Church Reunification: Pope Urban II’s Papal Policy Towards the Christian East and Its Demise

First  Council  of Nicaea - Emperor Constantine 381 ADChurch Reunification: Pope Urban II’s Papal Policy Towards the Christian East and Its Demise

Michael Anthony Lovell (University of New Orleans)

University of New Orleans ScholarWorks, Bachelor of Arts, with Honors in History, Department of History, May (2013)


The relations between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church have long been studied over the years in academia. Much focus has been placed upon the Fourth Crusade as the final act that brought the schism of 1054 into full development between the two churches. However, it was during the First Crusade that the Roman Catholic Church made its first concrete efforts to repair relations with the Eastern Orthodox Church. Yet such efforts were eventually twisted to suit the purposes of some of the crusading lords, and thus becoming arguably the largest blow to church reunification because it lead to the permanent formation of an anti-Greek attitude in Latin Europe.


Nearly one thousand years ago, a string of events were kicked off that would change the course of history: the Crusades. For centuries, the Crusades have fascinated the minds of Europeans, and its descendant colonial nations – ranging from being romanticized by fanatics of Christianity or colonialism, to being demonized by the misunderstanding eyes of the modern world. Since September 11, 2001, most of the historians have focused on the Christian-Muslim aspect of the Crusades. This has continued a recent scarcity of academic discussion of the inter- Christian relations during this time period: works on such that only come across once every three decades or more. Over fifty years have passed since prominent historian Sir Steven Runciman devoted considerable work to the relations of the Latin Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Bernard Hamilton focused on the local Latin churches in Jerusalem and Antioch during the time of the Crusader states in the Levant from a Latin point of view in 1980. And Christopher MacEvitt focused on the Latin Church’s relations with primarily the Oriental Orthodox Church and Nestorians in his work of 2008. Sir Steven Runciman’s work on Catholic- Orthodox relations is not only somewhat dated, but also biased to some degree, since he himself was a Byzantine historian by trade. Bernard Hamilton, and Christopher MacEvitt’s works, while enlightening on how the Latin Church associated with other Christians on a local level, are very reflective of overall policy that came from the Bishop of Rome, the pope.

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