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Lecture on Charles The Great, Pope Leo III, the Filioque and the Franks Let us use the example of Charlemagne, Pope Leo III, and the filioque controversy to illustrate what is meant. Historians tell us that the Great Schism, also known as the East-West Schism, was the event that divided "Chalcedonian" Christianity into Western Roman-catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Though normally dated to 1054, when Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael I excommunicated each other, the East-West Schism was actually the result of an extended period of estrangement within the Church dating back to the reign of Charlemagne. Beginning with Charlemagne's efforts in the 9th century, the Church finally split around 1054. along doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political, and geographic lines. Even under this stress the Church would remain connected until the Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453 causing a split which remains today. It is simply astonishing that there was no schism between the Romans of Old and New Rome (=Constantinople) during the two and a half centuries of Frankish and German control over Papal Court leading to the 1054 split. Even more astonishing is the fact that most European and American historians gloss over this divine feat with such ease. If we look at the so-called split between East and West as an importation into Old Rome of a schism provoked by Charlemagne and carried there by the Franks and Germans who took over the papacy, then "differences" within the changing Roman Nation and ecclesiastical developments of the Church Fathers thus become political opportunities for conquerors such as Charlemagne and his followers. These differences are exploited, becoming useful wedges to divide a unified people into groups, making governance of a new and Frankish empire possible. Historian John Romanides turns the readers eyes toward this direction. The time of Charlemagne, Pope Leo III, and the filioque controversy combine as seminal characters and events in the young ecclesial life of the Roman Church. In this light, the schism between Eastern and Western Christianity was not between East and West Romans. No, in actuality, it was a split between East Romans and the conquerors of the West Romans. The conquerors of the West Romans were the Franks! The term "East Romans" is a much more accurate term than "Byzantines." The Franks wanted to keep the East Romans and West Romans divided so that they would ensure their subjugation of the West Romans. Romanides notes that by the eighth century visible signs of a split in the Christian people along racial and ethnic lines began to become apparent. For the first time heresy took on ethnic names instead of names designating the heresy itself or its leader. Thus in West European sources we find a separation between a "Greek" East and a "Latin" West. In Roman sources this same separation constitutes a schism between Franks and Romans. This racial and ethnic basis for a schism may be more profound and play a leading role than historians acknowledge. The instigating event was the founding of the Carolingian Empire in the West. The Frankish king decided to split Constantinople's claim to universal jurisdiction over the Roman Empire by bringing about a charge of heresy against the eastern Roman emperor. The Roman emperor, argued Charlemagne, could not claim to be the successor of earlier Christian rulers because he worshiped images and because he confessed that the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father by the Son" instead of "from the Father and the Son." Charlemagne issued his "Libri Carolini," stating as such, and sent it to Pope Hadrian in 792. This became the basis for the Franks refuting earlier decrees which the Church had announced at the Seventh Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 787. This means that Charlemagne interfered with the theology of an Ecumenical Council! Creating a fresh wound where none had existed prior, Charlemagne opened the path of dissension between East and West over the question of the Filioque. Pope Leo III had the traditional text of the Creed, without the filioque, displayed publicly, having the original text engraved on two silver tablets, at the tomb of St. Peter. So while the Bishop of Rome approved Charlemagne's political aims, he was decidedly opposed to his theological attack on the remaining four Patriarchates. Popes Hadrian I (772-795) and Leo III (795-816) defended the Council of Nicaea and formally rejected the interpolation in the Creed. Romanides helps the observer understand that the Filioque controversy was not a conflict between the Patriarchates of Old Rome and New Rome, but between the Franks and all Romans in the East and in the West. The schism began when Charlemagne ignored both Popes Hadrian I and Leo III on doctrinal questions and decided that the East Romans were neither Orthodox nor Roman. Officially, this Frankish challenge was answered at the Eighth Ecumenical Synod in 879 by all five Roman Patriarchates, including that of Old Rome. The addition of the filioque was a violation of the canon of the Third Ecumenical Council in 431 AD. The filioque may be interpreted 2 ways. One is heretical and the other Orthodox. The "Eighth Ecumenical Council of 879AD" is commonly known as Photian Council in Eastern Orthodox Church. The odd effect of historians overlooking Christian Church unity during Charlemagne's time gives rise to arousing doubts deeper than their might otherwise be illustrated. Let us look at Augustine and the filioque arguments of the Franks as an example of such over-extended doubts. The theological tradition of the Franks promotes Augustine as a student and friend of Ambrose. Hence, Augustine is given the primordial role in Frankish theology. In turn, all the other fathers, both Latin-speaking or Greek-speaking are subordinated to the authority of the platonic, Augustinian logic. Even the dogmas promulgated at Ecumenical Synods were eventually replaced by Augustine's understanding of these dogmas. Of course, such Frankish tradition is in sharp contrast to ancient Christian theology. In fact, the Frankish claims of Augustine being a student and friend of Ambrose are totally untrue. Rather the opposite, it appears Augustine read very little of Ambrose's theological method and doctrine. Yet Charlemagne and the Franks had created a connection between the two and proceeded to use that "connection" as a dividing wedge between the Christian peoples of the unified Church. Scholasticism would hail Augustinian logic as its underpinning feature, giving Thomas Aquinas at least one leg to stand upon. It was the scholasticism of the Franks and their eventual takeover of the Papacy in Rome that drove thundering chariots across the sky, roundly replacing the earlier Patristic Tradition of a unified Church, leaving behind in its dust a conquered Roman west split from its roots. The filioque is the result of Augustine's philosophical speculation and not of apostolic theology. The knowledge of God, however, is revealed; it is not the product of logic, no matter how cogent. The truth concerning the Trinity comes by Holy Tradition and is assimilated by the individual through the Grace of the Church. Romanides points out that Saints Ambrose and Augustine differ radically over the questions of the Old Testament appearances of the Logos, the existence of the universals, the general framework of the doctrine of the Trinity, the nature of communion between God and man, the manner in which Christ reveals His divinity to the apostles, and in general, over the relation between doctrine and speculation, or revelation and reason. Ambrose clearly follows the Holy Fathers, and Augustine follows the Bible interpreted within the framework of Plotinus, and in clearly gnostic way, under the pressure of his Manichaean past. What is not speculation is that the Franks intended to exalt Charlemagne as the new Roman Emperor. The Christian religion, as they knew it in the western empire, was to be part of the catalyst. Meanwhile, from 726 to 843, the Eastern Roman Empire, under the thumb of successive emperors, was dominated by the heresy of iconoclasm. Both Franks and Greeks, in their own way, departed from ancient tradition. Unlike the East, however, where iconoclasm was repudiated at the Seventh Ecumenical Council and the use of icons later confirmed by the Empress Theodora, the West to date never recovered from its departure. We can now see the thrilling attraction of orthodoxy. The over-extended doubts spurred by speculative Trinitarian theology were, in reality, doctrinal explanations of Nicean-Chalcedonian dogma. Still, the Church was aggravated on all sides by Charlemagne and the Frankish rulers for all contradictory reasons. Really, no sooner had Charlemagne demonstrated that the Church was too far to the east than the pope demonstrated with equal clearness that it was much too far to the west. No sooner had Pope Hadrian's indignation died down than Pope Leo III was called up again to notice and condemn the Emperor's attempts to divide. Yet the fact remains that between 395 and 1453 New Rome (=Constantinople) was the Capital of the Roman Empire. She was not the capital of any "Byzantine" or "Greek" Empire which never existed. Such racial and ethnic terms have the obvious dividing effects. The Church could not afford to swerve even on this small point lest some other idea may become too powerful. It was already taking a large enough risk as it was being the religion whose ideas of birth through a Holy Spirit, of the death of a divine being, of the forgiveness of sins, or the fulfillment of prophecies, were ideas that needed but a touch to turn them into something blasphemous or violent. Ramifications were simply far too great. A sentence phrased wrong about the nature of Christ's divinity would have broken all the revealed knowledge of the Patristic period. Yes, doctrines had to be defined within strict limits so that mankind might enjoy general human liberties. This is the end of discussion of the key points of the troubles and division brought on Christendom by the Germanic tribe called the "Franks." Their legacy is dissent and division in the church driven by lust for political power. Eventually, they would develop primarily into the French and Germans of later times. Bibliography: · Azkoul, Michael. The Filioque: A Reply to the Agreed Statement of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation. Feast of St Andrew the First-Called, 2003. Retrieved 12 July 2009. http://www.homb.org/FILIOQUE.pdf. · Azkoul, Rev. Michael. The Filioque: Truth or Trivia? March 21, 1983 Orthodox Christian Witness, St. Nectarios Church, Seattle, Washington. Retrieved 12 July 2009. http://orthodoxyinfo...Azkfilioque.htm. · Farrell, Joseph P. Orthodoxy and the Continuum. Retrieved 12 July 2009. http://www.filioque....continuum1.html. · Filioque Clause Definition. WorldIq. Retrieved 13 July 2009. http://www.wordiq.co...Filioque_clause. · Great Schism. Theopedia. Retrived 30 July 2009. http://www.theopedia.com/Great_schism. · Meyendorff, John. On the Question of the Filioque. In The Orthodox Church, Crestwood, NY, 1981. Retrieved 12 July 2009. http://www.ocf.org/O...g/filioque.html. · Romanides, John S. Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and Doctrine. Retrieved 07 July 2009. http://www.romanity....doctrine.01.htm. · Romanides, John S. Introduction to Romanity, Romania, Roumeli. Retrieved 12 July 2009. http://www.romanity...._roumeli.01.htm. · Romanides, John S. St. Cyril's "One Physis or Hypostasis of God the Logos Incarnate" and Chalcedon. Greek Orthodox Theological Review, vol. X, 2 Winter 1964-65. Retrieved 12 July 2009. http://www.romanity....god_the_log.htm. · Romanides, John S. The Filioque in the Dublin Agreed Statement. September 14, 1987. Retrieved 12 July, 2009. http://www.romanity....ent_1984.01.htm. · The Filioque: A Church-Dividing Issue? An Agreed Statement of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation Saint Paul’s College, Washington, DC. October 25, 2003. Retrieved 12 July 2009. http://www.usccb.org.../filioque.shtml.