Main content

The Schism

Melvyn Bragg discusses events surrounding the 11th century division of medieval Christendom into what became the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss events surrounding the medieval division of the Christian Church. In 1054, Cardinal Humbert stormed into the Cathedral of Constantinople and charged down the aisle. In his hand was a Papal Bull – a deed of excommunication - and he slammed it down onto the altar. As he swept out of the startled church, the Papal Legate and his entourage stopped at the door and symbolically shook the sullied dust of Eastern Christianity from their Catholic boots. The Pope of Rome had decreed that the Patriarch of Constantinople was denied his place in heaven, and soon afterwards the Patriarch excommunicated the Pope in return.It was the culmination of an argument over a single word in the Nicene Creed - but after a thousand years of being one Church, so began a permanent rift.But what were the real underlying reasons behind the split, what were its effects and why did it take until December 1965 for the excommunications to be finally revoked?With Henrietta Leyser, medieval historian and Fellow of St Peter’s College, Oxford; Norman Housley, Professor of Medieval History at the University of Leicester; Jonathan Shepard, editor of the Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Thu 16 Oct 2003 21:30


  • Thu 16 Oct 2003 09:02
  • Thu 16 Oct 2003 21:30

Featured in...

In Our Time podcasts

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

If you’re new to In Our Time, this is a good place to start.

Arts and Ideas podcast

Arts and Ideas podcast

Download the best of Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.