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Timeline of Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic relations

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This timeline of Orthodox Christian and Roman Catholic relations chronicles major dates which concern the relationship between the two communions.

Apostolic and Ante-Nicene Era

  • ca. 37-53 Episcopacy of Apostle Peter in Antioch.
  • 50 Apostolic Council of Jerusalem overrules St. Peter's Judaizing.
  • 64 Martyrdom of Peter in Rome.
  • 67 Election of Linus, first bishop of Rome.
  • 135 First recorded use of title Pope by a Roman bishop (Hyginus).
  • 255 Cyprian of Carthage rejects Pope Stephen I's ruling on the Donatist controversy.

Conciliar Era

Estrangement and Schism

  • 792 Charlemagne accuses "Greeks" of deleting Filioque from original Creed.
  • 800 Usurpation of Western Roman Empire by Charlemagne.
  • 809 Pope Leo III forbids addition of Filioque to Creed and has original Creed in both Greek and Latin inscribed on silver tablets displayed in Rome.
  • 869-870 Council in Constantinople deposes St. Photius the Great.
  • 879-880 Council in Constantinople (endorsed by papacy) reinstates St. Photius and anathematizes any changes to Nicene Creed, including the Filioque.
  • 962 Founding of Holy Roman Empire.
  • 1014 First use of Filioque by Pope of Rome, at coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Henry II.
  • 1054 Excommunication of Ecumenical Patriarch Michael Cerularius by Cardinal Humbertus, papal legate, the conventional date point of the Great Schism. Michael returns the favor by excommunicating the Pope (who had died, rendering his legate's authority null).
  • 1059 Beginning of the use of the term transubstantiation in West.
  • 1066 Invasion of England by Duke William of Normandy, carrying papal banner and with papal blessing as a crusade against the "erring English church," engineered by Hildebrand, archdeacon of Rome.
  • 1073-1085 Hildebrand becomes Pope Gregory VII and institutes Gregorian Reforms, the largest increase of papal power in history, including the claim to be able to depose secular rulers.
  • 1075 Pope Gregory VII issues Dictatus papae, an extreme statement of papal power.
  • ca. 1078-80 Council of Burgos reorganizes national Church of Spain as Roman Archbishopric, replaces use of Mozarabic rite with Roman. Sentences Bishops who refuse to recognize decrees to imprisonment.
  • 1095-1272 Crusades promise salvation to warriors from the West.
  • 1180 Last formal reception of Latins to communion at an Orthodox altar, in Antioch.
  • 1182 Maronites (formerly Monothelite heretics) submit to Rome.
  • 1204 Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople; Crusaders set up Latin Empire and Patriarchate of Constantinople (lasting until 1261).
  • 1274 Council of Lyons fails to force Orthodox capitulation to papacy.
  • 1287 Last record of, Amalfion, Benedictine monastery on Mount Athos.
  • 1302 Papal bull Unam Sanctam declares submission to pope necessary for salvation.
  • 1379 Beginning of Western "Great Schism," during which there are eventually 3 rival popes.
  • 1341-1351 Councils in Constantinople vindicate Palamite theology of hesychasm against Barlaamist philosophy.
  • 1414-1418 Council of Constance ends Western "Great Schism;" this council emphasized the Conciliar Movement over the authority of the pope.
  • 1423-24 Council of Siena in the Roman Catholic Church was the high point of conciliarism, emphasizing the leadership of the bishops gathered in council, but the conciliarism expressed there was later branded as a heresy.
  • 1433 Nicolas of Cusa writes his major work on church government, The Catholic Concordance (De concordantia catholica), a manifesto of conciliarism, advancing the notion of a constitutional papacy subject to the authority of a council representative of the different parts of Christendom, balancing hierarchy with consent.
  • 1439 Council of Florence fails to force Orthodox capitulation to papacy and confesses Purgatory as dogma.
  • 1444 Catholic priest Lorenzo Valla proves Donation of Constantine a forgery.

Renaissance and Modern Era

  • 1453 Fall of Constantinople to Ottoman Turks; numerous Greek scholars flee to West, triggering European Renaissance.
  • 1545-63 Council of Trent answers charges of Protestant Reformation.
  • 1582 Institution of Gregorian Calendar.
  • 1596 Union of Brest-Litovsk, creation of the Unia (Eastern/Byzantine/Greek Catholics).
  • 1611 Gallican French theologian Edmund Richer (1559-1631), author of De ecclesiastica et politica potestate, held the view that ecclesiastical councils, not the papacy, was the method by which doctrinal truth was established, but his work was censured at the Council of Aix-en-Provence in 1612; this ‘richérisme’ strongly influenced 18th century Jansenism.
  • 1724 Melkite Schism, in which many Antiochian Orthodox become Greek Catholics.
  • 1763 The Jansenist Provincial Council of Utrecht, seed of the future Old Catholic movements, affirmed every Roman Catholic dogma and pronounced the Orthodox Faith to be schismatic and false, signalling not so much a rapprochement with Orthodoxy, but rather a refusal to drift yet further from her, as much of the Roman fold was doing.
  • 1848 Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs sent by the primates and synods of the four ancient patriarchates of the Orthodox Church, condemning the Filioque as heresy, declaring the Roman Catholic Church to be heretical, schismatic, and in apostasy, repudiating Ultramontanism and referring to the Photian Council of 879-880 as the "Eighth Ecumenical Council."
  • 1854 Declaration of Immaculate Conception of Mary as dogma.
  • 1863 Abbé Vladimir Guettée, a French Roman Catholic priest who converted to the Orthodox Church, writes "The Papacy: Its Historic Origin and Primitve Relations with the Eastern Churches", a strong criticism of the Papacy.
  • 1870 Declaration of Papal Infallibility to be dogma at First Vatican Council.
  • 1894 Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae (on the Reunion of Christendom), an Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on June 20, called for the reunion of Eastern and Western churches into the "Unity of the Faith", while also condemning Freemasonry; criticized by Ecumenical Patriarch Anthimus VII in 1895.
  • 1926 The Benedictine monastery Chevetogne Abbey is founded in Belgium, dedicated to Christian unity, being a ‘double rite’ monastery having both Western (Latin rite) and Eastern (Byzantine rite) churches holding services every day.
  • 1946 State-sponsored synod held Ukraine dissolves the Union of Brest-Litovsk and integrates the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church into the Russian Orthodox Church, with Soviet authorities arresting resisters or deporting them to Siberia.
  • 1950 Declaration of Bodily Assumption of Mary as dogma.
  • 1962-1965 Vatican II institutes major reforms, especially liturgical, into Roman Catholic Church.
  • 1964 Mutual lifting of excommunications by Patr. Athenagoras I and Pope Paul VI.
  • 1965 The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation is founded, meeting twice yearly.
  • 1979 Joint Commission of Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches for Theological Dialogue established.
  • 1982 Orthodox-Roman Catholic Joint Commission publishes in Munich first official common document, "The Mystery of the Church and of the Eucharist in Light of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity."
  • 1987 Orthodox-Roman Catholic Joint Commission in Bari issues common document "Faith, Sacraments and the Unity of the Church."
  • 1988 Orthodox-Roman Catholic Joint Commission in Valamo publishes common document "The Sacrament of Order in the Sacramental Structure of the Church."
  • 1993 Orthodox-Roman Catholic Joint Theological Commission meets in Balamand, Lebanon, issuing common document "Uniatism: Method of Union of the Past, and Present. Search for Full Communion" (the "Balamand document").
  • 1995 Pope John Paul II issues Orientale Lumen, encouraging East-West union.
  • 2001 Pope John Paul II apologizes to Orthodox for Fourth Crusade.
  • 2002 Patr. Bartholomew I (Archontonis) of Constantinople and Pope John Paul II co-sign Venice Declaration of Environmental Ethics.
  • 2004 Return of relics of Ss. John Chrysostom and Gregory the Theologian to Constantinople from Rome (after having been stolen by Crusaders).
  • 2006 Pope Benedict XVI drops title Patriarch of the West; Abp. Christodoulos (Paraskevaides) of Athens visits Vatican, the first head of the Church of Greece to visit the Vatican, reciprocating the Pope's visit to Greece in 2001, and signing a Joint Declaration on the importance of the Christian roots of Europe and protecting fundamental human rights; the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches confronted Secular Humanism at the conference "Giving a Soul to Europe" (Vienna, May 3-5, 2006),[note 1] discussing the challenges facing Christianity, specifically materialism, consumerism, agnosticism, secularism and relativism, all based on liberal humanist ideology, constituting a real threat to Christianity today.[note 2]
  • 2007 Orthodox-Roman Catholic Joint Commission meets in Ravenna, Italy, 10th plenary, led by co-presidents Cardinal Walter Kasper and Metr. John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon, agreeing upon a joint document consisting of 46 articles providing an ecclesiastical road map in discussing union; Russian delegation walks out of Ravenna talks in protest of presence of Estonian delegation (EP).
  • 2009 Led by three senior archbishops, a group of Orthodox clergy in Greece published a manifesto, A Confession of Faith Against Ecumenism, pledging to resist all ecumenical ties with Roman Catholics and Protestants, amongst its signatories including six metropolitans, as well as 49 archimandrites, 22 hieromonks, and 30 nuns and abbesses, as well as many other priests and church elders; Orthodox-Roman Catholic Joint Commission meets in Paphos, Cyprus, 11th plenary, studying the theme "The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium;" first-ever Russian Orthodox church is consecrated in Rome.

See also


  1. The conference was organized jointly by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.
  2. From the perspective of the Church Secular Humanism is defined as a religious philosophical worldview based on atheism, naturalism, evolution, and ethical relativism, attempting to function as a civilized society with the total exclusion of God and His moral principles. At the conference Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev called in most resolute terms for an institutionalized Orthodox-Catholic alliance, without which, he said, it would not be possible to defend traditional values in Europe: "What we are witnessing is the final attack of militant secularism on the remains of Christian civilization in Europe." Note that at its 50th anniversary World Humanist Congress in 2002, the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) published its "Amsterdam Declaration", the defining statement of worldwide secular Humanism, embracing Humanist, atheist, rationalist, secular, skeptic, Ethical Culture, freethought and similar organisations worldwide.


This page uses content from the English OrthodoxWiki. The original article was at Timeline of Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic relations. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.The text of OrthodoxWiki is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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