By abandoning old Rome and moving to the
Greek East, Constantine indicated that the future of the Empire lay in the East.
The Byzantine Greeks almost ignored the developments in the Western Church,
where the bishop of Rome was the sole patriarch. True, the Eastern Church
acknowledged and honored the bishop of the old capital as the first among equals
(primus inter pares) in honor, but she did not consider him Pontifex Maximus
(chief bishop) or vicar of Christ on earth. ...
After several confrontations between the Eastern and Western, or
Greek and Latin, churches, there came a crisis in the year 1054, which is the
traditional date of the great schism. The major problem in the dispute was the
Roman claim to primacy in arbitrating all matters of faith, morals, and
administration. The Greek East, which knew of no precedent for this claim, had
refused to accept it. ...
The two worlds were further divided as a result of the barbarism of
the Crusades and the brutalities they inflicted upon the Greek East. The
Crusaders’ "macabre expression of a pagan death-wish," in the words of a modern
Western historian, brought the final rupture between Roman Catholicism and Greek