at a time when traditional Christians most need solidarity with each other. But what is so pernicious about the “1054 narrative” is its simplicity and neatness. The idea that a definitive rupture happened on a Saturday evening on July 16th of 1054 is useful to polemicists because it allows them to make a clean and easy distinction between the “Time Before Schism” (or “B.S.”), when the other side was still decent, and the “Time After Schism” (or “A.S.”), when the other side went astray. Everything about “The Other Side” during the A.S. can be written off as wayward and heterodox. Everything that is good and noble about “The Other Side” during the B.S. can, on the other hand, be self-attributed (from a Catholic perspective: “well, of course John Chrysostom was a saint—the Greeks were still Catholic then!”; Orthodox: “Yes, Anglo-Saxon England was still Orthodox before the Normans, the pope’s henchmen, got there!”).

But the real complexities of history play havoc with this tidy narrative. In what follows, I want to play a little havoc of my own by pointing out five historic instances showing enduring unity between Eastern and Western Christians after 1054. Some of these instances are greater, some are smaller. Some will evoke quibbling from readers (and I relish quibbling), and none will convince the diehard polemicist. But I hope, at least, to do my part to trouble the consensus underpinning a myth that has no basis in the sources themselves.

1. A Greek Monastery under the Nose of the Papacy

In the year 1004, a Greek monk and saint named Neilos from Calabria in southern Italy established a monastery about twelve miles southwest of Rome.[3] Since many centuries before Neilos, and until many centuries after, Calabria, the foot of the boot of Italy all the way to the toe, was culturally and ethnically Hellenic. It was known as Magna Graecia—and the presence of flourishing Byzantine cultural and religious expressions in southern Italy through the Middle Ages—even under the rule of Latin potentates and the extending jurisdiction of Roman pontiffs—will strike some readers as anomalous.

Five hundred years after St. Benedict (c. 480-547) had established his own monastery, organized under a Latin rule, at Monte Cassino, Neilos established the Greek monastery of Grottaferrata in the very shadow of the Roman papacy. Neilos cultivated cordial relations with local Latin rulers and won their patronage for his fledgling monastery. Grottaferrata was placed directly under the juridical authority of the Roman pontiff, whose letter In terra pax, the Roman Church’s response to the provocations of the Greek Church that initiated the 1054 fiasco, acidly reminded the patriarch of Constantinople that whereas he had apparently closed down Latin Churches in Constantinople, the Roman Church had never indulged in any such attacks against the Greek monasteries and churches within her orbit, where the Greeks freely observed their own rites and enjoyed the protection of the Apostolic See.[4]

The conflict of 1054 had no observable impact on relations between the Roman Church and the monks of Grottaferrata. The monks went on commemorating the pope of Rome as their lawful hierarch while observing their distinctly Greek liturgical practices. In 1088, the Pope Urban II even made Grottaferrata’s abbot, Nicholas, his emissary to the patriarchate in order to broach the difficult issue of the Latin use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist. And Grottaferrata persists to this day as a community of Greek monks in communion with the Roman Church.[5]

2. Benedictine Monks on Mount Athos

Before Neilos had established Grottaferrata in the very bosom of Rome’s emergent ecclesiastical state, he did some time as a monk in a daughter house belonging to the monastery of Monte Cassino—the monastery of St. Benedict of Nursia. Around that same time, a number of Benedictine monks set foot on the sacred soil of Mount Athos. Monks from Amalfi, a vital port-town in the south of Italy, even established a community on the Holy Mountain. This may come as a surprise, given the well-known reputation of Mount Athos as the citadel of hardcore Byzantine monasticism and the conscience of Holy Orthodoxy.

The Amalfitan monastery, under the patronage of the Virgin Mary, was established in the tenth century and continued to function until the thirteenth century, without sign of evident disturbance on account of “The Schism of 1054.” To the contrary, these Benedictines, from beneath the mantle of favor and protection of the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118), busied themselves with the translations of the lives of Greek saints into Latin, thus enriching Latin Christendom with new exemplars of Byzantine piety—a task that must have required active collaboration between Latin and Greek monks. This monastery’s decline in the thirteenth century most likely has to do with economic causes (e.g., the decline of Amalfi as a trading hub in the Mediterranean world). No hostility toward them by Greek Athonites is found in the extant sources.[6]

3. The First Crusade: Saving Christians in the East

This might strike some readers as especially strange. After all, since Steven Runciman wrote his three-volume History of the Crusades (1950-1954), the generally educated public has known that Latin Christian military ventures to the Holy Land contributed significantly to the deterioration between the Eastern and Western Churches. This may be true, but for my part I think this perspective is regularly overblown into a paranoid narrative that attributes to the Crusades anti-Byzantine or anti-Eastern Christian intentions or purposes from the beginning. It is true that the Crusades brought the Christian East and West into close, and sometimes hostile, contact. Negative anecdotes of Latin-Greek interactions and misunderstandings can be multiplied by reading Anna Komnene’s Alexiad (c. 1148 and after) [7] or Odo of Deuil’s De profectione Ludovici VII in Orientem (post-1148).[8]

But these are anecdotes arising from the interactions of Crusaders and Greeks thrown together amidst the stressful circumstances of warfare and travel. They do not speak to the underlying justification behind the launching of a Crusade in the first place. Narratives of the Crusades as an expression of Western anti-Byzantinism also tend to be colored by our own awareness of the eventual Latin conquest of Constantinople in 1204, which is too often presented as the teleological consummation of the Crusade movement, rather than the fortuitous outcome (wholly unforeseen by the papacy, by the way) of chance events. In short, narratives reducing the Crusades to an act of premeditated Latin aggression against the Greeks result from excessive ruminations largely deranged from the primary sources.

Let’s read the sources forward. In response to direct appeals to the papacy for assistance in the Holy Land made by Eastern Christian refugees no less than Alexios Komnenos, the Byzantine Emperor, Pope Urban II addressed the Christian people gathered in fields near Clermont in the Kingdom of France. We have various sources reporting what the pope is alleged to have said to people.[9] None of these sources can be taken as a verbatim transcript of the pope’s precise words, but they are the best sources we have; general similarities between them corroborate the gist of the pope’s message in substance. Moreover, these earliest extant sources for the pope’s words reflect the dominant beliefs of learned participants who undertook the First Crusade.

Let’s take a look at excerpts from three of the most important of these sources that make mention of Eastern Christians and see how they come up in these documents expressing the rationale behind the Crusade. In the first place, the crusader-priest Fulcher of Chartres (c. 1058-1127/8) began to compose his Jerusalem History in 1101—just a few years after the successful completion of the First Crusade.[10] He may even have been present on the fields of Clermont for the pope’s speech.[11] In Fulcher’s version of the speech, after the pope turns his attention to the nobility and laity, and raises the momentous business of the East, he goes on to tell this to the Christian people:

…it is necessary that you, by means of your help now exhibited to those in need, and expeditiously, go to the aid of your brethren dwelling in the East. For they have been invaded, just as been told to many of you, up to the Mediterranean Sea, to that place which they call the Arm of Saint George, by Turks and Arabs—to the very boundaries of Romania [i.e., the Byzantine Empire]. By occupying the lands of those Christians more and more, they have overcome those conquered now in seven engagements, killing or capturing many of them, overturning their churches, and laying waste to their kingdom. [Turks and Arabs] who, if you continue to let them go on without impediment, will overcome to an even greater extent many faithful people of God. Concerning which thing, I exhort by suppliant prayer and by frequent proclamation—not I but the Lord—that all of you, of whatever order, whether infantry or horsemen, poor as well as rich, that you, heralds of Christ, propose to assist in seasonable time those hard-pressed Christians, unto the extirpation of that wicked race from our regions. I say this to those present, I commend it to those who are absent—but Christ commands it.[12]

Here the justification for crusading is clearly expressed in the need to bring aid to Eastern Christians, among whom the Byzantines [“Romania”] are indicated explicitly.

A later and more embellished account comes from Robert the Monk. Despite its later provenance, Robert’s Jerusalem History was the most popular of the crusade accounts of the early twelfth century. It might thus provide some insight into dominant perceptions of medieval people as to what the Crusade was all about in the first place. In Robert’s account, the pope informs the people that:

From the boundaries of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a grave report has arisen and very frequently come to our ears, evidently that the nation of the kingdom of the Persians [read “Turks”], a foreign nation, a nation entirely alien to God, to wit, a generation that has not directed its heart, and has not been entrusted by God with His Spirit, has invaded the lands of those Christians and depopulated them with iron, plundering, and fire, and has taken some of them as captives back to their own land, some of them they have laid low by a wretched death, either overturning entirely the churches of God or else converting them over to their own religion. They have overturned altars stained with foulness, circumcised Christians, and they pour the blood of the circumcision either upon the altars or else fill up the receptacles of baptism with it.[13]

The account only gets more lurid thereafter. Then the pope mentions the desolate state of Byzantine Anatolia, or what had been Byzantine Anatolia, after the disastrous Battle of Manzikert (1071): “The Kingdom of the Greeks has now been so carved up by [the Turks] and taken from their power that it cannot be crossed in the span of two months.”[14]

Finally, in William of Tyre’s History of the Affairs Done in the Lands Across the Seas we find an account of the pope’s words at Clermont written by a well-educated and well-informed scholar and first-generation native of the Latin East (he was born in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem around 1130). In William’s account, Pope Urban II provides a snapshot account of salvation history that highlights the literal land, “especially chosen before the ages,” to be the site of Man’s Redemption. This land, God’s “peculiar inheritance,” has now been subjected to the tyranny “of the Saracens,” who oppress “the faithful into slavery”; “the people who worship God have been humbled and the elect nation (genus electum) suffer undignified servitude.”[15]

“The praiseworthy people, whom the Lord of Hosts blessed, groan, wearied, under the weight of obligatory services and unclean deeds; their children are stolen—precious pledges of Mother Church—so that they might service the filthiness of the heathens and they are compelled to deny the name of the living God or to blaspheme Him with sacrilegious mouths.” This foreign tyranny respects not age, nor sex, nor sacred office.[16] In this account, the pope is clearly conjuring up and applying the familiar image of the Hebrews in servitude to the Egyptians. The pope thus exhorts the assembled Christian warriors: “Let us go the aid of our brothers, let us break their bonds and cast their yoke from us” (Ps. 2:3). After the pope refers to the Eastern Christians as “our brothers and co-heirs of the celestial kingdom,” he clarifies that “we are all each other’s members, indeed heirs of God, and co-heirs of Christ” (Rom. 8:17).[17]

Whether these remarks convey what the pope precisely said or merely reflect the rationale for the Crusade as understood by William of Tyre, an influential churchman and historian among the first generation of Latins born in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, they are hardly consistent with any sense of definitive schism between Latin and Eastern Christians. And so it is with the other sources for the justification of the First Crusade as considered above. Quite the contrary, the pope’s exhortation—or at least what medieval authors and audiences subsequently presented and accepted as the pope’s exhortation—takes for granted the enduring unity of the Body of Christ and the consequent obligation of Western Christians toward their Eastern brethren.

4. “Schism you say? We must have something in the files about that… maybe…”

Years before Pope Urban II summoned the Crusade at Clermont, diplomatic channels were opened between the papacy and Emperor Alexios I Komnenos. Undoubtedly, these negotiations regarded the recruitment of Western knights for service on the eastern frontier of the Byzantine Empire. But that is not all that was discussed.[18] In September of 1089, Emperor Alexios presided over a special session of the Standing Synod in Constantinople wherein he, gathered with the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria, eighteen metropolitan bishops and two archbishops, discussed Pope Urban II’s request that full communion be restored between the Latin and Greek Churches and that the pope’s own name be once more commemorated beside that of the other patriarchs in the Divine Liturgy. The minutes recording the deliberation might make us re-think the significance of 1054.[19]

The synod examined the pope’s letter. Urban claimed that, whereas regular communion with and commemoration of the Roman See had ceased long ago, there had never been any official, canonical condemnation of the Church of Rome issued by the Greek patriarchs. The emperor asked his bishops if this were true: Was there any record of excommunication of the Latins? The Greek bishops agreed that there never had been any such condemnation. Further, they asserted that there was no remembrance of any formal and mutual airing of grievances between Latins and Greeks such as would justify this division. Apparently, the events of 1054 had left no trace in written records or in memory. The bishops merely alluded to some sort of informal alienation between the Churches that had been going on for a while. In the absence of any written record of excommunication, the emperor determined that the pope should be commemorated—even if there were some or “other disputed point to be inquired into and resolved, it is not legitimate or canonical for the name of the pope to be excluded from commemoration.”[20] Here the Greek bishops hesitated. Even if there had been no formal condemnation, there were some canonical irregularities and outstanding issues between the Churches that had stood unresolved for some time now. (We are not informed how long, but considerable duration is suggested). Despite a lack of documentation, the passage of time had endowed this lapse of communion with some degree of legitimacy in the eyes of the bishops. They held for the resolution of these differences prior to papal commemoration. The emperor responded that this was uncanonical, that, lacking any extant decree of severance, “the pope must remain in his proper honor as before.” Meanwhile, the disagreements between the Churches can be examined and, if necessary, a formal correction issued.[21] In the end a compromise was reached. With the consent of the emperor, the bishops agreed that the pope should submit a profession of faith to the Standing Synod. If this profession were found orthodox, then the pope’s name would be enrolled among the other patriarchs and proclaimed in the Divine Liturgy. If the pope’s profession raised questions, then he or his representative should come to Constantinople to resolve them. Any further discussion of the issue would have to wait, anyway, until the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Alexandria could be included in the conversation.[22]

It cannot be denied: These recorded minutes of the Standing Synod clearly testify to a sense of division shared by Latins and Greeks. Indeed, Pope Urban evidently referred to some sort of “schism” that had been going on for some time—something also acknowledged by the Greeks. But even this demonstrates the inadequacy of the 1054 narrative. The Greek bishops could find no written record documenting, and justifying, the origin of this lapse in communion. Its precise origins are unknown. The Greek bishops are certain that there are some outstanding disagreements that must be settled, but the precise nature of these disagreements is never defined. The impression given by the document is that no one is really sure what the issues are, how serious they are—or at least that no one was willing to say. And it is the nebulousness and duration of that division—the impression of the division conveyed by the minutes is that of a state of affairs unconsciously inherited and uncritically accepted until Pope Urban decided to look into it—which suggest a model of schism as the gradual drifting apart of the two halves of Christendom.[23] Certainly, the description here defies the “punctuated equilibrium” model of the old 1054 narrative.

5. The Byzantine Cult of Saint Francis of Assisi

Francis of Assisi (c. 1181-1226) is one of those few medieval figures whose popularity has never flagged from the thirteenth century to our own. Despite the fact that Francis’ life, sanctity, and achievement are inextricable from his medieval contexts, there is something about the Little Poor Man of Assisi that has continued to resonate with people—religious or not—into modernity. Having renounced entirely the trappings of the merchant and the knight for which he had been raised or for which he had striven, Francis retained their spirit: an entrepreneur who risks everything for the Pearl of Great Price and the liegeman who follows his Lord with undiminished faith. His life could not fail to be a romance, as it was the romance of the Provençal Troubadours whose songs had nurtured him.[24]

But Francis—in his radical poverty and eccentric holiness—also resonated with the medieval Greek East as few Latin saints ever had or would again.[25] The stories of Francis, spread by the members of his Order throughout the eastern Mediterranean in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, made sense to the Greeks.[26] After all, the Greeks had their own type of holy eccentric, the holy fool (ἅγιος σαλός) [27] into whose cast Francis of Assisi fit neatly. Of course some of the Greeks would be entranced by a poor ascetic who fashioned a “wife” and “children” (along with a “manservant” and a “maidservant”) for himself out of snow in order to defeat the temptations of the Devil [28]; who took literally the evangelical mandate to proclaim the Gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15) by preaching to vultures [29]; who, upon being asked by his disciples whether it were permissible to break the fast since Christmas had fallen upon a Friday, urged that the walls be of the house be slathered with meat.[30] That is exactly how a man made foolish for Christ’s sake should act (I Cor. 4:10).

And some Greeks even fashioned his likeness and venerated it in their sacred icons. Four such icons of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries have survived from Greek churches on the island of Crete.[31] The ambitious mercantile Republic of Venice ruled Crete as a colony from the thirteenth through seventeenth centuries, when the Ottoman Turks took over the island. It is possible that other representations of Francis were lost (read “destroyed”) during the transfer of power. Some suspicious readers might suspect these extant icons of Francis as the artifacts of colonial oppression imposed by a “Roman Catholic” ruling elite on an “Orthodox” subject population. It is true that the Most Serene Republic of Venice expected its Greek subjects to abide by the terms of the union brokered by the Council of Florence in 1439. This only meant that the Cretans were theoretically subject to the (invariably Latin) archbishop of Crete and that Greek priests were required to commemorate the Roman pontiff and periodically preach the Bull of Union to their flocks. There were no provisions whatsoever about writing icons of Latin saints. Thus, these icons present a different likely alternative: some of the Cretan Greeks learned to love St. Francis of Assisi, or at least see him as a desirable heavenly patron.

One of these icons, of the fourteenth century, comes from the church of Panagia Kera in the village of Kritsa. The image it presents both fulfills conventional Greek expectations regarding the appearance of a holy man while remaining undeniably Latin. We see an image of Francis in the Eastern stereotype: the haloed ascetic raising his right hand in blessing, while in his left he clasps a bejeweled Gospel. And yet the visage and costume are Western: Francis’ face appears youthful, without a trace of beard (strikingly different than the typical Eastern bearded saint); the head is crowned by an unmistakably Roman tonsure. Francis is garbed in the drab frock of a begging brother with the typical knotted cord hanging down from his waist. And visible on his left hand, as he clasps the Gospel, is one of the stigmata, the wounds of the crucified Christ, that Francis received amid his raptures on Laverna.[32]

And we have written sources testifying to the impact of the cult of Francis on the world of medieval Greek Christianity. The pro-union Cretan priest John Plousiadenos, hailing from the same island as the aforementioned icons of St. Francis, wove praises of St. Francis and St. Dominic into his paean for the holiness and dignity of the Roman Church (c. 1464).[33] Evidence from the negative perspective comes from the pen of the anti-unionist Theodore Agallianos, who in his Dialogue with a Monk against the Latins (1442) tries to undermine the sanctity of Francis by way of a claim—attributed in the text to Dominicans in the neighborhood of Constantinople delivering a twisted sermon to Franciscans on the day of their saint’s feast—that he and St. Clare, his most famous female disciple and foundress of the order of Franciscan nuns, had a sexual relationship.[34] A remarkable libel that makes most sense on the grounds that Theodore feared that the cult of Francis (and Clare) had some credibility among his fellow Greeks.[35]

Here, then, are five instances drawn from medieval history troubling the conventional narrative of “The Schism of 1054”: the idea that the events of 1054 meant a clean sundering of Christendom from which there was no return. The point of this article was not to deny that there was a schism, but the problem with dating it to 1054 is that this year is both too early and too late. Too early, because the narrative attributes to this date a degree of mutual alienation that is only fully manifest in the centuries that followed in the wake of the Crusades, councils, and Latin occupation of Greek territory. This is not to consecrate 1204, the year of the final overthrow of the rickety Angelan dynasty in Constantinople and its replacement by a Latin regime, as a new “1054”—I believe that even this adjustment is at least questionable. But 1054 is also too early—the truth is that the Great Sees of Rome and Constantinople had been going their separate ways for centuries before, such that the clash of 1054 was long prepared for by developments in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. The point is that conventional narratives, such as “The Schism of 1054,” may attract us by their simplicity and apparent explanatory power. But besides serving as dubious justifications for ongoing situations, these narratives fail to capture the variety, obscurity, and complexity of human nature inspired by religious conviction that comes into view through the study of history close to the sources.

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[1] “Minutes of the proceedings of the Joint Commission” (13 November 1965), in E.J. Stormon, ed., Toward the Healing of Schism: The Sees of Rome and Constantinople, Ecumenical Documents 3 (New York and Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1987), 124.

[2] The relevant documents are found in Cornelius Will, ed., Acta et scripta quae de controversiis ecclesiae Graecae et Latinae saeculo undecimo composita extant (Lipsiae et Marpurgi, 1861), esp. see pp. 153-165. There have been numerous studies. As a starting point, indispensable is Steven Runciman, The Eastern Schism: A Study of the Papacy and the Eastern Churches during the XIth and XIIth Centuries (Oxford, 1955). A solid, albeit skewed narrative, but obviously dated. For more recent work, see esp.: Georgij Avvakumov, Die Enstehung des Unionsgedankens: Die latenische Theologie des Hochmittelalters in der Auseinandersetzung mit dem Ritus der Ostkirche (Berlin, 2002), esp. 29-160, and Axel Bayer, Die Spaltung der Christenheit: Das sogenannte Morgenlädische Schisma von 1054 (Cologne, 2002).

[3] For this section, see Vera von Falkenhausen and Dale Kinney, “Grottaferrata,” Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, ed. Alexander Kazhdan, vol. 2 (New York and Oxford, 1991), 885-886. See also: The Life of Saint Neilos of Rossano, ed. and trans. Raymond L. Capra, Ines A. Murzaku, and Douglas J. Milewski, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, vol. 47 (Cambridge and London, 2018), vii-xviii—although see p. xiii where the editor/translators accept the usual narrative about 1054.

[4] For these sentiments, see Will’s edition (cited above), 80-81: “Ut enim fertur, omnes Latinorum basilicas penes vos clausistis, monachis monasteria et abbatibus tulistis, donec vestris viverent institutis. Ecce in hac parte Romana ecclesia quanto discretior, moderatior et clementior vobis est! Siquidem cum intra et extra Romam plurima Graecorum reperiantur monasteria sive ecclesiae, nullum eorum adhuc perturbator vel prohibetur a paterna traditione, sive sua consuetudine; quin potius suadetur et admonetur eam observare.”

[5] Again, see von Falkenhausen and Kinney. Also follow the website of the monks of Grottaferrata.

[6] For this section, see the much more thorough piece by Marquette University scholar Marcus Plested, “Latin Monasticism on Mount Athos” (last accessed 10-7-20). See also Vera von Falkenhausen and Dale Kinney, “Amalfi” and “Montecassino,” ODB 1:73-74 and 2:1402 respectively.

[7] See introduction to The Alexiad of Anna Comnena, trans. E.R.A. Sewter, Penguin Classics (London: Penguin Books, 1969), 14.

[8] De profectione Ludovici VII in Orientem: The Journey of Louis VII to the East, ed. and trans. by Virginia Gingerick Berry, Records of Civilization, Sources and Studies (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1948).

[9] Readers restricted to English can find a helpful gathering of the primary passages on Paul Halsall’s Internet History Sourcebooks Project hosted by Fordham University [see “Medieval” -> “Crusades” -> “The First Crusade” -> “Urban II’s Speech, 1095” (1997)]. Halsall also gives dates for the various sources.

[10] Michael McCormick, “Fulcher of Chartres,” ODB 2:808.

[11] See the comments of Harold S. Fink in his introduction to Frances Rita Ryan’s translation of Fulcher of Chartres’ A History of the Expedition to Jerusalem, 1095-1127, Records of Civilization in Norton Paperback Editions (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, inc., 1969), 7-8.

[12] Early-modern edition: Jacques Bongars and Marinus Sanutus, Gesta Dei per Francos sive orientalium expeditionum et regni Francorum hierosolimitani historia (Hanoviae: Wechelian, 1611), 383: “Necesse enim, quatinus cum fratribus vestris in Orientali parte habitantibus, auxilio vestro iam saepe proclamato indignis, accelerato itinere succuratis. Invaserunt enim eos, sicuti plerisque vestrum iam dictum est, usque Mare Meditaraneum (sic), ad illud scilicet quod Brachium Sancti Georgii vocant, Turci et Arabes, apud Romania fines; et terras illorum Christianorum magis magisque occupando, lite bellica iam vice septuplicata victos superaverunt, multos occidendo vel captivando, ecclesiasque subvertendo, regnum quoque vastando. Quos quidem si sic aliquandiu quiete permiseritis, multos latius fideles DEI supergredientur. Qua de re supplici prece hortor, non ego sed Dominus: ut cunctis cuiuslibet ordinis tam peditibus quam equitibus, tam pauperibus quam divitibus, edicto frequenti vos, CHRISTI praecones, suadeatis, ut ad genus nequam, e regionibus nostratibus (sic) exterminandum, tempestive Christicolis opitulari satagant.

[13] Edition: Receuil des historiens des croisades, Historiens occidentaux, ed. L’académie imperial des inscriptions et belles-lettres, vol. 3 (Paris: Imprimerie impériale, 1846), 717: “Ab Iherosolimorum finibus et urbe Constantinopolitana relation gravis emersit et saepissime jam ad aures nostras pervenit, quod videlicet gens regni Persarum, gens extranea, gens prorsus a Deo aliena, generatio scilicet quae non direxit cor suum, et non est creditus cum Deo spiritus ejus, terras illorum Christianorum invaserit, ferro, rapinis, incendio depopulaverit, ipsosque captivos partim in terram suam abduxerit, partimque nece miserabili prostraverit, ecclesiasque Dei aut funditus everterit aut suorum ritui sacrorum mancipaverit. Altaria suis foeditatibus inquinate subvertunt, Christianos ci[r]cumcidunt, cruoremque circumcisionis aut super altaria fundunt aut in vasis baptisterii immergunt.”

[14] Receuil des historiens des croisades 3:728: “Regnum Graecorum jam ab eis ita emutilatum est et suis usibus emancipatum quod transmeari hoc potest itinere duorum mensium.”

[15] I am quoting from the Latin text as found in Medieval Latin, ed. K.P. Harrington (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1925; reprinted 1967—here the Latin text is taken from J.-P. Migne’s Patrologia Latina, vol. 201). For the above, see Harrington’s introduction on p. 305 (and Halsall, above, for a translated excerpt and dating). The relevant Latin text is found beginning on pp. 306-307: “….Et licet totam, in partem praecipuam, sibi dedicaverit ab initio, peculiariam tamen Urbem sanctam sibi adoptavit in propriam….Sarracenorum enim gens impia, et mundarum sectatrix traditionum, loca sancta, in quibus steterunt pedes Domini, iam a multis retro temporibus violentia permit tyrannide, subactis fidelibus et in servitutem damnatis. Ingressi sunt canes in sancta, profanatum est sanctuarium; humiliates est cultor Dei populus; angarias patitur indignas genus electrum….”

[16] Medieval Latin, 308-309: “Laudabilis populus, cui benedixit Dominus exercituum, sub angariarum et sordidarum praestationum pondere gemit fatigatus; rapiuntur eorum filii, matris Ecclesiae chara pignora, ut gentium immunditiis deserviant, et nomen Dei vivi abnegent vel ore blasphement sacrilege, compelluntur; aut impia detestantes imperia, caeduntur gladiis more bidentium, sanctis martyribus sociandi. Non est sacrilegis locorum differentia, non est personarum respectus; in sanctuariis occiduntur sacerdotes et Levitae; coguntur virgins fornicari, aut per tormenta perire: nec matronis aetas maturior suffragatur.”

[17] Medieval Latin, 309: “Subveniamus fratribus nostris, ‘Disrumpamus vincula eorum, et proiiciamus a nobis iugum ipsorum’…. Monemus igitur et exhortamur in Domino, et in remissionem peccatorum iniungimus, ut fratribus nostris, et caelestis regni cohaeredibus (omnes enim sumus invicem membra, ‘haeredes quidem Dei, cohaeredes autem Christi’) qui Hierosolymis et in finibus eius habitant, affliction et laboribus compatientes, infidelium insolentiam (qui sibi regna, principatus et potestates subiicere contendunt) debita compescatis animadversione…”

[18] Generally, see Runciman (cited above), 78-101.

[19] This text is found in Alfons Becker, Papst Urban II (1088-1099), vol. 2, Der Papst, die griechische Christenheit und der Kreuzzug (Stuttgart, 1988), 215-222.

[20] Becker, 215-219; direct quote on p. 218-219: “….ἡ βασιλεία μου μηδὲν εὑροῦσα διαγνωστικὸν ἀναμεταξὺ γενόμενον τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν, δίκαιον εἶναι διέγνω ἐπανασωθῆναι τῷ πάπᾳ τὸ παλαιὸν προνόμιον τῆς ἀναφορᾶς καὶ οὕτως εἴ τι ἄλλο ἀμφιβαλλόμενον ζητηθῆναί τε καὶ λυθῆναι, μηδὲ γὰρ ἔννομον εἶναι μηδὲ κανονικὸν ἀποκοπῆναι τὸ τοῦ πάπα ὄνομα τῆς μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων ἁγιωτάτων πατριαρχῶν ἀναφορᾶς πρὸ καταδίκης κανονικῆς.”

[21] Becker, 219: “….ἡ δὲ βασιλεία μου τῆς κανονικῆς ἀκριβείας ἔλεγεν εἶναι τοῦτο ἀλλότριον, χρῆναι γὰρ ἐπὶ τῆς ἰδίας μένειν τὸν πάπαν τιμῆς ὡς καὶ πρότερον καὶ οὕτω ζητηθῆναι τὸ ἀμφίβολον καὶ κανονικὴν τὴν ἐπ’ αὐτοῖς γενέσθαι διόρθωσιν….”

[22] Becker, 219-222.

[23] For this model, see Yves Congar, After Nine Hundred Years: The Background of the Schism between the Eastern and Western Churches (New York: Fordham University Press, 1959).

[24] Though it is not “specialist” scholarship, I cannot resist recommending G.K. Chesterton’s marvelous Saint Francis of Assisi (originally published at London and Toronto: Hodder and Stoughton’s people’s library, 1923—though widely available in modern reprint), which precisely captures this spirit of Francis.

[25] On this, see the comments of Marie-Hélène Blanchet following her edition and translation of: Théodore Agallianos: Dialogue avec un moine contre les latins (1442), Textes et documents d’histoire médiévale, 9 (Paris: Publcations de la Sorbonne, 2013), 171.

[26] On mendicant activities in the Greek East, see Nickiphoros Tsougarakis, The Latin Religious Orders in Medieval Greece, 1204-1500, Medieval Church Studies (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012); Anne Derbes and Amy Neff, “Italy, the Mendicant Orders, and the Byzantine Sphere,” in Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1517), ed. Helen C. Evans, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004), 449-453; and Claudine Delacroix-Besnier, Les Dominicains et la chrètienté grecque aux 14. Et 15. Siècles, Collection de l’école française de Rome, 237 (Rome: École française de Rome, 1997)—this monograph focusing, obviously, on the Dominicans.

[27] Alexander Kazhdan, “Fools, Holy,” ODB II:795.

[28] Thomas of Celano, The Second Life of St. Francis, in St. Francis of Assisi: Writings and Early Biographies, trans. Raphael Brown et al., ed. Marion A. Habig, 4th rev. ed. (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1983), LXXXII.117, p. 459.

[29] Thomas of Celano, The First Life of St. Francis, in St. Francis of Assisi (cited above), XXI.58, pp. 227-228.

[30] Celano, Second Life of St. Francis, CLI.199, pp. 521-522.

[31] Derbes and Neff (cited above), 452-453; Blanchet, 171.

[32] Derbes and Neff, 452, 454 fig. 14.5. On Francis’ stigmata, see: Thomas of Celano, First Life, III.94-96 (pp. 308-311).

[33] John Plousiadenos, Expositio pro sancta et oecumenica synodo florentina, Patrologia Graeca, ed. J.-P. Migne, vol. 159 (Paris, 1866), col. 1356C.

[34] Text edited by Blanchet (cited above), 87 lns. 835-850.

[35] On this, see Blanchet, 171-174.

The featured image is “The Schism” by Jehan Georges Vibert (1840-1902) and is in the public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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