Author: Charles C. Yost


Photios, the Franks, and the Filioque, Part 3

In the mind of the scholar-patriarch Photios—the reader of Herodotus’ Histories, Hellenistic romances, and the mystical theology of Pseudo-Dionysios—the principal sin of the Latins was contained in the tiny addition to the Nicene Creed that said “and the Son” (Filioque). 


Photios, the Franks, and the Filioque, Part II

Ever since Charlemagne had smashed the Avars at the eastern marches of his expanding realm, agents of the Frankish empire had begun infiltrating into the northern Balkans, including the lands inhabited by the Slavic tribe of the Moravians (the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks). Among these agents were missionaries, for the empire of Charlemagne was a Christian empire, the true Israel in the fancy of his court theologians, and the progress of the Gospel must keep pace with the expansion of boundaries into heathendom. There was bound to be a conflict then, when heathendom meant not only the Germanic...


Photios, the Franks, and the Filioque, Part I

The Balkans: by fate the cross-roads between Greek East and Latin West.  In the fourth century, the line dividing the Western from the Eastern Roman Empire had been drawn through the northern and westerly reaches of these lands denominated by the Romans as “Illyricum.” As far as sacred jurisdiction was concerned, Illyricum was, by the eighth century, disputed territory. Against the ancient claims of Rome and because of her obnoxious refusal to fall in line with the imperial proscription of images, Emperor Leo III (717-741), “the Saracen-minded,” had removed even western Illyricum from Rome’s theoretical jurisdiction and placed it directly...


Back on the Road from Damascus: Finding Our Bearings

Greetings once again, fellow travelers. It is my distinct pleasure to be in your company once more. Your humble guide to the history of the schism between the Eastern and Western Churches has been long absent: I’ve been finishing a dissertation, defending it, and submitting it. Now that I’ve left behind me the unenviable existence of a graduate student in the 21st century, I return to you so that we may continue on our way through the sad history of division in the Body of Christ. But before we break a new path, we ought to pause and get our...


Road To Damascus, Part II Conclusion

In this primitive period of East-West unity, Rome established its preeminence above all in the context of theological controversies, where it took on the role of unflinching champion of orthodoxy.  The Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople had formulated a creed that became the universal bedrock of faith, but in a certain sense they did not go far enough, for they did not speak explicitly to the different theories about Jesus Christ, His personhood and natures, that arose and clashed in the fifth century.  This was a matter of special concern for the emperors in Constantinople, who looked with anxiety to...


The Road to Damascus II: Before the Schism, Part A

The Road to Damascus The Intelligent Christian’s Guide to the Schism Pt. 2: Roman Christianity before the East-West Schism Let us not deceive ourselves.  There was never an era of Christian history completely innocent of schism.  Indeed, the believer should not be scandalized to see dissension and quarreling in the very pages of his New Testament—among the disciples of Jesus contending with each other for the seat at His right hand in the Coming Age (cf. Matt. 20:20-28 and Lk. 22:24-27); between Paul, felled by the voice of Christ on the road to Damascus, and Peter, to whom Christ entrusted...