Another Schism Healed…without the Pope

Very often Catholic apologists tend to give the impression that without the papacy, dogs and cats will co-habitate, mass hysteria will take place and the Borg will invade. If you don’t have a single and psychologically simple center of unity, all you are left with is Protestant like schism upon schism. It is nice to see this isn’t the case.

21 Responses to Another Schism Healed…without the Pope

  1. Elliot,

    Simple. The content of Rome’s faith is not Orthodox by Orthodox standards. This is why I distinguished from an Orthodox perspective schism FROM the Church and schism IN the Church.


  2. Elliot B says:

    An interesting nuance to ponder (schism in vs. from the Church). The non-necessity of mutual recognition does, however, seem to weaken the import of the Orthodox refusal to recognize Rome. By what criterion is Rome’s schism from the Church established except for the refusal of the Orthodox to recognize them?

  3. Elliot,

    This is why I asked a question (to the Orthodox here) of whether or not *all* schism is schism FROM the Church. Is there schism “in” the Church? I think so if one thinks of Cyril and Chrysostom, two churches who maintained the content of the faith, which is why “mutual recognition” is not a necessary condition for Orthodoxy, but it is nevertheless something that SHOULD be done.


  4. Elliot B says:

    I am curious as to how this actually comprised schism, since it seemed there was no doctrinal dispute, only a major difference of opinion on how to relate to Communism. The article, for one thing, predicates of the Orthodox Church a word I’m sure this blog’s hosts find anathema in any other setting — “branch” — which suggest they never actually split. What I mean is, was there a point in this history when one side said the other actually revoked (or forfeited) the orthodox faith? Because what strikes me most about this event is its political and cultural, not theological, nature. I quote:

    “‘The rebirth of church unity today is the most important condition for restoring the lost unity of the entire Russian world,’ Putin said in remarks broadcast on state-run television. … The reunification is an important symbolic victory for Putin, who regards the Orthodox Church as a key pillar of post-Soviet Russian society and has prioritized the promotion of Russian culture abroad.”

    It seems to address the issue of the papacy very little to see a (re)union of two “branches” of the ROC driven first by the political fact that Communism is gone (hence dissolving the material basis for “schism”) and second by the ethnic-political aims of Putin. Does this restore the “schismatic” anti-communist branch to Orthodoxy or does it smell something like caesaropapism (whereby the church’s unity and function are heavily broke, secured or dictated by the political regime)? Knowing more about the strictly theological nature of this “schism” would help focus it in a meaningful ecclesial discussion. Otherwise it seems merely worldly. Perhaps another example of an Orthodox reunion would be in order.

  5. Dozie says:

    I did not realize that Perry was also anti-Catholic.

  6. Chris says:

    But… the ROCOR situation wasn’t a schism from the church. It was a schism within a patriarchate. Not a real schism at all.

  7. Church unity is a problem everywhere. I would argue that there is de facto division in the Roman Catholic Church now, it is just better covered up.

    The main problem to Church unity is sin and fallen human nature, not institutional mechanisms or lack of them. As one Etna monk put it, the main problem is not that Christians are not united amongst themselves, it is rather that Christians are not united to Christ. The latter will lead to the former, but if you hope that this will occur this side of the Last Judgement, I would advise you not to hold your breath.

  8. Good point, Mr Robinson.

  9. TJ says:

    So Orthodox Christians can lift there left foot without pope’s orders. Good for you!

  10. Not sure where else it might still be, but I have Fr. John Behr’s ” One in Christ: An Historical Look” from AGAIN,Vol. 28 No. 2, Summer 2006 at:

  11. Andrew says:


    Which issue? And can the article be found online?

  12. Jack says:


    I’m not sure if I agree. See, e.g., Father Behr’s article in Again magazine on this issue.

  13. Andrew says:

    And yet another canonical jurisdiction. A glorious event, to be sure, but also a testament to the sad state of Orthodoxy in America.

  14. Lucian says:

    You’re mean. I like that. 😀

  15. Greg DeLassus says:

    Er, o.k., point taken. The claim that fissiparous schism is the inevitable result of separating from communion with Rome was absurd and meritless to begin with, so it hardly required a lot of refuting. That said, I guess the claim does get made from time to time, so if you wish to gild the refutation lily by mentioning this reconciliation I suppose that it is not completely gratuitous…

  16. Questions to ponder:

    What IS Orthodoxy? And what constitutes Orthodoxy? Is *all* schism FROM the Church?

    I don’t ask these questions in a spirit for us to be disobedient to the Churches we belong to or to “canonical” Orthodoxy, but in reflection and ways to heal schism.


  17. Ad Orientem says:

    It is a fair point that there are some groups which use the word “Orthodox” in their name and clearly are not. Unlike ROCOR, HOCNA is not recognized by any legitimate Orthodox jurisdiction as canonical. I do not anticipate that changing.


  18. David Richards says:

    B-b-but PERRY, it took them so *long* to re-unify; if there had been a pope, he could have forced reunion! 😛

    But seriously folks, we do have to be careful about groups such as HOCNA, i.e. those groups which are schism now even from ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate, and their reunification. At some point it does become ridiculous, no?

  19. Perry Robinson says:


    I hadly wrote enough to be a tirade. Secondly, what I said was true. If you don’t like it, go complain to Scott Hahn, Dave Armstrong, etc. since they clearly exemplify the attitude I denote.

  20. Ben says:

    How did an occaison of rejoicing become a anti-pope tirade?

  21. Josh G. says:

    Perry — this is wonderful news. Events like this are a balm to the soul. The angels are rejoicing.

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