Orthodox England

Excerpt from: Volume 10 Issue 2 Date 1st December 2006

From Western Civilization to Filioque Civilization

The eleventh century marks a decisive turning point in European history.

C. Dawson, The Making of Europe, p. 284

Up to the middle of the eleventh century the church history of the West and East constituted a unity.

G. Tellenbach, The Church in Western Europe from the Tenth to the Twelfth Century, p. 24

Europe was born in the second millennium of the Common Era (sic), not the first.

R. I. Moore, The First European Revolution, c.970–1215, p. 1

Ælred and his older contemporaries stood at the beginning of a long history which is just ending, creators of that Western Christendom of whose dissolution we are witnesses ... It may be that ... the long and dramatic chapter in human history entitled ‘Western civilization’ is coming to an end.

C. Morris, The Discovery of the Individual 1050–1200, pp. 167 and 164


The primary aim of any religion must be to prepare us for life in the hereafter. However, the result of such preparation is the transformation of human culture. We can see this very clearly when Orthodox Christianity transformed the pagan Roman Empire, pagan Greek thought, as well as many other pagan cultures, the Syrian, the Persian, the Egyptian, the Celtic, the Germanic and others. The ideas of Plato, Aristotle and many other speculative philosophers and rationalist thinkers were overcome by the Orthodox Faith in both East and West. In the dying words attributed to that lover of paganism, Julian the Apostate, in the fourth century: ‘Thou hast conquered, O Galilean’.
Unfortunately, it can also happen that the Faith is not strong enough to transform human attachment to a particular culture. Then, instead of culture being transformed by the Faith, the Faith is deformed by culture. And, in turn, progress towards our primary aim is affected detrimentally. In other words, an original spiritual revelation becomes earthbound, together with the culture produced by that diverted revelation. This is why there are so many manmade religions. This is precisely what happened in Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and also in the later Western European religion of Roman Catholicism, and the Protestant sects born from it. In all these cases, spiritual values were subordinated to, and so were deformed by, local cultural values. Faith was deformed into an institutional religion, becoming the prisoner of a specific culture.
Thus, the old pagan Emperor-worship of Rome eventually produced Papism – and, through it, clericalism. Though keeping much from the first Orthodox millennium, this new Roman ideology developed during the eleventh century. When exactly this ideology started, it is difficult to say. One expert writes: ‘From this time (the Papacy of Leo IX in 1049) a new spirit enters into the Church’.1 In the words of another historian of the period: ‘The question whether the ground was prepared in the first half of the eleventh century for the changes which took place within the Church in the second half can be answered only cautiously and incompletely’.2 But the same historian also writes: In 1076 the German episcopate accused (Pope) Gregory VII (c.1021–1085) of having ‘arrogated to himself a certain new and unseemly power’,3 indicating that this movement was well under way by that date.
Thus, the West began to accept novelties in the latter half of the eleventh century. This was as long as the Roman Pontifex Maximus, ‘the Vicar of the Son of God’, as they only then began to call him and from whom they deemed the Holy Spirit proceeded, was revered. Cutting itself off from the grace of God, which was still inspiring saints and our understanding of the Orthodox Faith, the new ‘Filioque Civilization’ lost the understanding of the Holy Spirit, of the Holy Trinity, of the Catholicity of the Church, of the sense of the veneration of icons, of the divinization of man, of sacral Church architecture, and so fell into a revived pagan Roman and Greek rationalism, engendering Aristotelian Scholasticism and the ‘Gothicisation’ of the Faith. Christ was subordinated to the pagan Aristotle.
Not knowing in full, and even sometimes rejecting, the theology of the Seventh Œcumenical Council, this new Filioque Civilization also failed to receive the hesychastic understanding of St Symeon the New Theologian in the tenth century, St Gregory Palamas in the fourteenth century, St Paisius of Niamets in the eighteenth century and the host of New Martyrs and Confessors of the twentieth century, whom it does not revere. In so doing, in schizophrenia, it has rejected its own roots, the Orthodoxy of its own saints of the first millennium and all their heritage. Thus, it has opened the way for its final fall into atheism.
Let Orthodox not feel self-satisfied or foolishly superior. Orthodox too can, and do, fall, substituting a culture for the Faith. It has often happened and there are whole swathes of Orthodox who have become cultural captives, subordinating ‘the one thing needful’ to a set of secular, cultural values. As in the case of the First Rome, it was this ‘culturalism’ which brought down both the Second Rome of Constantinople and also the Third Rome of Moscow. It is this spiritual disease which has also produced ‘Orthodox modernism’, groups active in Paris, Helsinki, New York, London and elsewhere, which are cultural captives of secular Western culture. Let us ‘walk circumspectly’ (Eph. 5, 15). ‘There but for the grace of God go we’.


Western historians have conveniently broken up the last two thousand years of Western European history into sections. Ironically, these sections are not historical, but anachronistic. Thus, they speak of the ‘Renaissance’, though the people of that time did not call it that. Thus, they speak of the ‘Middle Ages’ or ‘Gothic’ Architecture, but it was only later that these names were invented by ‘the Renaissance’. No-one in the thirteenth century ever spoke of going to a ‘Gothic’ Cathedral or thought that they lived in the ‘Middle Ages’. Similarly, the period before the last thousand years is by historians termed the ‘Dark Ages’. Yet, no-one living during those long and varied centuries considered that they lived in the ‘Dark Ages’.
Let us turn away from these conventional terms and use a Christian nomenclature. The period before the eleventh century Schism in Western history we shall simply call ‘Western Civilization’, the period after it ‘Filioque Civilization’. In the following brief overview we shall look not at papism itself, or even its allied clericalism, but at the practical, living consequences of the Schism, as they may be seen just after it took place during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. As the distinguished French medievalist, Henri Focillon, wrote over fifty years ago, the seeds of ‘a new age of the world’ were sown in the Year 1000, the true beginning of ‘the Middle Ages’.4 This was the formative period of the curious and unique phenomenon of post-Schism ‘Western Christen-dom’, Filioque Civilization, the existence of which began then and the dissolution of which, according to the above historian, and many others, we are witnessing today.

Filioquist Pietism

Since the cause of the Western Schism was in the Filioque, one of the first visible signs of its consummation was to be in the new attitudes to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Thus, up until the eleventh century, Christ had been seen as a Victor over death through the Cross and Resurrection. We quote as an example of the old pre-Schism Orthodox Christian piety the well-known hymn of St Venantius (Fortunatus) (c.530–610), Pangue, Lingua:

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle,
Sing the ending of the fray;
Now above the Cross, the trophy,
Sound the loud triumphant lay:
Tell how Christ, the world’s Redeemer,
As a Victim won the day.

In the same Orthodox Christian spirit, even in the early eleventh century it was probably Fulbert, Bishop of Chartres (9 1028), who wrote this Easter hymn:

Ye choirs of new Jerusalem,
Your sweetest notes employ,
The Paschal victory to hymn
In strains of holy joy.

How Judah’s Lion burst his chains,
And crushed the serpent’s head;
And brought with him, from death’s domains,
The long-imprisoned dead.

Triumphant in his glory now
His sceptre ruleth all,
Earth, heaven and hell before him bow,
And at his footstool fall.

Thus, for the first millennium the Cross meant victory and Christ was portrayed triumphant on the Cross, the image of divine power. The liturgy of the Old West stressed spiritual kingship and the Triumph of Christ.
In the course of the eleventh century this changed. With the general introduction of the Filioque, openly stating, against our Lord’s own words in the Gospel, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from Christ, and therefore by implication from His human nature also, His human nature became the object of veneration. The human nature of Christ could now be separated from His divine nature and Christ could be portrayed as a suffering, abandoned and dying man. ‘Jesus’, ‘the Man of Sorrows’ could be portrayed wearing a crown of thorns and dead. His face of death could show agony and the onlooking faces of Mary and John around him grief, almost despair. Later in the Middle Ages Christ’s physical wounds would likewise be exaggerated. This was ‘the passion of the humanity of Christ’.5
When exactly this change happened in iconography it is difficult to say. The first few examples come from about the year 1000, but even in the year 1100 there are still many portrayals of the Orthodox Christ the Victor. We must recall that the Western Schism was a slow process. Nevertheless, though tracing back the roots of this Filioquist piety to the first tentative deviations of the Carolingians, a writer like Morris speaks of ‘the marked change’ with the emergence of ‘mediæval or scholastic theology’ ‘during the period 1050–1200’.6 He adds: ‘The movement towards a more inward and compassionate devotion, in which the individual strove imaginatively to share in the pain of his Lord, became really strong in the eleventh century, and in the twelfth it governed much of the thought about the passion’.7 Such personal emotionalism witnesses to a loss of ‘the sense of community and also the immediate sense of God’s presence’.8
This is the beginning of the spiritual illusions, associated with ‘meditation’ and ‘contemplation’ – the despiritualization or, in other words, the intellectualization and emotionalization of the simple Orthodox Faith of the first millennium. Thus, in the Church a distinction such as ‘contemplative’ and ‘active’ monastic life is simply impossible, unthinkable. All prayer is active. This distinction is an invention from this period. Thus, in Ælred of Rievaulx’s Rule for Contemplatives (c.1150), we read: ‘I know that pity now fills your heart, anguish inflames your inward parts’.9 Christ’s divinity is veiled by the portrayal of his humanity, from which it is separated: ‘Why so, my God? So filled with compassion for me Thou showest Thyself a man, and almost seemest to be unaware that Thou art God’.10 Of course, Christ was never unaware that He was God, simply the post-Schism West sometimes thought so.
It was this pietism which eventually dissolved into the sentimentalism of the thirteenth and later centuries. It was this which would lead to the replacement of the Resurrection by the pietism of Good Friday. It was this pietism which would later lead to the unorthodox use of the phrase ‘the imitation of Christ’, as used by a pupil of Abelard in the early twelfth century, but made famous by Thomas a Kempis and other ‘mystics’ in the fourteenth. It would eventually lead to the sentimental worship of Christ the human infant in the crèche: to a morbid devotion to Christ’s wounds and even to the physical organs of Christ’s human body. The external imitation of the humanity of ‘Jesus’ sums up all the delusions of Roman Catholic pietism, called ‘Western spirituality’ or ‘mysticism’. This is not spirituality, but psychic illusion. The true ‘Western spirituality’ is that of the pre-Schism period and can be discovered in the Lives of the Saints of the first millennium in the West.
It is characteristic that it was in the immediate post-Schism period that a new physical position of prayer was adopted. This was the position of feudal homage, kneeling with the hands together, a position which Heterodox now consider to be normal for all, Roman Catholic and Protestant alike. Although this position was only popularised with the Franciscans in the thirteenth century, this transformation of this feudal ceremony was already complete by the twelfth.11 Its importance came about as the liturgy and the Psalter slipped away from piety and the individualism of ‘saying your prayers’, in other words, praying privately in affective meditation, came into vogue.
Like all the unOrthodox innovations of this period, this too was to become a permanent feature of Heterodoxy, even though in reality it is only a late and unBiblical cultural innovation. It set individual pietism against the piety of the community and the sacramental life of the Church, creating the practice of the ‘low mass’, the indvidual priest reciting the mass alone. Eventually, these individual prayers would lead to the individualism of personal interpretation of the Scriptures, the very foundation of Protestantism. It is typical that blinded ethnocentric Heterodoxy, regardless of whether it is Roman Catholicism or Methodism, cannot see beyond such novel practices, in space or time. It seems to refuse to discover the real Christianity and piety of the Gospel, as conserved by some 250 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.
Thus, personal devotion to the dead, ‘crucified Jesus’ began in the eleventh century, even if it were to develop in full only from the twelfth century onwards. As Professor Morris writes: ‘The years between 1050 and 1200 must be seen, for example, as a turning-point in the history of Christian (sic) devotion’.12 Then, we see the pietistic devotions of Anselm of Canterbury
(c.1033–1109) and later the writings of Ælred of Rievaulx (1109–1167). In general there developed then an affection for the ‘historical Jesus’ and autobiographical penitentialism. ‘Since the days of Anselm the God of human sufferings had become an object of tender contemplation’.13
Theologically, this led to the new, feudalised, humanistic atonement theories of Anselm of Canterbury in his Cur Deus Homo of 1098 and, after him, Abelard (9 1142). To us this adoration of the humanity alone of Christ, then of the Mother of God and the saints in the form of the revival of pagan-style statues, seems to us idolatrous. It was indeed this which later tragically led the Protestants to reject the veneration of the Mother of God and the saints altogether, throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water. This became a permanent Western practice, as is evidenced by the results of the Second Vatican Council, which also threw out faith, the precious pre-Schism Orthodox heritage of the first millennium, together with post-Schism bath-water.


The new veneration of Christ’s human nature as a source of the Holy Spirit, resulted in the veneration of the human-being in general, or, as this is now called, humanism. Humanism came to mean the respect for ‘human dignity’, human possibilities, human self-expression and self-awareness, eventually of ‘human rights’. Thus the new humanists used terms ‘rare in the eleventh century, but very common in the twelfth’: ‘The dignity of the mind is its capacity to know all things’. ‘We who have been endowed by nature with genius must seek through philosophy the stature of our primeval nature’. For ‘the greatest triumph of mediæval humanism was to make God seem human’. ‘There is little evidence that these concepts (of natural nobility and of reason and intelligible order in the universe) played an important part in medieval experience before about 1050’.14 The twelfth century and the decades preceding it have over and over again been seen as the period of the development of this humanism.
Thus, academics such as the ground-breaking Haskins, then Dawson, Bolgar, Southern and Knowles all viewed it is a humanistic age.15 Of course, at that early period, writers still understood the human-being as inseparable from God, not as in the humanism of the thirteenth or fifteenth centuries, let alone as in modern humanism. Nevertheless, the roots of modern humanism are here. As Bolgar wrote some fifty years ago, in the twelfth century we discern, ‘for the first time the lineaments of modern man’.16
This humanism was based on the writings of the pagan Romans and, later, the pagan Greeks, not on the writings of the Church Fathers. Indeed, thinkers of this period began to read Fathers such as St Ambrose, St John Cassian and Blessed Augustine in the fourth and fifth centuries only for their classical references and not for their Christian content. These Fathers had long before assimilated and transfigured the pagan rationalist heritage; this was not the case of their readers in the late eleventh century.
Hence the popularity of the pagan, rather than Christian, influences in the work of Severinus Boethius (c.480–524) The Consolation of Philosophy. Thus, the works of the pagan Ovid, for example, played a particular role in the development of so-called ‘romantic’ literature of the period of Chretien de Troyes in the last half of the twelfth century. Virgil was imitated for his Latin style and similarly, the humanistic works of Cicero and Seneca were read for their emphasis on friendship and self-examination. Indeed, Ælred of Rievaulx based his famous treatise on friendship on Cicero. This contrasted totally with the previous attitude ‘during the tenth and the greater part of the eleventh centuries’.17
The interest in ‘humanity’ in itself, rather than in God and man, was one of the dominant traits of twelfth-century literature and thought. As Professor Morris remarks in his work, the word humanitas itself had previously been used to refer to human frailty and sinfulness. In the twelfth century, it came to mean human dignity.18 This was the beginning of seeing man as autonomous from God. The same author also writes: ‘For the Church in general the period from 1050 to 1150 was one of great and far-reaching reconstruction and reform, but scarcely any of these reforms increased the sense of community’.19
Two examples of this lack of community can be seen in Church life. Firstly, there is the fact that the collective act of holy communion had become rare (indeed the laity were by then altogether deprived of the Blood of Christ). The piety of communion was replaced by personal pietistic devotions. Secondly, there is the fact that Western bishops could no longer be judged by Synods of colleagues, but by an individual, the Pope of Rome. People were not to be judged by the community, but by an individual.


The humanism of the new Western world thus led to one of its most important future characteristics, already hinted at above – individualism. Although we tend to think of individualism as beginning with the Protestant Reformation and only then leading to today’s post-Protestant atomised society, in fact it first appeared at the end of the eleventh century. Thus Professor Morris writes: ‘The discovery of the individual was one of the most important cultural developments in the years between 1050 and 1200’.20
Theologically, individualism is opposed to the Christian concept of the Person, which has its origins in Christian theology. For example, Trinitarian theology states that the three Persons of the Holy Trinity are indivisibly, but without confusion, united in the One Essence of Trinitarian Life. There is a balance here between the Person and the Essence, thus between the individual and society. Since the Trinitarian theology of Western Christendom has been defective and unbalanced ever since the introduction of the filioque into its Creed at the turn of the first millennium, there should be no surprise that individualism developed in the West.
Thus, Professor Walter Ullmann in his book The Individual in Medieval Society, rightly traces individualism back well into the twelfth century. Speaking of the importance of the individual in the post-Schism West, another Western academic has said: ‘Western individualism is far from expressing the common experience of humanity. Taking a world view, one might almost regard it as an eccentricity among cultures’.21 And again: ‘The idea of the individual person as of supreme worth is fundamental to the moral, political and religious ideals of our society’.22 As we have said, this emphasis on the individual character is typical not only of the Protestant West, but in fact goes much further back to mediæval individuals, Anselm of Canterbury, Francis of Assisi (1181–1226) and a host of ‘mystics’ with their individual, but not ecclesial, experiences.
Today, we note that this individualism is coming to an end, as society heads towards the totalitarian model of a World State, into which individuals will be absorbed as mere barcoded numbers into a giant collective computer memory. The much-vaunted ‘self-expression’ of modern society is in fact a result of the conditioning of the modern media. Individuals do express themselves – but only in the forms dictated to them by the manipulative marketing mechanisms allowed by governments, which ever more collude together.


In terms of society, the individualism which developed at this time engendered the culture of feudalism, which was based on the individual relationship between a man and his lord. As a symbol of individual power, already, even at the very end of the tenth century, some primitive wooden castle-like structures had appeared in northern France, but feudalism as such developed from about 1000 on.23 Even before 1066, in 1050 Norman supporters of the half-Norman King Edward in England had begun building the first castles here. By the end of the eleventh century castle-building was in stone and widespread.24 The twelfth century saw these oppressive symbols and realities as normal and commonplace. This was the age of cavalry, of knights, who inspired fear among those under them – their serfs.
The feudal age was the age of the Franks, as any Western European, from the Middle East to Ireland, who had taken on the Frankish military ethos was called.25. It was in northern France that all the facets of feudal culture first developed, in an area within 200 miles of Paris – the new ‘Babylon’.26 The ‘twelfth-century renaissance’ was ‘The French Renaissance’. It was here at St Denis under Abbot Suger that Gothic Architecture developed from about 1120, it was here that schools developed and Paris became the centre of philosophers and dialecticians.
Paris was also the centre where secular literature and the chansons de geste developed. Chretien de Troyes (Troyes is also in northern France) wrote his aristocratic romances of chivalry and adultery here, with their pagan origins of ‘immoralism’.27 It was here that new monastic orders such as Cistercianism grew up, breaking the old monopoly of Western monasticism. Feudal fragmentation and individualism began with individual setting up their own orders, named after their founders or the places where they lived: Cistercianism, Carthusianism, Premonstratensian-ism and later, among others, Dominicanism and Franciscanism.
The glorification of the violence of this knightly caste of feudal despots went hand in hand with the development of individual ‘courtly’ love, as described by the troubadors. Although they began writing under Moorish influence in the south of France in the late eleventh century, their influence rapidly moved northwards from Languedoc towards Limoges in central France and from there to northern France. Count William of Poitiers and Ebles of Ventadour (both active in c.1100) are early examples. These writings were in fact the glorification of sex. So began the Western cult of violence and sex, which was carried on throughout Western history into the twentieth century with its cowboy films (‘Westerns’), describing the genocide of the native Americans, and popular cults of gangsters such as Bonnie and Clyde or the contemporary televised soap sagas relating much the same.


If feudal society developed now, so also did intellectualism.28 This was the development of the individual intellect and was carried out by individual ‘schoolmen’, who forged their reputations all through Western Europe. Although, following the partial and half-failed introduction of the filioque in the Carolingian period, rationalistic individuals had already appeared, such as Alcuin (c.735–804), Claudius of Turin, Felix of Urgel, Gottschalk, Raban Maur (c.776–856), then Erigena, and later, around the year 1000, Gerbert of Aurillac (Pope Sylvester II), they were exceptions. In the second half of the eleventh century, they began to become the norm and monks no longer ‘wanted to seek God’, but to ‘discuss Him’.29
Learning left the communities of monasteries and went to the individual masters of cathedral schools and from there to the new institutions known as universities, in Bologna and Paris and, from there, Oxford. The new vogue study was not pure theology, but rationalism, philosophy and law. For the new Western Christendom did not now need a Church, but rather rationalists, speculative philosophers and a civil service of lawyers. As the Roman Catholic thinker Dawson has written: ‘In the past the spiritual unity of Christendom had been realized in a common faith and a common moral and ascetic discipline ... It was only with the rise of the universities that Western culture acquired that new intellectual and scientific discipline on which its later achievements were dependent’.30 The same writer states that ‘the earlier medieval culture and that of the Byzantine (sic) Empire were so closely akin.30 This was no longer the case by the end of the eleventh century.
As we have said above, Paris, Chartres, Laon and altogether some twenty cathedral schools between the Loire and the Somme, which had had a continuous history since the mid-eleventh century, became the centres for the schoolmen.31 There were not only Frenchmen like Marbod of Angers, Bishop of Rennes (1035–1123), Baudri of Bourgueil (1046–1130), Guibert of Nogent (born in 1053), Hildebert of Lavardin, Archbishop of Tours (1056–1133), Bernard of Chartres (9 1126), Anselm of Laon, William of Saint Thierry, Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153) or Peter of Blois (c.1130–1212) (all towns in northern France), but in the twelfth century they came from all corners of Western Europe: John of Salisbury from England, Abelard from Brittany, Anselm from Aosta in Italy and Peter Lombard from Lombardy. Similarly, French ideas of humanism were taken out from France. For instance, Cistercianism spread very rapidly from Citeaux, for example, to Ælred (1109–1167) in the French-named Rievaulx in distant Yorkshire. Indeed, Ælred was urged to write his first book when he visited Bernard at Clairvaux in France.
Generally, these figures trusted in the power of human reason, logic and dialectic – none more so than the tragic figure of Abelard, who was to be castrated for his lust. Here already in the twelfth century, in a sort of schizophrenia, there opened the chasm between Christianity and humanism, Faith and rationalism, the Church and the West, Christian spirituality and Western culture. Such figures as Abelard, with their arrogant vanity and individualistic logic, unconsciously stopped thinking in a Christian way. It is no surprise that official Roman Catholic teachings on the atonement (established first by Anselm of Canterbury [c.1033–1109]), purgatory, the seven sacraments and transubstantiation all grew up in the twelfth century. Before, they had simply not existed.
The philosophers of this age seemed to have fallen away from the mind of the Church. Instead, they looked only at individuals in the spirit of their autonomous human reasonings. This was the age of the first ‘isms’. Thus, they took certain thoughts of the individual Blessed Augustine out of the Church Patristic context and made them into Augustianism. This was a doctrine at odds with that of the Church – indeed it was much later to become the basis of Calvinist heresy. Little wonder that it was in the 1020s, as we show below, that the first heresies appeared – in northern France of course. From this time on, especially in the 1060s and 1070s heretical movement made their appearance in Western Europe, as they never had done before, at least since the time of Arius and Pelagius.


The ‘new institutional and cultural uniformity’ imposed by Rome ‘from around 1050’32 led to corruption. The abuses in Western Christendom which had developed as a result of the new Papist ideology which had led to the break with the Orthodox Church were cruelly satirized from the late eleventh century on. Professor Morris writes: ‘In the course of the eleventh century the tradition of monastic world-renunciation gave birth to a series of violent attacks upon the corruption of the Church’.33 ‘Their subject-matter (above all the corruptions of the Church) (sic) is substantially new; and so is the sense of evil as a cosmic tragedy’.34 (When the Professor writes ‘the Church’, he means of course the emerging Roman Catholic hierarchy and institution – not ‘the Church’, as it had been understood in the past). The alienation expressed in satire illustrated the corrupt ambition of those who wished to ‘reform’ the Church, by making it into an all-powerful, cæsaropapist State.
Thus, there began with Peter Damian (1007–1072) a tradition of satire which went into the twelfth century with Bernard of Clairvaux. This carried over into Gilbert Foliot’s satire of Thomas à Becket of Canterbury in his letter Multiplicem and eventually on into the fourteenth century with, for instance, Chaucer and Langland in England. The new Roman Catholicism that they mocked was indeed in essence worldly, managed not by saints, but by lawyers and marked by their financial exactions. As the more traditional and somewhat ‘old-fashioned’ Bernard of Clairvaux wrote in 1150: ‘Now the pastor’s seat is turned into a tribunal’.35 The law of Christ had been abandoned in favour of the law of man; from about 1140 on Jerusalem was replaced by Bologna.
The resulting alienation spread more and more deeply as time went on. One of its best-known representatives was Walter of Chatillon, employed by Henry II in England, who wrote from 1160 on. In 1190 he died, symbolically, a leper. He bitterly attacked ‘the heirs of Gratian’, in other words those whose legalism now dominated Western Christianity. His understanding of the corruption in the Church was such that his only hope was the second coming of Christ, for in such conditions surely Antichrist was near:

I would rather die than see
Antichrist’s ascendancy,
And his first advances
Now within the Temple stand,
There in an unholy band
Raking in finances.36

Other blasphemous parodies of the age included The Gospel of the Silver Mark, in which a dying Pope bequeathes: ‘As you have grasped, so grasp ye also’; the very popular Revelation of Golias with its portrayal of money-grubbing senior clergy; or the tract on the relics of the martyrs Silver and Gold (Albinus and Rufinus)36, which ends: ‘In churches, in councils, in assemblies, in kingdoms, in cities, in territories, in palaces, in towers, on the land, on the sea, everywhere we triumph, we reign, rule, seduce, rob, rape, betray, extort, deceive, defraud and cheat’.37 ‘Blessed are the wealthy, for theirs is the Court of Rome’, as it also wrote.38 Gerhoh of Reichersberg (1093–1169) wrote of ‘Jewish and pagan avarice that reigns in the very Kingdom of Christ’.39
This was no longer ‘the Age of Faith’, as the period of saints between the fifth and tenth centuries is often known. This is altogether a new world, where saints and miracle-workers were replaced by the ‘wizardry’ of lawyers and the ‘wonders’ of financiers, a ‘Church’ institution, not a Church, a mere religion, not a Faith. The ideals of the Church had been betrayed by the very people who should have defended them. It is difficult indeed to understand those who idealize the Western Middle Ages as an ‘Age of Faith’. The lowly preacher of Nazareth and the humble fishermen of Galilee have nothing in common with the elaborate machinery and intrigues of the Rome of this age. No wonder that all this would later end in the Protest of the Reformation.


The starting point for the Orthodox Christian towards the heretic can be found in the Scriptures: ‘Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness’ (Gal. 6, 1). Although the later Roman Empire from the fourth century on, for political reasons, did not always treat heretics in this way, the Church nevertheless kept to the basis of Love. Thus, in the East St John Chrysostom deemed the death sentence unacceptable and, at virtually the same time, in the West Blessed Augustine declared that he would rather die himself than be the cause of death of another. Later, in the eighth century, the iconoclast Claudius of Turin destroyed icons without punishment and the adoptianist Felix of Urgel, Bishop of Lyon, preached with impunity. In 849 the monk Gottschalk, a predestinationist or proto-Calvinist, escaped with a light physical punishment, after being declared a heretic at the Council of Choisy.
The first signs of a new attitude came, as might be expected, under Charlemagne. However, he acted outside the Church, taking civil action against paganism and other disorders and his punishments were relatively light. As regards his massacre of the Saxons – baptism or the sword – nobody would seriously blame the Church for these barbarian attitudes. Indeed, he was strongly opposed in this by his English adviser Alcuin, who followed in the tradition of St Boniface, the Enlightener of the Germans.
The real turning point came in the eleventh century, when the hierarchy of what once was the Church took over the role of the State.
Although this took place under the notorious German Pope Gregory VII, Hildebrand, (c.1021–1085) in the last half of the eleventh century, it was presaged by a few isolated acts in the first half of the eleventh century. These have been chronicled in detail by the academic expert on this period of persecution, R. I. Moore, who points out that the first burnings at the stake for heresy took place in Orleans (northern France again) in 1022.40 Nevertheless, Tellenbach has written: ‘Between the end of the ninth century and the decisive events of the eleventh there were hardly any deeply divisive conflicts within Christianity’.41
The fact is that, as Moore says, ‘the eleventh and twelfth centuries saw what has turned out to be a permanent change in Western society’.42 Violence began not only towards heretics, but also to lepers, homosexuals and the Jews. The old tolerance was lost,43 as centralized Rome imposed its new ideology on everyone. ‘The Jews had lived fairly peacefully in Europe for several centuries protected by rulers, including the Popes, who needed their services. But towards the end of the eleventh century, riots and violence began to be increasingly common’.44 ‘The long agony of European Jewry has certainly its direct and major causes in events that took place in Western society in and around these two centuries’.45 The violence was also of course against whole races. Thus, using the Normans as its shock-troops, Sicily suffered from the new Papacy first, then England in 1066, then the Middle East with the Crusades and then the Celtic peoples of the British Isles. Thus, a foremost French academic has written of the Norman Invasion of 1066: ‘It was for the Normans of Normandy ... to establish for ever in England a Western order’.46
The fact is that what began in the eleventh and twelfth centuries was a repression of protest. And protest could only come about when there was something to protest at – the corruption which we have described above. This was protest at the worldliness of the new Roman Catholicism, a regret for the now absent Church and Her Spirit. It would take only a few steps to go from such persecutions of protestors in the eleventh and twelfth centuries to the thirteenth century and its barbaric massacres by Roman Catholicism of the Cathars: ‘The mass or death’, as the magistrate of Pamiers offered his Cathar prisoners. Then the Inquisition developed, especially in Spain. This was eventually to be led by the notorious Torquemada, who burned thousands alive and atrociously tortured tens of thousands. The horrors of the Spanish Inquisition also shaped the morbid aspects of Spanish culture, obsessed with death and the human body. These cultural reflexes can also be found for the same reasons in the south-west of France and parts of Italy.
The end was inevitable. Indelibly stained by crimes, Roman Catholicism elicited protests which came to a head at the Reformation. Then Roman Catholicism split into hundreds of warring and intolerant aggressive protesting sects. Wars of ‘Religion’ continued and even in the twentieth century Roman Catholicism continued its crimes in Spain under Franco, in Croatia under Pavelic, massacring its way into the history books. The words ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone’ had been forgotten. Unsurprisingly, modernity, outraged and disgusted by ‘religion’, Roman Catholic or Protestant, turned to Godlessness. But the beginning of it all was in the eleventh century, when Western Heterodox Christianity broke away from the Church and began its long spiritual decline into systematic worldliness.


Above, we have picked out some of the main developments of the period immediately following the eleventh century Western Schism. We have illustrated them with the comments of many of the most respected historians of the period. What can we say of the developments after the late eleventh and twelfth centuries? How did Western society get from there to the present day?
The first gap that separates modern society from this early Filioque period is the Thomist Scholasticism of the thirteenth century.47 This finally turned the earlier theological speculation (already one step away from pure theology) into mere philosophy. It was then that the Schoolmen, combining the uncombinable, Christ with the pagan Aristotle, created the possibility of a secular outlook, distinguishing between grace and nature, revelation and reason. This is ‘the story of the penetration of natural reason into the domain of revelation’.48 From this point on, humanity could be seen either as destined to be with God or as ‘natural’. From the thirteenth century on, the objective study of an autonomous natural order by an autonomous human reason was possible, as was the concept of a purely secular State. A world without Faith was becoming the inevitable Western destiny.
However, this stage in the spiritual degeneration of the West would not have been possible without the developments which preceded it in the immediate post-Schism period. For it was then that the focus shifted from God towards the separated human nature of Christ and from there towards the relationship between God and man and between men themselves, the relationship which is called humanism. The new focus on individual experience, self-knowledge, friendship and human affections, psychology and autobiography were the first movements towards the study of man without God. It was from there, by the ineluctable logic of the passing of the centuries, that modern, Godless, Western society with its cult of ‘the death of God’ was able to evolve:
From Orthodoxy in the West in the Year 1000 to the first fruits of Filioquism, from Thomism to the Renaissance (of paganism), from the Reformation to the spiritual darkness of the ‘Enlightenment’, from the violence of the Industrial and French Revolutions to ‘modern times’. On the subject of these ‘modern times’, we are reminded how in the 1930s the Hindu thinker Mahatma Gandhi was asked by a British journalist what he thought of ‘Western Civilization’. He replied: ‘I think it is a very good idea’. What he did not know was that although Western Civilization is today certainly an excellent idea, in the first millennium it actually existed – before being usurped by Filioque Civilization in the course of the eleventh century. As one of the academics has said: ‘This period was made a turning point in European history, the period when, for better or for worse, the continuous history of modern European society and achievement begins’.49
Some years after Gandhi’s visit to London in the 1930s, there were to come to light the full horrors of Communism and Fascism, the industrial genocide of the concentration camp and the Atomic Bomb. Of this last development the French naturalist and explorer, Theodore Monod (1902–2000), concluded: ‘The Christian (sic) era ended on 6 August 1945 at Hiroshima’. Regarding Western Heterodox Christianity, torn away from its European Orthodox Christian roots of the first millennium by the Filioque heresy behind the eleventh-century Schism, he was right. Thus, the present Western, and so world, tragedy has come about. And it is this Western tragedy that will lead to the destruction of the world by anti-Christic forces; but also to the Second Coming of Christ and the inevitable Victory of the Church.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Fr Andrew
Anjou, France
St Stephen, Pope of Rome, Martyr
2/15 August 2006

1. Brooke, p.27
2. Tellenbach, CWE, p. 135
3. Tellenbach, ibid., p. 307
4. Focillon, p.126
5. Dawson, ME, p.110
6. Morris, DOI, p. 139
7. Ibid., p. 140
8. Ibid., p. 151
9. Bolgar, p. 188
10. Focillon, pp. 96–7
11. Morris, DOI, p. 0
12. Ibid., p. 12
13. Southern, MH, p. 36
14. Southern, ibid., pp. 32 and 37–40
15. Dawson, RRWC, p. 222. Also: Southern, MH, p. 32–33 and 37–40
16. Dumont, p. 104
17. Ibid., p. 134
18. Morris, DOI, p. 142
19. Ibid., p. 160
20. Ibid., p. 158
21. Ibid., p. 2
22. Downie and Telfer, p. 9
23. Delort, pp. 43, 49, 100–105 and 110
24. For statistics see Moore, FER, p. 48
25. Bartlett, pp. 95, 102 and 105
26. Le Goff pp. 24–25
27. Dawson, ME, p. 215
28. Le Goff esp pp 9–14 and Southern, MH, p. 40
29. Tellenbach, CWE, p. 321
30. Dawson, RRWC, pp. 228–229
31. Dawson, RRWC, p. 220. Also Southern, MH, p. 162–3.
32. Bartlett, p. 251
33. Morris, DOI, p. 123
34. Ibid., p. 159
35. Wright, p. 41
36. Quoted in Morris, DOI, p. 128
37. Ibid., p. 129
38 Southern, MME, p. 147–148
39. Quoted in Dawson, RRWC, p. 248
40. Moore, FPS, pp. 13 and 15
41. Tellenbach CWE, p. 22
42. Moore, FPS, p. 5
43. Tellenbach, CWE, p. 305
44. Southern MH, p. 11
45. Moore, FPS, pp. 88–89
46. Focillon, p. 114
47. Dawson, ME, pp. 150–151
48. Southern, MH, p. 46
49. Moore, FPS. p. 152


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