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A Critique of the Balamand Agreement

by Fr. John Romanides

I. Introduction

1) Representatives of nine Orthodox Churches signed an agreement with representatives of the Vatican contained in a document entitled, "Uniatism, method of union of the past, and the present search for full communion." This was produced by members of the Orthodox-Vatican Dialogue at their VIIth Plenary Session 17-24 June 1993 at Balamand, Lebanon.

2) Six Orthodox Churches did not send representatives. Some boycotted this meeting in protest against the Vatican's anti-Orthodox and anti-Moslem responsibilities for the war in Bosnia, and other anti-Orthodox actions in parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Some Orthodox Churches have come to realize the Vatican's centuries old "pattern" or "tactic" of "simultaneous war and dialogue" which it had transformed in the 1960s into "simultaneous attacks of Love and dialogue in public" and "underhanded activities in private."

3) The classic example of this earlier tactic was the dialogue between the Franco-Latins and the Roman Orthodox at Bari, Italy, in 1098. The Franco-Latins had just completed the expulsion of the Roman Orthodox from the Papacy in 1009/12-1046. This was followed up by William the Conqueror's capture of England in 1066 and by his appointment of the Lombard Lanfranc as the first Franco-Latin Archbishop of Canterbury with the blessings of the Lombard Pope Alexander II in 1070. Lanfranc and his Franco-Latin bishops got their apostolic succession by dismissing all their Celtic and Saxon predecessors en masse(1). They condemned them as heretics and schismatics and sentenced them to prison for life where they were tortured and starved to death(2). Lanfranc's successor in 1093 was the Lombard Anselm of Canterbury who was the chief exponent of the Franco-Latin positions at the above mentioned 1098 dialogue meeting at Bari.

4) No longer able to use this type of medieval military power, which it was still using openly up to the French Revolution, the Vatican learned by the middle of this century to attack in public by means of "love and dialogue" and "underhanded activities in reality." Thus the sincerity of the Vatican's public "love" and "dialogue," imposed upon it by the modern spread of democracy, is in need of much more substantiation to become convincing. Even the Bosnian Moslems have learned this by tragic experience after their prayer session with the Pope himself.

II. The so-called Schism (3)

5) Behind this agreement are Latin specialists familiar with modern research on the military, political and social nature of the schism with the East Romans which the Franks and their allies deliberately provoked. Doctrine played the role of the chief Franco-Latin weapon against the East Romans who had provoked revolts among the West Romans against Teutonic oppression (4). Of course the Balamand Latins had no need to touch upon this kind of research.

6) Ignoring the above, the Orthodox at Balamand accommodated the Latins by joining them in using the context of medieval Franco-Latin propaganda about the schism with a more or less Orthodox content, a combination which had been dominating Orthodox schools for a long time.

7) This agreement thus avoids the implications of the fact that since the 7th century the Franco-Latins usually received their apostolic succession by exterminating their West Roman, Celtic and Saxon predecessors having reduced the West Romans to serfs and villeins of Frankish Feudalism. This happened not only in Gaul, but also in North Italy, Germany, England, South Italy, Spain and Portugal.

8) The birth of Frankish Civilization is described in a letter of St. Boniface to Pope Zacharias (natione Graecus(5)) in 741. The Franks had rid the Church in Francia of all Roman bishops by 661 and had made themselves its bishops and clerical administrators. They had divided up the Church's property into fiefs which had been doled out as benefices according to rank within the pyramid of military vassalage. These Frankish bishops had no Archbishop and had not met in Synod for eighty years. They had been meeting as army officers with their fellow war-lords. They are, in the words of St. Boniface, "voracious laymen, adulterous clergy and drunkards, who fight in the army fully armed and who with their own hands kill both Christians and pagans." (6)

9) Already in 794 and 809 the Franks had condemned the East Romans as "heretics" and "Greeks," at the councils of Frankfurt and Aachen, in other words some 260 years before the so-called schism of 1054. The Franks had begun calling the East Romans by the names "Greeks" and "heretics" in order that the enslaved West Romans may gradually forget their fellow-Romans in the East.

10) The Franks then also split the Greek speaking and Latin speaking Roman Fathers into so-called Latin and Greek Fathers and attached themselves to the so-called Latin ones. They thus created the illusion that their Franco-Latin tradition is part of an unbroken and continuous tradition with the Latin speaking Roman Fathers. Because the enslaved West Romans had become the serfs and villeins of Franco-Latin feudalism they stopped producing Church leaders and Fathers and all but a few recorded saints.

11) During 1009-1046 the Franco-Latins completed their expulsion of the Orthodox Romans from the Church of Old Rome and finally replaced them with themselves, thus inventing today's Papacy.

12) The 8th century Franks began their anti-Roman heresy hunting on the questions of Icons and the Filioque when they were illiterate barbarians. The then Roman popes protested. But they did not yet condemn the Franks. They imagined that they would eventually prevail upon the Franks like one does with stubborn children. Little did the Romans of Old and New Rome suspect that the Franks were deliberately provoking the schism between themselves and the free Romans as part of their permanent defensive strategy against the East Roman Empire and their own plans for world dominion.

13) The Roman popes had no choice but to tolerate Frankish tyranny in the interest of alleviating their enslaved fellow West Romans and of guaranteeing their own freedom and that of the Roman citizens of the Papal States.

14) But Roman Pope John VIII took part in the 8th Ecumenical Council of 879 in New Rome which condemned the Frankish heresies on icons and the Filioque, without however naming the heretics for fear of reprisals. (7)

15) With the appearance of the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals by 850 the Roman Popes began to feel strong enough to aggressively demand that the Frankish leadership accept civilized standards of behavior. But these efforts finally backfired. The Franco-Latins reacted forcefully to the popularity of these Decretals by expelling the Romans from their political and Church leadership in Rome and the Papal States. The Franco-Latins began their final attack on the freedom and Romanity of the Papacy in 973-1003 and completed the subjugation of the Roman Papacy and the freedom of the Papal States between 1009 and 1046.(8) Thereafter the Popes are all members of the Franco-Latin nobility who use the name Roman Pope and Roman Papacy in order that the West Romans may continue to believe that they still had a Roman Pope.

16) From all the above it should be clear that the fixing of the date of the schism in 1054, within the fabricated distinction between "Greek East" and "Latin West," is not correct. The schism was between the Franco-Latins and the West and East Romans. 1054 was only one of the later manifestations of a schism which had already existed from the time the Franks decided in 794 to provoke the schism with the so-called "Greeks" for political reasons. The Church of Old Rome fought heroically to remain united to New Rome up to 1009.

17) From 809 onward the Franks never deviated from their position that the East Romans, i.e their Greeks, are heretics. Up to 1009 the Church of Old Rome vigorously resisted this deliberate Frankish policy which was finally imposed by force.

18) That this tradition continued into the middle of the 20th century was so evident during this writer's youth. In Latin books on Apologetics the Orthodox were vehemently described as heretics and without saints. Evidently this was due to the Filioque controversy which broke out in earnest prior to the Eight Ecumenical Council of 879. So supposedly the Orthodox had no Fathers of the Church after St. John of Damascus (circa 675-749) and St. Theodore of Studium (759-826). (9)

19) But the Franco-Latins and their Papacy continued their conquests accompanied by the extermination and/or expulsion of the Orthodox bishops and abbots and the reduction of the faithful to the status of serfs and villeins by completely taking over their properties. This the Moslem conquerors, neither Arab nor Turk, never did.

20) But even up to early part of this 20th century the Vatican was still doing its thing. In 1923 Italy took possession of the Dodecanese ( The Twelve) Islands from Turkey. The Orthodox bishops were re-placed by Tuscano-Frank and Lombard bishops, who since 1870 were posing as Italians. The Vatican hoped that the Orthodox faithful would accept clergy ordained by these Vatican bishops or else be left without sacraments. The situation changed when Greece took possession of these Islands. The exiled Orthodox bishops returned under the oversight of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople.

21) But then the Vatican made an about face and produced Vatican II's unilateral recognition of Orthodox sacraments. The question remains: Is this transformation from War to Love real? Or is it still the love of the wolf now dressed up in sheep's clothing out to catch its traditional prey? The Vatican's invasion of Orthodox countries with so many clerics hunting for prey seems to speak for itself.

22) What the Vatican is doctrinally up to will depend on what it will do with all its Ecumenical Councils. At least on the primacy and the infallibility of the pope Vatican II continues to maintain that it is a matter of divine revelation and not of cannon law.

III. Ecclesiology

23) Neither from the 7th century till 1054, nor since, have the Franco-Latin bishops and popes have had the slightest knowledge of, or interest in, the cure of the human personality via the purification and illumination of the heart and glorification (theosis). They still have a magical understanding of apostolic succession which many Orthodox have also have been accepting since the so-called reforms of Peter the Great.

24) The Balamand agreement is also based on an interpretation of our Lord's prayer in John 17 which is not part of the Patristic tradition. Christ prays here that His disciples and their disciples may in this life become one in the vision of His glory (which He has by nature from the Father) when they become members of His Body, the Church, which would be formed on Pentecost and whose members were to be the illuminated and glorified in this life. The Old Testament prophets saw in their own glorification the pre-incarnate Lord of Glory. Likewise the disciples had seen Christ's uncreated glory which He has by nature from His Father up to and before Pentecost, but not as members of His Body. Pentecostal glorification (theosis) was part of the Old and New Testament Church's becoming the Body of Christ. Thus this final form of glorification constitutes the core of the history of the Body of Christ which is the real core of Church history. Christ's prayer in John 17 is for the fulfillment of His Old and New Testament prophecies, teachings and promises, especially those recorded in John's Gospel and especially in 16:13. This final glorification is what is repeated in the life of each of the saints in history and which can neither be added to nor improved upon, especially since this experience transcends words and concepts, even those of the Bible. This is how the Fathers understand this prayer.

25) This prayer is not for the union of the members of the Body of Christ with those who are not in the states of purification, illumination and glorification (theosis). Of course this prayer implies the entry into these states of cure by non-members of the body of Christ, but it is certainly not a prayer for the union of churches. That John 17 can be applied to Churches which have not the slightest understanding of glorification (theosis) and how to arrive at this cure in this life is very interesting, to say the least.

26) This agreement takes advantage of those naive Orthodox who have been insisting that they are a "Sister" Church of a Vatican "Sister" Church, as though glorification (theosis) can have a sister otherwise than herself. The Orthodox at Balamand fell into their own trap since this presupposes the validity of Latin sacraments. This is a strange phenomenon indeed since the Latins never believed that glorification in this life is the foundation of apostolic succession and the mysteries (sacraments) of and within the Body of Christ. Even today the Latins and the Protestants translate 1 Cor. 12:26 as "honored" instead of "glorified."

27) But Vatican II had also set its trap of unilaterally recognizing Orthodox mysteries (sacraments) into which the Balamand Orthodox fell according to plan.

28) More important than the validity of mysteries is the question of who participates in them. Glorification is God's will for all, both in this life and in the next life. But God's glory in Christ is eternal life for those who are properly cured and prepared. But this same uncreated glory of Christ is eternal fire for those who refuse to be cured. The one group is glorified and the other becomes forever happy in their selfishness like the "actus purus god" they believe in. In other words everyone will be saved. Some will be saved by their participation in glorification and in all the Truth. The rest will be saved by knowledge of all the truth which for them will be the vision of Christ's uncreated glory as eternal fire and outer darkness. This is the state of actus purus happiness for which they strived for all their lives. In other words mysteries can be valid and not participated in at the same time. Thus, as important as valid mysteries are, one's participation in these mysteries leading to purification and illumination of the heart, and glorification in this life—the central reality of the mysteries—is also essential. This holds true for non-Orthodox and Orthodox equally.

29) It would seem that the Orthodox may legitimately and dutifully wish and hope out of love that Latin and Protestant mysteries are indeed valid and efficacious, but leave the matter in the hands of God. But to pronounce them valid, 1) when the Latins do not accept glorification (theosis) in this life as the central core of apostolic tradition and succession and 2) when they believe instead that happiness is one's final end, is indeed strange. One does not need valid mysteries in order to become eternally happy.

30) Franco-Latin official teachings on the mysteries have been historically not only un-Orthodox, but anti-Orthodox. On this most Protestants agree in principle with the Orthodox, i.e. that communicated saving grace is uncreated. The Latin heresy that communicated grace is created has not yet been rejected by the Vatican.

IV. The raison d' etre of Uniatism ceases to exist

31) The representatives of the Vatican proposed this captioned position and the Orthodox at Balamand accepted it. However, the Orthodox at Balamand were supposedly specialists who knew that this proposal was made within the context of both the Latin dogma about the pope and officially also within the context of all the Vatican's Ecumenical Councils. But an Orthodox position on this question is not evident from this agreement. Therefore, the impression is created that the Orthodox, at least implicitly, accepted the Latin dogma about the pope and that of all the Vatican's Ecumenical Councils.

32) At the time of Vatican II the New York Times had announced on its title page that the schism between the Orthodox and the Vatican had supposedly ended. This was due to the fact that the Latins understood the lifting of the anathemas of 1054 as a lifting of the excommunication. Constantinople lifted, as it seems, only anathemas. For the Latins this was in keeping with Vatican II on the validity of Orthodox mysteries. This made it possible for Latins to take communion at Orthodox Churches and, according to the Latins, vice versa. The Orthodox had difficulties refusing communion to Latins and the Vatican temporarily suspended the practice.

33) This Balamand agreement has been accepted by the representatives of nine out of 14 Orthodox Churches but not yet by their Synods nor by a Pan-Orthodox Council. In the mean time the Vatican may once again encourage Latins and Uniates to take communion at Orthodox Churches while encouraging the Orthodox to do likewise. The very fact that the Orthodox at Balamand have extended full recognition to Latin mysteries means that the impression could be easily created that only bigotry could be the reason for refusing inter-communion and con-celebration.

34) It is also possible that the pope at some point may desist from appointing a successor to at least one of his current Uniate Archbishops or even Patriarchs and put his local Uniate faithful under the spiritual leadership of the local Orthodox Archbishop or Patriarch as a trial test.

35) Since at least 1975 the WCC has been carefully and very successfully cultivating the image of the Orthodox as lacking Christian love for refusing communion to others. A likely refusal of the Orthodox to accept Uniates under one of their Archbishops or Patriarchs may become part of a similar practice of picturing the Orthodox as indeed bigots, especially since in this case they would be refusing communion to and con-celebration with clergy whose mysteries they fully recognize.

36) Now that the Balamand agreement has become a candidate to become a sequel to Vatican II and in which case Uniatism will no longer have any reason for existing, the Orthodox will be faced with the consequences of their continued refusal of communion with the Latins and Uniates.

37) What is most interesting is the fact that according to the Balamand agreement mysteries are valid whether one accepts 7 or 22 Ecumenical Councils and their teachings and practices. The impression will be certainly created that only lack of love could be the reason why the Orthodox may continue to refuse inter-communion and con-celebration with the Vatican.

V. The Question

38) It seems that the Orthodox at Balamand are attempting to introduce an innovation in regards to Biblical mysteries. Up to now the Orthodox Churches usually accepted into their membership individuals or Churches by means of either exactitude (akribeia) or economy (oikonomia).

(a) By Exactitude one is accepted by baptism, chrismation and profession of the Orthodox Faith accompanied by rejection of former errors.

(b) By Economy one is accepted by chrismation and profession of the Orthodox faith and the rejection of former errors.

39) Neither of these two means of entry into the Church is in itself a judgment on the validity or non-validity of the sacraments of the Church of origin, since there are no mysteries outside of the Body of Christ. One is either a member of the Body of Christ by his baptism of the Spirit, i.e. illumination and/or glorification in Christ or one is still in the state of purification by his baptism by water unto forgiveness of sins and in the process of becoming a member of the Body of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. One may be a believer in Christ without belonging to either of these categories. This holds true for nominal Orthodox also. It is up to each Synod of Orthodox bishops to decide the status of each group of those who are seeking communion within the Body of Christ.

40) In regard to the cure of purification, illumination and glorification there is no difference between Latins and most Protestants since, or if, they are not engaged in this cure which has nothing to do with mysticism*. This holds true for nominal Orthodox also. The reason for the increase of the numbers of the latter (especially since Peter the Great) is that professors of Orthodox faculties became no longer aware, and many are still not aware, of this Biblical/Patristic tradition of cure and are therefore prone to copy from non-patristic or non-Orthodox works to write their teaching manuals. The result has been the appearance of large groups of clergy who no longer see any important difference between the Latin and Orthodox understandings of the Mysteries within the Body of Christ.

41) The basic question before us is clear: Is dogma 1) a protection from speculating quack doctors and 2) a guide to the cure of the purification and the illumination of the heart and glorification (theosis), or not?

42) "Let each person test himself, and thus eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For one who eats and drinks not discerning the Body eats and drinks his own judgment. For this reason many among you are weak and sick and many are dead" (1 Cor. 11:28-30). In other words one tests himself to see whether he is a member of the Body of Christ by being in the state of illumination, i.e. with at least kinds of tongues. Otherwise one shares in the bread and the cup "unworthily" (1 Cor. 11:27). In such a case one is still "weak" or "sick" and even spiritually "dead" (1 Cor. 11:30), i.e. not sharing in the resurrection of the inner person and so not yet communicating at the Eucharist unto life in Christ, but rather unto judgment. One should not use the Eucharistic gatherings as occasions to simply eat. This one does at home. "If we examine ourselves, we will not be judged. Being judged by the Lord we are instructed, so that we are not condemned with the world" (1 Cor. 11:31-32). In the states of illumination and glorification one is instructed in his spirit by Christ Himself. This is the cure which Paul explains in detail in 1 Cor. 12-15:11. (10)

VI. Formulations of dogmas not to be confused with the mystery of God

43) It was only to keep the faithful within this tradition of cure in Christ that heresies were condemned by the dogmatic formulations of Ecumenical and Local Councils. These formulations have nothing to do with the Augustinian and Franco-Latin analogia fidei and analogia entis, i.e. with theological and philosophical speculations based on a supposed similarity between the created and the uncreated. Belief in such a similarity was the basic characteristic of heresies and which has become common among some Orthodox also. The only purpose of dogmatic formulations is to serve as guides to the cure of the human spirit in and by Christ Himself.

VII. The Mysteries

44) Franco-Latin doctrines on the sacraments and created grace are based on Augustine's Christology and his quest for Neo-Platonic happiness. He unknowingly rejected the First and Second Ecumenical Councils' identity of Christ with the Old Testament Angel of God, Him Who is, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and the Lord of Glory, the Lord Sabbaoth, the Pantocrator, and the Angel of Great Council Who appeared to the Old Testament prophets. Augustine was misled into believing that this identity was the teaching of the heretical Arians alone. He did not know this was also the teaching of the Fathers of the First and Second Ecumenical Councils. Whereas the Arians and Eunomians believed that this Lord and Angel of Glory was created by God, the Orthodox Fathers knew from their own glorification in Christ and from the Bible that He is the uncreated Son of God and consubstantial with His Father. To his ignorance of this identity of Christ with the Old Testament Lord of Glory, Augustine also added his personal quest after Neo-Platonic happiness which has nothing to do with God's glorification of the apostles and prophets.

45) Augustine is the father of the strange teaching of the Franco-Latins whereby God brings into existence creatures to be seen and heard by the prophets and the apostles and which He passes back into non-existence after each specific revelation. (11) Thus the aforementioned Old Testament Angel of God and the fire in the burning bush, the pillar of fire and cloud, the bird at Christ's baptism, the glory and rule of God in both Testaments, and even the tongues of fire at Pentecost, are supposed to have been all brought into existence and then passed out of existence. In other words the linguistic symbols used by the writers of the Bible to indicate glorifications/revelations and the action of the grace of God are transformed into temporary creatures which pass into and out of existence. Indeed for the Franco-Latins this is supposed to be the lowest form of revelation which is superseded by God's revelations made directly to the intellect.

46) This was the teaching of Barlaam the Calabrian who came from the West having become Orthodox not knowing the faith of the Church on these matters. After arguing with Orthodox monks and defending these Franco-Latin positions his teachings were condemned by the Ninth Ecumenical Council (12) of Constantinople of 1341. It became known a bit later that his teachings were the originalities of Augustine followed by the whole Franco-Latin Church. It was evidently for this reason, and not only for his Filioque, that Augustine was put on the sidelines of patristic authority. In contrast the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Gregory Palamas on the Second Sunday of Lent as a Second Sunday of Orthodoxy for the chief role he played against the Franco-Latin heresies of Barlaam and in order to protect the faithful on their road to uncreated grace by their purification, illumination and glorification in Christ. God makes Himself known to His saints by glorifying them. They thus become gods by grace and see God in his Logos made flesh and by the Holy Spirit.


*The author kindly sent me this clarifying addendum in response to a question I had regarding his use of the term "mysticism". This remark was not in the original text: "By mysticism is meant the attempt to bypass or transcend the material aspect of reality by contemplating the immaterial archetypes in a divine intellect as though God is like an architect who executes His mental plans. The Neo-Platonic form of this tradition made its way into the Franco-Latin tradition by way of Augustine. This became the foundation of Augustinian monasticism which replaced Orthodox monasticm as represented by Sts. Patrick, John Cassian and Benedict based on purification and illumination of the heart and glorification which was not only for monks but for all laypersons as well.

"From this viewpoint there is no real difference between Protestants and Latins since neither of them know the tradition of purification and illumination of the heart and glorification or theosis. The real difference between these children of Augustine is that Luther rejected Augustinian mysticism and the monasticism which derives therefrom. From this position we have the Latin distinction between the contemplative and active lives. Protestants choose the active life and on the whole left the life of contemplation to the Latins.

"Because they are children of Augustine both Latins and Protestants have been cut off from glorification and with them the Orthodox victims of Peter the Great.

"All Latins I know of have been presenting mysticism as an integral part of the so-called Greek Fathers since they have reading them by means of their Augustinian glasses. Because of this St. Diosysius the Areopagite's Greek chapter on 'Mystike Theologia' is mistakenly translated 'Mystical Theology' instead of 'Secret Theology.' He calls this chapter 'Secret Theology' because the uncreated glory of God in ones glorification cannot be described in words nor understood with concepts. It is from the glorification of the saints that we know there is no similarity between the created and uncreated and that 'it is impossible to express God and even more impossible to conceive God.' (St. Gregory the Theologian). Also Vladimir Losky's title of his Book The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church has added quite a bit to the confusion."

1. For documented sources of the details of the murder of the Celtic and Saxon Bishops and abbots and their replacement by nobles from the Frankish realms of Francia, i.e. Gallia, Germania and Italia see Auguste Thierry, "Histoire de la Conqute de l'Angleterre par les Normands," Paris 1843, vol. 2. pp. 147 (1071-1072), 215-219 (1075-1076), 284, 313-314, 318 (1087-1094);vol. 3, pp. 35 (1110-1138), 214-215 (1203).

2. Ibid., vol. 2, pp.55, 66 (1068), 111, 145, 184 (1070-1072),215 (1075-1076), 240-242 (1082), 313-316 (1088-1089); vol. 3, pp. 35, 44, 47 (1110-1140).See also J. S. Romanides, "Church Synods and Civilization," in Theologia, Athens, vol. 63, issue 3, 1992,p. 427-428.

3. In addition to the work mentioned in note 1 see J. S. Romanides, "Franks, Romans, Feudalism and Doctrine, an interplay between theology and society," Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline, Massachusetts 1982.

4. Ibid., pp. 11-14.

5. I.e. a native of the Roman province Magna Graecia in Southern Italy

6. Migne P L, 89, 744; Mansi 12, 313-314.

7. J. S. Romanides, "Franks, Romans, Feudalism and Doctrine," pp. 19-20.

8. Ibid., pp. 20-38.

9. See for example vol. 2, pp. 314-349, of F. Cayr, A. A. Manual of Patrology and History of Theology, (English version), Tournai vol 1, 1935, vol 2, 1940. Beginning from p. 351 of vol. 2 and onward we are told about the Scholastic Successors of the Fathers and then the Great Successors of the Fathers and finally beginning on page 661 we are told about the "General Decadence of Scholasticism.

10. See study referred to in note 1.

11. See for example his De Trinitate Books II and III.

12. According to Roman Law.

Published in Theologia, the periodical of the Church of Greece, Vol. VI 1993, Issue no. 4, pages 570-580.

For those interested in reading more about the historical and theological background for Fr. John's critique I highly recommend his book Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and Doctrine: An Interplay Between Theology and Society (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Press, 1981). It is indispensable for a proper understanding of the so-called Great Schism and its aftermath.