Acacian schism

The Acacian schism, between the Eastern and Western Christian Churches, lasted 35 years, from 484 to 519 AD.[1][2][3][4] It resulted from a drift in the leaders of Eastern Christianity toward Miaphysitism and Emperor Zeno's unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the parties with the Henotikon.[5][6][7]

Europe c. 500 AD, in the midst of the schism (in Portuguese). Western Europe was loyal to the Bishop of Rome (then Pope Symmachus).

In the events leading up to the schism, Pope Felix III wrote two letters, one to Emperor Zeno and one to Patriarch Acacius of Constantinople, reminding them of the need to defend the faith without compromise, as they had done previously.

When former patriarch John Talaia, exiled from Alexandria, arrived in Rome and reported on what was happening in the East, Felix wrote two more letters, summoning Acacius to Rome to explain his conduct. The legates who brought these letters to Constantinople were imprisoned as soon as they landed and forced to receive Communion from Acacius as part of a Liturgy in which they heard Peter Mongus and other Miaphysites named in the diptychs. Felix, having heard of this from the Acoemetae monks in Constantinople, held a synod in 484 in which he denounced his legates and deposed and excommunicated Acacius.

Acacius replied to this act by striking Felix's name from his diptychs. Only the Acoemeti in Constantinople stayed loyal to Rome, and Acacius put their abbot, Cyril, in prison. Acacius himself died in 489, and his successor, Flavitas (or Fravitas, 489–90), tried to reconcile himself with Rome, but refused to give up communion with Miaphysites and to omit Acacius's name in his diptychs. Felix's successor Gelasius also refused any compromise as a betrayal of the Council of Chalcedon.[8]

Zeno died in 491; his successor, Anastasius I Dicorus (491–518), began by keeping the policy of the Henotikon, though himself a convinced Miaphysite. After Anastasius's death his successor, Justin I, immediately sought to end the schism with Rome, a goal shared by the new Patriarch of Constantinople, John of Cappadocia. A papal legation under Germanus of Capua was sent to Constantinople. The reunion was formalized on Easter, March 24, 519.


  1. ^ Meyendorff 1989, pp. 194–202.
  2. ^ Blaudeau, Philippe. Le siège de Rome et l'Orient 448-536 : étude géo-ecclésiologique. pp. 138–153. ISBN 978-2-7283-0939-9. OCLC 830032984.
  3. ^ Kötter, Jan-Markus (2013). Zwischen Kaisern und Aposteln : das Akakianische Schisma (484-519) als kirchlicher Ordnungskonflikt der Spätantike. F. Steiner. pp. 275–294. ISBN 978-3-515-10389-3. OCLC 875432205.
  4. ^ Cohen, Samuel. "Papal Schism". Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online. doi:10.1163/2589-7993_eeco_sim_036439.
  5. ^ Bark, William (April 1944). "Theodoric vs. Boethius: Vindication and Apology". The American Historical Review. 49 (3): 410–426. doi:10.2307/1841026. ISSN 0002-8762. JSTOR 1841026.
  6. ^ Dvornik, Francis (1951). "Emperors, Popes, and General Councils". Dumbarton Oaks Papers. 6: 1–23. doi:10.2307/1291081. ISSN 0070-7546. JSTOR 1291081.
  7. ^ McKim, Donald K. (November 1996). Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms (1 ed.). Westminster John Knox Press. p. 2. ISBN 0-664-25511-6.
  8. ^ Cohen, Samuel (2019). ""You have made common cause with their Persecutors": Gelasius, the Language of Persecution, and the Acacian Schism". In É. Fournier; W. Mayer (eds.). Heirs of Roman Persecution: Studies on a Christian and para-Christian Discourse in Late Antiquity. Routledge. pp. 164–183. ISBN 9781351240697.


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