Week 22 – the Great Schism, Philip II Augustus, sacraments & indulgences

What was the Great Schism? What factors brought it on?

The Great Schism was a religious division in the Christian world between Catholics (West) and Orthodox (East). Catholics accept the Pope, while Orthodox people don’t. They also had different liturgies (prayers, visuals and other worship practices).

There were five Christian patriarchates: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.

Constantinople (where Orthodox churches were) tried to advance its dignity and authority, which might have been the main key issue to dividing Rome from Constantinople. Constantinople claimed it was the new Rome and that it was as significant as Rome. Rome doesn’t accept this; Constantinople is not an apostolic see, Rome is more important: it was supposedly founded by St. Peter, many important catholic events occurred there… Meanwhile Constantinople’s argument was centred entirely around the political importance of the city. Even though some people tried saying it was founded by St. Andrew, which was proved to be untrue some time later, it still wasn’t as important as Rome.

How was Philip II Augustus significant in French history?

France was under the rule of the Carolingian family until 987, when the last Carolingian died with no heir. The Carolingians were replaced by Hugh Capet, who was chosen by the great lords of the realm because of his weakness as a king. However, Hugh became hereditary thanks to his male heirs and his family, Capetian kings, stayed on throne. In 996, his son Robert becomes a “full” king after co-ruling with his father and rules until 1031. After his death, a war breaks out among his sons, through 1031 till 1039. Because of this war, the French monarchy becomes even weaker and is exhausted in the terms of money and men.

That is where Philip II Augustus came in. He ruled from 1180 to 1223 and made many changes; he takes over the “Angevin Empire” (a French territory occupied by English men) and France overall becomes a dominant power in Europe.

What are the sacraments?

A sacrament is, in other words, a sensible sign of invisible grace. The seven most important sacraments in Christianity:

1) baptism – stain of original sin washed away

2) penance – all mortal sins must be confessed to a priest

3) holy communion – normally given in the context of the Mass (receiving the God’s body and blood)

4) matrimony – priest marries the couple (before the couple married each other)

5) holy orders

6) extreme unction / anointing of the sick – when there’s a possibility of death, you get anointed so you gain more strength

7) sacraments of the living and of the dead – if a mortal sin has been committed, but no confessed, the soul is dead

What is an indulgence?

Many people think it is a piece of paper, which you could buy and your sin would be forgiven; it is not. An indulgence is basically being forgiven for your sins. You can achieve this by completing your punishment.

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